While deadlines to submit college applications loom over high school seniors’ heads year after year, KO has been fortunate enough to have a college advising office in place whose goals are to facilitate the college process and alleviate the stress around applying as much as possible.
It is no question that the college advising office has also given students a myriad of great opportunities such as allowing us to meet with representatives from various schools and integrating the process of writing our college essays into our junior year English classes. However, although intentions are good, as with everything else in life, it is still not quite perfect.
There have been a variety of comments both praising and questioning the college advising system, and many of the complaints from students are that the current college advising system at KO is not effective enough in helping them with the overwhelming and daunting college process.
To clarify, the KO News understands that the college process itself is arduous and difficult, and it is not something that college advising can control. That being said, we do believe that there can be improvements made to better assist future KO seniors with applying.
Currently, college advising encourages and stresses the importance of self-reflection, and while this is an absolute necessity in finding colleges that fit students’ needs and wants, we believe that more time should be spent with the logistical aspects of applying to college. Hitting the submit button is incredibly stressful, and many seniors past and present have expressed that they did not know what to expect when sending in the applications.
It is true that few students are able to actually press submit with their college advisors because they do not have a credit card at school to pay for the pricey application fee. Nevertheless, it would be beneficial to have mock submission sessions during college VQV to help students feel more confident when submitting. It has also been voiced that students have been confused about how to report testing and transcripts. This is a vital part of the application and thus should be emphasized during VQV classes as well.
Another recommendation for college advising is to continue to work with teachers to give seniors more time during the fall to work on supplemental essays, complete interviews, and finish their applications.
It is worth noting here that recently, college advising held a college workshop day for seniors, when sophomores and juniors were taking the PPSAT and PSAT. Seniors had the options of working on supplements, writing college essays, getting feedback on essays from English teachers, and visiting with college representatives on campus. For the most part, seniors said they felt this day was beneficial and a chance to work exclusively on college applications with English teachers and college advisors in the midst of an extremely busy fall.
This evidently was a step in the right direction, and therefore college advising should continue to find ways to carve out time specifically for working on applications or receiving feedback. Furthermore, college advising should also mediate important conversations between students and teachers about the college process and remind teachers of upcoming deadlines so as not to overload students.
In most cases, students don’t know where they are applying to until fall of senior year because the admissions process requires strategic thinking and planning, and it isn’t until October or later that seniors have their final test scores and an estimate of their first-quarter grades, two crucial aspects of the application. Not being able to know all this information early on only adds to the stress.
Besides workload, another stressor is the fact that college acceptance rates are dropping significantly and admissions officers have much higher expectations for students to either be well-rounded or have a niche interest or talent. Additionally, the occurrence of Operation Varsity Blues in March 2019 has caused schools to be more cautious when deciding acceptances.
Therefore, we think it would be helpful for college advising to consult with teachers so they may more effectively assign work and students have more time to focus on applying. Because the KO News feels confident in the college-advising office’s desire to help each senior, we are hopeful that they continue to adapt to the ever-changing college process.