By The Tower Editorial Board
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, Michigan)
Attending a school where 94 percent of students go on to post-secondary education means that we bear the burden of college applications in the fall of our senior year.
The college application process is the epitome of high school. For three years, students have worked hard in classes and extracurriculars with applications in mind. The purpose of K-12 education is to prepare students for colleges, and despite all of this, the process of applying remains overly complicated. We should strive to make it a more cohesive process.
A student is required to monitor action on multiple websites throughout the application process: individual schools, Common Application, College Board, the ACT student website and Naviance.
With so many different aspects of one application, it is easy for the student to feel overwhelmed and make mistakes on their application. These advances are intended to simplify the process but instead create a myriad of more layers for the student to keep, or lose, track of.
The vast majority of seniors at South are college bound. For that reason, the school should work to alleviate stress and complications from this process. The widespread idea that senior year is not crucial has become outdated as colleges trend toward selectivity and depth in the application process. As the admission process changes and as the competition gets more cutthroat, high schools should be more conscientious about helping students with their application processes.
With so much on the plates of these students, there are bound to be a few mistakes made and questions raised. Students flood to the counseling office to get their answers. Hundreds of students with a hundred questions each overcrowd the counselors, and it becomes near impossible to book appointments and get all the questions answered. It is difficult for the counselors to meet with each student individually and frustrating for the students to try to squeeze in a counseling appointment.
On the other hand, to gather the entire senior class together in a seminar to teach the intricacies of the application process is ineffective. Applying to college differs for every student, in both types of application and approach. Seniors have their own uncertainties regarding the application process and there are few sources they can trust for help. With all of this confusion a student may hear one piece of advice from a counselor and then receive a conflicting piece of information from another source.
We should attempt to formulate a better way of explaining Naviance or the Common Application to incoming seniors, so crunch time can become more comfortable. When the time comes for them to use these resources, they will not have to make meetings with the counselors or cope with the added stress of not understanding the websites.
Some options to make this process easier for the students and counselors would include explaining the process in smaller groups or offer optional classes.
Since every student is required to take a math class, the school could use a day to explain the steps students must take in order to apply. By instructing in a smaller class setting, the counselors would be able to go more in depth and take more questions from the class.
Another option could be to offer optional meetings throughout the first month of school so students questions could have them answered without inconveniencing others.
Applications open in early August, so instead of waiting for students’ school work, sports and clubs to start, we should have a summer seminar to explain how to get started on the applications.
The school does a good job of covering the broad idea of what is expected for college applications, but students are drowning in the details.
For South to be the best it can be, we must work together to find a more efficient and helpful system for such an important part of students’ lives.