A Reflection of the College Admission Process

As application deadlines begin to loom he pressure students are facing is on the rise.


Photo Courtesy of Dina Smith

Touring colleges with my sister has allowed me to talk to someone else who understands exactly what I’m going through.

As college seniors around the country are beginning the tradition of filling out college application after application I have found myself reflecting back on this process. The college process has seemingly been simplified over the past few years with the common application and other streamlined application process’s. Now students need to write just one essay and fill out one set of questions and they have one shot to make the perfect impression.

After touring two colleges all aspects that individuals believe is unique about their school tend to blur together with their competitors.

This one shot students have, leads to immense pressure to create the perfect application regardless if it is truly accurate of who the student is. The pressure the average student faces isn’t just based in intrinsic motivation but external factors as well. Since entering middle school at the age of eleven students are told they are being prepared for high school and high school tells students they are being prepared for college. Our entire education system is focused on getting students into college. The pressure of knowing years of your life have all lead up to a handful of questions and a few hundred words is a terrifying thought.

Megahn DeGrandpre, an LHS Senior, commented “It’s frustrating having to retype everything write a bunch of supplemental essays. it is nice that all the recommenders are through the common app.  It’s a very stressful time. I am applying Early Action where I can so I can have a decision back sooner”.

Now during the time of COVID as well as a changing landscape of requirements standardized testing has become less important than in the recent past. While many students rejoice at this notion, myself included, I can’t help but think about the cost of what having a very limited area to prove myself. Even though I have been on a fair amount of college tours the college admission process itself still feels like a lot of smoke and mirrors. We are assured by tour guides that the college will look at us holistically and have a complete picture of who we are, but with having to submit a transcript and a lot of standardized questions I fear that all this does is leave room for admission counselors to make the wrong assumption about the type of student I am.

“It’s very stressful, I’m applying Early Decision to Virginia Tech and since my parents didn’t take the traditional education path it’s hard to find support. My friends have been helpful but I have been having to do the majority of it on my won so it’s been a lot.” says Ibrahim Shabani, a Senior at Lafayette.

Many students find themselves competing with their fellow classmates to prove they have what it takes to be offered a seat at their dream college.


Going around and looking at colleges it feels like you are being sold sales pitch after sales pitch of a very similar product. They frame it as you having the choice to choose them when in reality you have to hope that they choose you. Their is so much worry and anxiety too once you feel that you have found the perfect school for you. You feel comfortable on the campus and you start to see yourself living and working there. Then the feeling of possible rejection starts to creep in on these pleasant daydreams.

I want to challenge myself and get into a college that doesn’t just let anybody in. I want to go to a college that has a respectable reputation so it is incredibly disheartening to see statistics on parchment or other college websites where all it asks for is your SAT score and the computer tells you that your dream school is going to be a big reach for you.

More than three-quarters of college applicants get into their first-choice schools. but that doesn’t stop students from feeling pressure during applications.

While looking at colleges I’ve noticed it is also pretty difficult to find goal schools. It is pretty easy to find schools with a 75% acceptance rate and it is easy to find schools with a 30% acceptance rate, but to find a school with a 50% or 40% acceptance rate is much more rare. It is very easy to feel the expectations of your family to do well and get into a competitive school since they have put so much work into supporting you and helping you succeed. There is no denying that parents want to brag about their kids and as soon as parents start announcing where their kids are going to college I know that my parents aren’t the only ones going online to look up acceptance rates to know how much to congratulate the proud family.

The first round of college applications are due on the 1st of November in only a few short weeks.

Through weaving through this complicated and confusing process it has taught me to just take each day as best I can and realize there is very little that is inside my control. I can try my best on applications but all I can try and do right now is sit back ad relax and hope that the result i get back in the coming year are favorable.