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New Year, New Stress For College Hopefuls

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By: Medhanit Desta

SILVER SPRING, Md.- As teenagers find themselves in the 2019 college season, high school seniors across the country are stressing as they try to hit deadlines. Writing essays, doing interviews, continuously taking the SAT, and the dreaded wait for acceptance letters can be a lot to handle.

School administrators have been urging students to start thinking about college beginning in middle school by introducing them to Naviance. Naviance is a software company that helps K-12 students get ready for college and career. Naviance provides information about scholarships, internships, etc. Overall, Naviance makes sure students are aware of all the tools available to plan an educational future. When high school begins, the pressure intensifies. 

But according to  Kennedy HS senior, Kuds Desta, “the actual process starts in junior year when we have to take the SAT.” 

With books, classes and tutors, juniors all over cram for SAT or ACT day. Without the essay portion, both tests cost around $50. With the essay portion, both exams are around $65. Along with the cost of classes and tutors, taking the SAT or ACT is an expense all on its own. 

Students normally take the standardized tests multiple times until the receive the score they desire. Desta took the test a total of three times. 

After the testing is over, students start to apply to schools they desire and for scholarships. This part of the process is often cited as the most difficult. Colleges or universities have different deadlines all over, so seniors have to stay on top of things. 

Writing an amazing essay is crucial. Schools want to see the applicants personality shine through a well developed essay. Along with writing an essay, students ask their teachers for recommendations for a better chance at admissions. 

Some schools have an interview stage of the application; the applicant would interview with an employee from the admissions office or an alumni of the school.

There are two parts of the application process: early admissions & regular admissions.

The early admissions deadline is around the 1st of november. Students apply early to schools to show their dedication. Students receive decision letters halfway through December.

The regular admissions deadline is in the beginning of January. Students review their decision letters in the middle of March. 

Applicants have a better chance of getting admitted into college with the early admissions application process. According to Scott Jaschik from Insider Higher ED, on average, early applicants have a 10 percent more chance of getting admitted than regular applicants.

Amidst all these factors of the college application process, stress levels rise, sadness appears from rejections and happiness from acceptances. In the end, students who decide to go to college will celebrate on May 1st, decision day. 

As their high school career comes to an end, and college begins, excitement arises. The college application process is the start of a new life for students– and a whole new level of stress that comes with being an adult. 

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