The Senior Five: Advice on College Applications
January 1, 2023
Hello, 2023! The start of yet another year is bittersweet for most, as school work intensifies and the weather turns colder. However, for every struggling underclassman, there’s a delighted senior that their graduation is in sight at last. We asked an array of seniors five questions that prompted them to reflect on their high school experience, and, in turn, give advice to those who need it.
What is most important for you when looking at a college?
“The most important things to me when looking for colleges were definitely proximity and the curriculums at that college. I wanted to ensure that I was staying close to my family, but at the same time, I wanted to make sure that the college I would attend had the best curriculum for my specific major… A better curriculum will ensure a better future and career for yourself.” – Nihara Lijan
A better curriculum will ensure a better future and career for yourself.”
— Nihara Lijan
“To me, college is much more than a place where one can get skills in preparation for a job. College is a place where students can explore their interests, push their boundaries, and gain critical thinking skills so that they are ready to take on any challenge in our society. Simultaneously, college is a place where students can meet new people and form new friendships. As a result, when looking for a college, I value an environment where I can fit in while having access to academic resources that will continuously challenge me—and a supportive student body that values teamwork and collaboration—so that I can grow as a person both intellectually and socially.” – Leo Yang
“Looking for programs that support my major/majors that I’m interested in. For example, although I’m not entirely sure what I would like to study in college, I know that I’m not science/math oriented. That means, for me, schools that are stem focused are probably not my best bet. That’s helped a lot, surprisingly. I also think that learning about the student life/opportunities for community engagement within the campus is key for me. It’s important to try to visualize yourself at a school in order to see whether you would really enjoy it there.” – Lily Eattimo
What was the most challenging part of the application process?
“Finding schools that fit what I wanted, while also trying to figure out what it was that I wanted. I knew I didn’t want to go to a massive school and had to really search for schools other people may have never heard of before to find schools I thought would fit me.” – Reilly Lorenzo
“For me, I struggled the most with writing essays that I feel represented me, my beliefs, and the way I interact with others and my community. I’ve learned a lot about myself throughout high school – specifically by expanding and questioning my own limits. Taking more APs, joining more clubs, and finding new people – these are all things that shaped my life + perspective – it was hard to find a way to incorporate these into comprehensive essays that I really liked.” – Lily Eattimo
“Leaving enough time for all of them. I did in fact wait till the last second for all of them!” – Jiyann Chin
What advice do you have for underclassmen?
“Just to keep going, create a good schedule for yourself. Mental health always comes first, but that doesn’t mean doing absolutely nothing and making bad choices.” – Anna Anderson
“The advice I have for underclassmen is to learn how to study and learn. Watch some Youtube videos and find strategies that work for you. Also they should learn time management so they can balance all the work they will have. In the scope of college, I advise that they start doing college applications during the summer and don’t wait until the beginning of the school year like me. I was not able to go on any college tours, but I advise going on them; also, if they aren’t able to, they should watch tons of youtube videos and do a lot of research about colleges. Prioritize college research when applying to colleges because this shows the colleges you know a lot about them and will increase your chances of getting in. It will also show them that you care about their college.” – Anurag Kavishwar
“In terms of college and schoolwork in general, I advise underclassmen to get tasks done early to ensure their work is done on time, or simply have extra time to make it as good as possible. Not only is it refreshing to have all your work done early, but it also allows extra time to study for a better understanding of class material. I would advise underclassmen to self-advocate if they need help on something in particular by asking the teacher or even classmates.” – Corinne Pungitore
Do you think it’s necessary to go on a tour, and if so, what makes a good tour for you?
“It depends, I didn’t go on many tours and I don’t think it’s necessary if you research the college and immediately really like it. But, if you are ‘iffy’ after researching, I recommend a tour. I tended to like tours with smaller groups.” – Anna Hoffman
“Yes, it’s necessary to go on a tour. I think when touring, it’s all about how the tour guide is able to represent the school. I’ve been on some bad tours because of guides.” – Brendan Collins
“I think that it’s certainly beneficial to go on a college tour because it allows you to understand what the campus environment is like. For me, a good tour should expose me to both the academic and social settings of the school so that I can understand what it’s like to both study and live there. After all, many colleges are residential, and the students on campus are a community that you will be with for the next few years of your life.” – Leo Yang
Do you think there’s value in early action/decision over regular decision?
“There is definitely value in EA/ED over RD. Since the application is so early, it shows the college you care about and you will be competing in a smaller applicant pool than if you applied for a regular decision. If you have a dream school, or a school you definitely want to go to, I would recommend EA/EDing to them because your chances of admission actually increase if you EA/ED to a school.” – Anurag Kavishwar
For me, a good tour should expose me to both the academic and social settings of the school so that I can understand what it’s like to both study and live there.”
— Leo Yang
“I think both are equally as important. If you know what college you want to go to and where you see yourself in the future I think early action or early decision is quite beneficial. If you don’t really know where you are going and if you want to keep your options open, I think regular decision is important. If you still don’t know what you want to do I would recommend early action because it benefits you more than regular decision. Either way, all three options are great for you – it depends on where you stand in your decision process.” – Kaitlyn Carney
“Yes, especially early decision. It’s perfect if you know what school you want to go to since there are higher acceptance rates. Early action is good if you want to get your applications out of the way. If you feel there’s more to put on your application, then it’s totally fine to do regular decision.” – Aradhya Garg
College admissions can be intimidating – we hope that this advice will make the process seem more manageable!