Seniors decide on colleges


Photo from Unsplash

Students toss their caps in the air as they transition from high school students to a group of alumni.

By Chelsee Sawai

Staff Writer

Mid-Pacific seniors are able to exhale a sigh of relief and reflect on their college application process experience.

Some seniors were able to get into their first-choice school, the goal they’ve been hoping to reach since the beginning of their journeys.

One thing that made students apply to their top school is the way they felt as people when they first “stepped foot” onto the campus while visiting as a prospective student.

“I was actually fortunate enough to go out with my family to the east coast and we saw different schools out there, but ultimately, I just kind of liked the feel of the campus and the size: it’s not the smallest, but it’s also not the biggest,” said senior Julian Ibarra.

Ibarra will be attending his first choice school, Princeton University, this fall and is going in undecided, but plans to major in something related to social sciences. Ibarra said as much as he could see himself at Princeton, he tried to picture himself as a student there too.

“When we were traveling there and we stayed just a few minutes outside of the campus, it was a really pretty town. I think that word consistently really resonated on that campus,” said Ibarra.

Applying to college is not something you wait on senior year to start, but the baby steps toward your aspirations and goals for applying begin in freshman year, said Director of College Counseling Derrick Kang.

“The process starts as a ninth grader where we’re wanting them to explore what’s available to them at the high school. In sophomore year, the focus in their advisory is looking at potential careers and how those careers go through to potential college majors. With the juniors, it really is all about college research and looking at the factors that are going to be important to them, so it’s really important to make it about yourself,” said Kang.

One technique to keep in mind when applying to college is to keep your essays in one place because you never know when you might be able to use them for another essay prompt, said senior Kyle Zeng.

“I kept a Google Doc of all my essays and what ended up happening was some of the questions for different colleges would overlap with each other, so I just copied and pasted many of the essays I wrote and just modified it a little,” said Zeng.

Zeng will be attending Rice University, his first choice school, this fall and plans to major in computer science.

When writing the common application main essay, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get it “right” on the first try. It’ll take multiple takes, lots of editing, and (by recommendation of Zeng) even a change of prompts.

“There’s seven prompts that you can choose from, and I ended up rewriting it two times, which some people might not even consider a lot because I know some people who have rewritten it like nine to 10 times,” said Zeng.

This process may seem long, but there are multiple opportunities for students to reach for in order to provide themselves with some guidance throughout this tedious journey, said Kang. However, it is up to you as the student to make the time and effort for these branches of help in order to take full advantage of what is in front of you.

“We’re trying to provide more exposure to students to support them, so we hosted five different application workshops that were mandatory. Some students took full advantage of them. Also, the three college counselors are always available to meet with students one-on-one to help them,” said Kang.

Additionally, you should be choosing your classes wisely based on what you can handle as a student and doing your research of which types of colleges you are interested in attending so that you don’t wait till the last minute.

Senior Aaliyah Jefferson said that when choosing a college, especially with it ending up being her first choice school, she had to consider her current vision of the occupation she sees herself in and how well that school will prepare her to move forward to pursue that career.

“I really wanna be a vet and particularly for that, you need to go to veterinarian school and it is three times harder to get into vet school, which is also quite worrisome, so I needed to put myself in a position where I’m going to have the best resources allocated to me,” said Jefferson.

Jefferson will be attending the University of California, Davis, her first choice school, this fall and plans to major in animal sciences.

Inevitably, challenges entailed along the application process, but it didn’t stop Mid-Pacific students from persevering into their new beginnings.

“Writing the essays was so hard. It was also during the time where I was writing and submitting 1200 word essays, and having to finalize all my IB assignments was really taxing trying to get all of those done. I also know for the UCs, it was 70 dollars a school, so it was definitely an expensive cost,” said Jefferson.

Although these new beginnings took a toll on students, challenges added to the burden and continued to push students to reflect.

“But I guess also I was feeling a little sad too because I like, although I was very excited for, or I am still very excited for these new beginnings, it’s just all the people that I’m gonna be leaving behind at home and all the memories made,” said senior Jasmine Allen.

Allen will be attending the University of Puget Sound, her first choice school, this fall and plans to major in biology on a pre-dental track.

Allen said the best piece of advice she can give to students is that while trying to apply to many schools is a great thing to do, procrastinating will only hold you back and defeat the purpose of you taking risks with different ranges of schools that are difficult to get into.

“Word of advice: do not procrastinate because I procrastinated so much and it kind of hurt me in the end. I would say to never give up, no matter how hard you think it would be to get into a school because you will never know in the end if you didn’t try,” said Allen.