Facing Down the Deadline

Facing Down the Deadline

As Halloween approaches, and streets fill with jack-o-lanterns and cobwebs and black cats and witches, a different, urgent fear occupies the minds of many seniors. The November 1st deadline so many colleges use for their early applications is creeping up behind the student body, its chilling presence causing goosebumps and worries Jason or Freddy Kreuger could not dream of.

Colleges mainly use four types of admissions processes. First, early decision binds a student to entering the college if admitted. However, early action and restrictive early action allow the student to still choose from other schools (restrictive early action does prohibit students from applying to any early decision schools). Finally, some schools use a rolling admissions process, which allows students to apply at any time. For most students, choosing which school to apply to with an early decision or early action is a major decision.

“My parents are always trying to make me talk to teachers and counselors to make sure I get my stuff done and I still have extracurriculars,” senior Dylan Melnick. “It’s just a lot to focus on at once. I just try to take it on.”

This stress is compounded by the confusing nature of the application process. Filling out the common application leaves students like Melnick feeling as though they missed something.

“You have to do a lot of planning on when you want to apply and how you want to apply,” Melnick said. “It involves a lot of work.”

In contrast to the experiences of Melnick, senior Gigi Olander-Walsh has side-stepped this entire process. Already deciding she wanted to attend Mizzou, she applied weeks ago, and with their rolling admissions process, already got accepted.

“It was super simple and easy because I didn’t have to write an essay,” Olander-Walsh said. “I was able to choose what I wanted to focus on. It made it extremely less stressful, and I was able to focus on more stuff at home and current school work instead of essays and supplementals and recommendations.”

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, senior Kian Howe has barely started his application process, only completing about half of the questions on the common application and not starting his essay. He does not worry about getting it done on time because “I don’t plan for most of my essays.”

“It’s a lot of stress right now, and I’d rather do it later in the semester,” Howe said. “[It’s] probably not the best idea, putting it off for future me.”

No matter how students are dealing with the stress of the college applications process, a bright future lies somewhere down the path. On a fateful day in May, the foreboding chill in the air will be replaced by a welcoming breeze as students receive their diplomas and graduate.

“I really think that people should try to lessen the stress of the college process so that they can enjoy it rather than hate it or dread it,” Olander-Walsh said.