Senior Stress: College Applications


Emmi Highness, Editor, Writer

Many Helena High seniors are going through the rigorous college application process. These applications consist of many questions and essays that can determine the next few years of their lives. Balancing these applications along with the normal high school workload can become overwhelming, so here’s how some of the seniors at HHS are feeling during this tremulous time in their lives.  

This year seniors are applying, on average, to 1-6 colleges (65%). Most students (69%) are also applying to at least some schools early action or early admission, meaning their applications must be completed months before the standard deadline, adding another layer of pressure to complete the forms.  

Most seniors feel they are moderately able to balance schoolwork and college applications, rating their time management at 3.29/5, though many seniors say that having time to write quality essays has been a big part of the time management struggle. 

In terms of how much the school resources have helped seniors, again, most feel the resources are ok, rating it 3/5. However, many said Ms. Raush, our school’s college counselor, is an immense help in the application process. So, if you’re still applying to colleges and are stuck, head over to the counseling offices or shoot Ms. Raush a Teams chat. 

Most seniors (73%) said time during the school day should be allocated for college applications. 68% of students said a class or afterschool program should be introduced at HHS, and another 31% said ‘maybe’. 

Most students agreed that the most challenging part of college applications is the essay portion. With a limit of 650 words to persuade a top university to admit you, it can take a lot of trial and error and a lot of time. More responses for the most challenging part of applying to college included, “finding scholarships,” “finding time,” and “balancing deadlines.” 

It’s not all bad though. Seniors have found helpful resources from older siblings and school counselors and just using the internet. One student wrote, “Having a checklist in my phone that lists due dates for college apps, as well as the small things that I need to do in order to get closer to finishing my applications” has helped.  

As far as changes students would like to see in the process, most students mentioned the application fees. Although these can get waived for certain reasons and do help fund the schools, it is difficult for many students to spend upwards of $50 just to possibly get rejected from a school. Seniors also felt the overall process should become more streamlined, suggesting colleges should “make clear guidelines and timelines for when things need to be submitted” and “make it all the same requirements for applying.”  

Although college applications are important, it is important for seniors to keep a positive outlook and try not to stress too much. To all the seniors who have submitted applications and to those still in the process: good luck and have a great rest of your senior year!