College Deadlines: The Senior Struggle


We are coming to the close of a blissful October. With a wildly successful Homecoming dance, an exciting spirit week, and a fantastic senior Kairos now behind us, we should all be able to take a deep breath and embrace November with warmth and anticipation. But there is a sense of unrest at the Academy. 

With November comes what most seniors have been dreading for the past year of their lives: the first college application deadline. Upon writing up the interview questions for this article, I was sure that the answers I received would be filled to the brim with exhaustion and stress. However, I was surprised to find that the girls I interviewed have a surprisingly positive outlook on the entire college application process. As a senior myself, I was inspired upon hearing the excitement of my fellow seniors as all their hard work begins to materialize into a final product.

Many seniors are currently working on their Common Application. Photo provided by Google.

I emailed three seniors with a list of questions regarding their experience with the application process. Here are their answers.

Q: How far along are you on your early applications? Do you feel prepared?

Kat Davis ‘20: I am pretty much done actually. As of right now, all I really have to do is check in with my counselor to make sure the technical stuff (recommendations and transcripts) are good to go on her part, pay and submit.

Juliana Maldonado ‘20: I’m almost done with my applications. Just a few more reviews of my essay and supplemental questions and I can submit. But even though I’m almost done I don’t really feel prepared. I don’t know if I ever will be!

Michelle Kuo ‘20: I’m applying to regular decision for most of my schools and I am pretty much on track for all of them. I feel pretty prepared.

Q: Do you have any helpful tips about applying?

KD: Start early. I wasn’t too sure when I could start working on the whole process, but you don’t have to start senior year. Another thing to remember — something I have to keep reminding myself of — is to breathe. Oh, and YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE AND CAREER PLANNED OUT YET. Try not to stress too much about it. Life has its way of working out.

JM: Start as early as possible, especially with test taking. It’s easy to fall into the ‘I still have time’ pit, but I could have saved a lot of stress if I started testing and writing my essay at the beginning of junior year. Also, when picking where to apply, make sure you are applying for you and no one else. If you can’t see yourself going to a school for whatever reason, that’s okay. Apply where you want, not where you feel you should.

MK: If you are feeling prepared, you can apply for early action and find out your result earlier. Everyone’s college application process is different, but it’s best to start early and manage your time well.

Q: How much sleep are you actually getting right now?

KD: Honestly, I hardly sleep. I tend to be low on energy, but I can actually be pretty productive at night because the house is quiet. I have a lot on my schedule with academics, sports, extracurriculars, and applications, but I’m blessed to be busy.

JM: I’m not getting much sleep. Between school, homework, outside activities, college, and the stress of it all, I’m up super late.

MK: I’m actually getting more sleep this year than junior year. But it would still be great to have more.

Q: Anything you’d like to add?

KD: This is actually a really interesting process. I think many come to find that you learn more about yourself when you are being asked to describe yourself. It’s kind of thrilling to slowly come to terms with the fact that you are growing up. You are coming up to a new step in life, and it’s something you can take pride in. “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.” – Carl Jung

JM: Just remember that everything is stressful now, but you’ll get through it. We aren’t the first to feel this way, and we won’t be the last. Everyone will find their own way at their own time. Don’t let a tiny application ruin you.

MK: I’m tired and stressed about this whole process, but I am also excited and hopeful for the future.

These three seniors, as well as many other seniors whom I did not have the opportunity to interview, are taking this college season in their stride, and are overwhelming proof that, with hard work, determination, and a positive attitude, you can make it through the next few months.