The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

Seniors struggle with the college application process

Julia Leveron Hidalgo
On Oct. 11 Kaileeana Mauga looks over her writing portion of her college application. ”I started researching college applications in the middle of my junior year and summer, and officially started the application process when they opened Aug. 1. Right now I have most of my necessary information done. I’m planning to attend Sierra College; it’s just financially smart since it’s free for the first two years, and after that I’m planning to transfer to UC Berkeley or UC San Diego for Paramedic Studies/Fire Science,” said Mauga. Photo by Julia Leveron Hidalgo.

The college application process is a pivotal milestone in the lives of millions of high school seniors around the world. It represents the bridge between the familiar comforts of high school and the unknowns of higher education. While it can be a journey, it is also a path that induces pressure, rejection anxiety and stress. Students say the fear of rejection from the colleges of their dreams is another stressor; the competitive nature of college admissions means that many well-qualified applicants are denied admission each year.

“It’s scary, honestly, you could be exceptional and still not get in. I’ve seen so many videos of beyond exceptional students not getting into the colleges they want, it’s just so competitive,” Tola Spencer said. 

Advanced classes are filled with students who hope to attend college in the future. A reason students take advanced classes is to boost their application and to appear like a qualified candidate.

 “I’ve taken nine advanced classes through high school. It can definitely be hard to manage at times, but I know it will be worth it in the long run and it will benefit my future,” London Diaz said.

One of the most significant sources of pressure in the college application process is the academic expectations placed on students. The need to maintain high grades, participate in extracurricular activities to boost one’s application and excel in standardized tests such as the SAT, but now due to Covid-19 tests like the SAT are no longer a requirement for UC schools since May 2020, which is a relief for many. 

“I think it makes sense that UC’s don’t care about that anymore since it’s based on money; you pay money to study for it. It’s for people who have the financial freedom to do it,” Chance Chacon said. 

The financial aspect of college admissions adds a different layer of pressure. Tuition fees, the cost of living and the burden of student loans can be a significant source of stress. Students and their families are forced to make life-altering financial decisions, which can lead to a sense of insecurity about the future. Students who attend Whitney and Rocklin are more likely to enroll in Sierra College for two years because of the financial help.

“I’m planning on going to Sierra for two years since it’s very affordable, it helps with money and expenses. And it’s a good plan for two years because you’re just doing the main classes that you have to take and then you could transfer over to a different college and do the major you want your career field to be in,” Kylie Williams said. 

In many cases, where parents of the student attended college, students feel pressured by family expectations. The pressure to meet these expectations can be damaging and may lead to feelings of guilt.

“I just feel bad [since] my parents have worked so hard to give us the life we have and they just keep pushing on what I want my career to be and what I want to do in college; there’s just so many options I just don’t know yet,” Calvin Hensley said.

While the college application process is demanding, it should also be a time of growth, self-discovery, and an opportunity to celebrate the unique talents and qualities of each individual. 

“This is the biggest decision I have made up until now, what I do next will determine my future and that terrifies me but it also really excites me,” Ethan Jackson said. 


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