Seniors prepare for college


College representatives visit RHS to inform students on the admissions process and what their university has to offer. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Lauren Alison, Copy Editor

It’s Saturday, and the weather couldn’t be more beautiful. After a long week at school, all senior Nicole Cubba wants to do is go hang out with friends and relax. Unfortunately for her, she will be spending the next several hours indoors because of one thing: college applications.

It’s that time of the year again: The time when most high school seniors are frantically try to put the finishing touches on their college applications while simultaneously searching for any scholarship that might apply to them. So listen up juniors, because all of these tips and tricks can help you prepare for next year’s college application rush.

“The most stressful thing is not knowing all the parts of what you need to do,” counselor Mrs. Messing Mirabito said. “I know that we review it in the senior class meeting, but it’s a lot of information to take and I think that trying to find the time to apply to colleges can be stressful too.”

While summer is thought of as a time to relax and forget all the stresses of school, Mrs. Messing Mirabito explains why she thinks that it is important to start college applications over break.

“We usually tell seniors that you want to start as early as possible, like maybe before school starts, because once school gets going you have activities, clubs, homework and lots of other things,” Mrs. Messing Mirabito said. “Then I think just finding the time, sitting down doing it, finding the applications is just time consuming.”

There are ways for prospective college students to decrease the stress that comes with applying to schools. Counselor Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka advises to just simply start the application process.

“Just start the application process. Make time for it and understand it matters,” Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka said. “Also, understand early on as a freshmen how important it is to work hard so many opportunities will be available when the time to apply comes. Counselors have classroom meetings with freshmen about exactly this.”

It is not only the applications process that can stress students out, but also the fear of rejection from universities because one’s GPA or standardized test scores may not be optimal.

“I am feeling stressed about applying to college because I’m nervous I won’t be accepted,” Cubba said. “I feel like the pressure of having great test scores and a good GPA takes away from actually learning and being able to retain the information instead of cramming for a test and forgetting it all the next day.”

Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka adds to that, saying that sometimes students applying for their dream college have to face harsh realities.

“I think for some students applying to college is a time to honestly reflect on their high school career,” Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka said. “The grades they’ve earned and the opportunities that are available based on that. For some, it’s honestly facing that the grades they’ve earned won’t be enough to get them admitted into their dream college.”

Applications and grades aren’t the only things to be considering. The actual universities and their campus’ are something for students to really look into before deciding on a college. Cubba explains what she is looking for in a college.

“The cost to attend will definitely be something I’ll look at before picking a college to attend,” Cubba said. “I’ll also look to see if they have the major I want to go into and what their athletic program is like.”

The college program costs are not the only things to consider. For some, the actual campus can be a huge deciding factor.

“Always take an official tour and an official visit at the school. And if you can, do an overnight one before you commit to it,” Mrs. Messing-Mirabito said.

Once a college is chosen, involvement in the school should also be thought about. Cubba describes what extracurriculars she will likely join in college.

“On campus I’ll most likely join some clubs related to my major and maybe some intramural sports,” Cubba said.

In support of that, Mrs. Messing-Mirabito says to not only get involved, but to also join work programs that could help students with their future careers.

“I would definitely recommend getting involved. That’s one thing I did not do. Getting really involved in the school,” Mrs. Messing-Mirabito said. “And then the other thing I always think is important is trying to get some more work experience. So looking at Co-op programs or work-study programs that they might have, so that when you do leave college you have some work experience with you. So you have the degree, and you have the experience, and it’s a lot easier to go out and interview when you  have something to kind of pull from.”

Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka explains that for many, college is a place for new opportunities and experiences.

Once I left home, I realized how many opportunities there really are in this world,” Mrs.  O’Toole-Seyka said. “And I got to learn about many people that  weren’t just like me and thrived in that environment.”

Not only is college a place where new opportunities arise, it is also a place to explore independence.

“I’m most excited for college to meet new people and live on my own,” Cubba said.

College is the next big step for many seniors, and is not something to be taken lightly. Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka gives some parting words of wisdom.

“Balance opportunities with responsibilities. Be involved but figure out what you really enjoy,” Mrs. O’Toole-Seyka said. “Get out of your comfort zone and do things that are new to you. Think and be safe!”