The College Admissions Process Through My Eyes

Edona Cosovic, ‘21

October 2019

Whether you are a freshman or a senior, the college process is something we all have to go through. And as an eleventh grader, I am beginning my journey into the college admissions process. I am beginning to scroll through the various college emails I have received in order to figure out where I would see myself for four years. I am beginning to spend all of my free time studying for the SAT. I am neglecting my wellbeing to prove something to the college admissions officers. I am trying to find myself amidst the mental havoc that colleges give to students. 

At BHSEC the tension is thick in the air for even freshmen and sophomores who have already began touring campuses. We even feel pressure as early as 9th or 10th grade, when try to join as many clubs as humanly possible. And later, we try to take classes with a teacher that we know will write a good recommendation, rather than a class that we are actually interested in. We become entirely consumed with what the college admissions officers think. I know students that are so consumed that when they see a B, they genuinely cry because despite all the work they have put in the universities will only see a B while they see failure. They see a B as something that destroys their GPA rather than room for improvement. Students starting as early as the ninth grade become obsessed with grades. Although these are just exams, recommendations, and essays, they seem to hit closer to home because of their significance to our future. Students begin to view these pieces of paper as the deciding factor for the rest of our lives. And it’s true, our careers can be affected depending on which college we attend. 

Although many say that grades and scores don’t matter, that is the only thing that colleges can see as true about you.  People can easily lie about their interests to match those of the university, but colleges have tangible evidence of your scores. They can only see you as your GPA or your SAT score, not your character. What is even more stressful is that colleges do not want you to just get amazing grades and high SAT scores, you need to also join clubs and be very involved in your school. You need to provide some kind of service for your community whether it be volunteering or spreading yourself thin and joining as many clubs as possible. For the eleventh graders that are just starting this process, it feels overwhelming to try to make yourself as presentable as possible for colleges to see you on a piece of paper. Many seem to know what they are doing and when they’ll be taking the exams, but it is  stressing everyone in the grade anyways. Students’ practice test scores are circulating the grade, making it even more stressful. Despite these students being seemingly on top of things, I don’t think anyone knows what they are doing right now. We are all lost in the same pond as everyone else. And we all need the time to figure ourselves out even if the college admissions process doesn’t give you that luxury. As the seniors are making their cries for help about applying to colleges their pain is almost over because their decisions await for them in the Spring. We wish you luck as the new generations of students begin their process to travel across the county and even the world to pursue studies that interest them. 

In the end, the college admissions process is of utmost importance and is in the back of everyone’s head as they see their exam grades or hand an essay to their professors. Even though we are provided with the assistance to present ourselves in the best possible way to colleges, we aren’t given the tools to care for our mental health. If there is one thing you take away it is that we need to fix this adjust the mentality of what the purpose of college is for students. It isn’t an accessory it is a place to learn and further better yourself in the world. On that note, the education system in America needs to take better care of the mental health of students. As we adapt and improve our technologies over the years, education is one of the only things that hasn’t changed over the centuries. We need to make it our priority to make a change so that the process is not as stressful as it is now.