College Application Process


Talia Silver, Staff Writer

Applying to college is a time-consuming process that can stress out lots of high school students, especially seniors. I have talked to a few seniors about their application process so far to learn more about what applying is like and what students are interested in when narrowing down their university list. Knowing what characteristics you want in your college will help you narrow down your choices from the approximately 5,300 in just the US. Even though I am not a senior, LJCDS makes it very easy for you to become interested in this process.

Kathleen McElroy (‘23) talked to me about coming up with ideas to base her essays on. She noted that writing essays was the hardest part of the application process. She said “they [colleges] ask super specific questions about random moments that have shaped your life, and it’s hard to remember those.” Your experiences in life shape your identity and who you are, and as universities are curious to get to know you outside your grades and test scores, they put a huge emphasis on essays. They want to understand who they are potentially letting represent their campus, and want to make sure they know you before allowing you to become a member of their school. So, when interviewers ask you simple questions like “What makes you different from other students that are applying to the University of ABC?” or “Who has shaped you into the person you are today?” they are trying to learn about you outside information they can find on paper. As a student applying to college, the emphasis on your individual personality and character could be perceived as very stressful, however for students without perfect transcripts and test scores, the thorough examination of your interests and behavior could prove to be very beneficial.

Kids spend their entire high school career trying to get impressive grades to gain admission into the college they want. They put themselves in rigorous classes, stay up late doing homework, and sacrifice their social life, personal life, and mental health to get an A in the class just to have a slim chance in the admissions process. Take Harvard University as an example. According to there were 61,000 applications for fall of last year. This means 61,000 highly educated students who put themselves through the ringer in high school had a mere 7% chance of getting into a top college, and even with those odds, numerous seniors and other high schoolers are continuing the cycle of only worrying about college admissions. 1 in 3 kids in high school in America have diagnosed anxiety, and the admissions process can attribute to a lot of these cases. This anxiety may stem from parents or outside activities, however a huge part of the stress comes from school, teachers, and the stigma that circles around going to a top school.

We are very lucky to go to a school that cares about mental health and stability. La Jolla Country Day, although a very difficult school, prioritizes our health above our grades. We have clubs promoting mental health and signs everywhere that promote the idea of reaching out to professionals in the mental health industry if you are feeling anxious, or even if you just need someone to talk too. Our advisors make an effort to get to know us and are always able to help us in classes if we have a tough time. All the resources offered at La Jolla Country Day make it easier for students to get through school and get the grades they need to get into the schools they want to go to. Some kids already know what college they want to go to, and sometimes, they know at a very early age. The dream of gaining admission into your top school can influence your decisions, motivate you, and shape you into becoming a better person. The dream of opening an acceptance letter or moving into your dream university can motivate you to work hard and achieve everything you have ever dreamed of. You start thinking “if I do A, B, or, C, the process becomes easier,” and this mentality will allow you to study harder, get more involved at school, and stand out when applying to college. 

The stressful process of applying to colleges can drain high school students, especially seniors. But, keeping your head up and pushing through the hard work will get you through it. 

Cover photo credit: La Jolla Country Day