Senior stress hits early


For some, the thought of senior year meant easy classes, fun events, and enjoying oneself. However, with college application season comes a big reality check.

Seniors are stressing out about everything from writing their college essays to boosting their standardized test scores.

“I feel overwhelmed by all of the deadlines and the pressure from my parents to get the highest standardized test scores I’m capable of,” said GHS senior Noah Stevens.

Seniors are stressing out about everything from college visits to declaring a major. But according to Ellen Clarke, GHS guidance counselor, the college process does not have to be as stressful as many people make it.

“If students followed the suggested time lines that we introduce in the middle of junior year there should not be the anxiety that we usually see surrounding the application process.” says Clarke.

Many seniors are also worried about standardized test scores.

“I took both the math and english SAT prep courses and my scores were not as high as I expected,” says Natalie Franke-Otten. “This fall is my last chance to do well on the test and I don’t even know how to study for it. I feel helpless.”

According to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, over 800 colleges and universities in the US are no longer requiring SAT/ACT scores. That means there are plenty of options for people who simply did not test well and still want to go to college.

Another concern for seniors is declaring a major freshman year.

“I’m hoping that when I go to college I will be able to figure out what major interests me by taking a variety of courses,” says Noah Stevens. “Right now I don’t really know in what direction I’m headed.”

According to Penn State Academic Advising Journal, nearly 50 percent of students go into their first year of college with an undecided major. Seventy-five percent of those who declare a major their freshman year, will change it at least once before graduation.

Writing the perfect essay is also a major concern for college bound seniors. Lexi Orlando had to rewrite her college essay several times.

“I had to cut down a 1200 word essay to 600 words. It was hard because I felt like the sentences I was eliminating were important.” says Orlando.

All senior English classes will be working on drafting college essays this fall. Teachers and peers will be there to guide students through the writing process to help them improve their drafts.

Applying early is a good way to complete the process with plenty of leftover time to enjoy your year.

“My suggestion has always been If you meet the requirements for admission then you should apply early action,” says Ellen Clarke, “Colleges are less likely to accept you at regular decision when they have a bigger pool of more qualified applicants.”

For all the students hoping to apply early, there is an even greater amount of pressure to complete the requirements.

“I want to apply early, but I need to take the SATs again which means I have to take them soon,” says senior Erin Tettoni. “But with regular school commitments I have had no time to study.”

Students who don’t have time to take a prep course before the test date can take advantage of apps and online study tools. Clarke says students should remember to listen to the guidance department, as have helped hundreds of students through this process.

Please pay attention to the process, utilize Naviance, and remember we are right off the atrium if you have any questions, please ask sooner rather than later.” says Clarke.

Most important, students should take a deep breath and breathe. It’s senior year,  so try to have some fun.