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Navigating the College Application Process


As senior year commences, so does the stress and preparation for college that surrounds it. Through applications, supplement essays, and of course, the daunting Common App, a lot is thrown at 16 and 17-year-olds as they head into the last year of high school. Everyone experiences the college application process in a different way, just as they may handle stress differently.

Many aspects of last year’s application process are being used for the class of 2015. For example, the Common App is still in use. The Common App involves a series of fill-in-the-blank style questions considering each applicant’s family, education, test scores, and activities. At the end is the essay, where each person gets to choose one option from five questions to write about. The deadline for the Common App depends on what schools each person is applying to, though when this application actually gets done is based on the user.

Some students hire someone to help them through the application process. Senior Alice Rusnak, like a handful of other Wilson seniors, has been working with “The College Lady”, Wendie Lubic. “She’s really nice to help guide you through the process,” said Rusnak. Because of Lubic, Alice’s experience so far has been on track and she will be completed with her applications in a timely manner.

Others take the more classic route, and go straight to Wilson’s resident college counselor, Ms. Sandra Bean. Steven Sneed found that both Ms. Bean and Ms. Arrington help a lot, though Sneed’s case is different because he is applying to college for both Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field. This requires a longer application process, which asks questions about applicants athletic experience as well as specific statistics.

As with the past years, seniors have to complete their Tiger Paws which can be found on the Wilson website. This questionnaire includes both a student and a parent section, and is to be filled out and delivered to each student’s counselor so that they can learn a little more about the student before writing a recommendation. Counselor Pamela Bright suggests having this completed at least one month before each students first deadline, so that they can write a thorough recommendation.

This year Wilson decided to implement a new system for applications, Naviance. Naviance connects students with their counselors and teachers, so that seniors may upload each school that they’re applying to and then request transcripts and teacher recommendations. Diana Blitz, a member of the academic support team, is the Naviance guru at Wilson. Thus far, students and teachers alike have felt frustrations towards the website, as teacher recommendation requests have not been going through.

As it nears October, the class of 2014 is well into their first year of college. Still, the application process is not forgotten.

Sarah McCreary, who is now attending McGill University in Montreal suggests getting started early with the application process, and having someone edit your essays. On keeping stress down she said, “I did other things besides just focus on college, tried to get stuff done early, played lacrosse which was a good outlet.”

Jesse Lauritsen is now playing soccer at Oberlin College. For soccer players and other athletes, the application process is a lot different. After attending college camps the summer before senior year, he suggests taking overnight trips to possible schools during the fall. “That is a must if you are looking at D3 schools because you can see how the team is,” he said in a text.

Another athlete Richard Sheler, a freshman at Shippensburg University, suggests to take refuge with Ms. Bean to keep from getting too stressed. “…she helped me figure out what schools I could apply to for what I wanted to do and made everything much simpler for me,” he said.

Whether you’re struggling in the whirlpool of college applications or getting them done in a timely manner, it’s a lot to take in. However, keep in mind that you are not alone, and there are lots of people who you can turn to. There is an entire room in Wilson dedicated to what you are going through, and there are people who want to help.

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