My Experiences with College Preparation

Casey Stavenhagen, Staff Writer

As a senior in high school, the results of the efforts a student has put in finally begin to appear. The time spent studying for classes and preparing for the ACT and SAT can grant a student entry into a college of their choice, but just as it seems that much of the stress of high school life is in their past, a new phase of it begins.

My senior year has yielded me a more lenient class schedule, and now that I can take some time off, I can spend a little time applying for scholarships and colleges, which can be just as stressful as studying. The work that I now put in for college in place of studying seems to have much more real effects, such as if my college essays or scholarship essays are poorly written, then it is likely that I will not be admitted into the college that I apply for or will not earn the scholarship.

On top of being stressed about even getting admitted into college, college can be expensive! Applying for scholarships is an extremely tedious process, as they require the same information about, name email address, and phone number for each individual scholarship you apply for. In addition to the contact information that has to be provided, most scholarships expect an essay about a topic of their choosing, along with your transcript and other documents. When is a student supposed to have time to fill out applications, apply for as many scholarships as possible, study for classes, and even in some cases, hold a job?

These scholarships will not even prove useful to me if I do not get accepted into any of the universities that I would like to attend, and I have spent countless hours filling out college applications. Almost all college applications require at least one 500 word or more essay, and that itself can take hours to do, not to mention the tediousness of filling out the prerequisite information and providing resumes and scholarships.

Personally, I have submitted applications for 2 colleges, University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University at College Station, and around 3 or 4 scholarships, and that is just the surface level of what I need to have done. I still want to submit applications for a couple more colleges, and I need to finish up several essays that I am in the process of writing for scholarships. In addition to that, I need to apply for FAFSA so that I will have the opportunity to apply for student aid, when needed, throughout college.

All of this work that counselors and teachers attempt to verbalize the importance of, to me, does not seem to have much meaning because I do not fully understand the situation. It is really difficult to understand the importance of setting up a FAFSA when you do not even understand how much money you need in student loans and all of the other intricacies that go into it.

Overall, the process of preparing for colleges is extremely stressful and time-consuming, especially since my schedule is already packed with studying for classes. Finding the time, resources, and knowledge to do all that is necessary for preparation can leave many students, including myself, lost in the entire process, but if it can be figured out, then it is a much worthwhile process.