College application season breeds toxicity and competitiveness


Photo Courtesy of Isabella DeRose

Seniors grow stressed and anxious as the college application process and due dates approach.

Senior Year. The most enjoyable year of high school: off campus lunch, Senior Service seniority, the list goes on. However, there seems to be an aspect that students dread as their final year of high school approaches: college applications. 

“Where are you applying?” “Are you EDing anywhere?” “Can I see your list?” “What did you get on your ACT?” The pressure of college application season permeates the hallways. The carefree environment of the summer is officially over, and every senior’s world begins to revolve around the college process. Not a day goes by without a college meeting, email with a guidance counselor, parent’s pressure to get supplemental essays done and interrogation from fellow classmates asking about your future plans. 

The competition between students any year of high school is already toxic and exhausting to student’s mental health; Now with the future creeping up, students are putting in the extra effort to stand out from the rest of their class and get that acceptance from the school they have been dreaming of attending since the third grade. 

All seniors are in the same boat, so it is second nature for them to come into school discussing their current college status. Students who are open about where they are applying become irritated by those who are trying to keep it private. On the other hand, those who chose to keep their situation private are judged for being “secretive.” It seems that no one is doing the “right thing,” even though it should be no one’s business beside their own.

Being surrounded by the constant college talk creates a never ending vicious cycle of stress, anxiety and worry about the future. The deadlines begin to creep and the stress of completing applications begins to fade. However, this is when students really begin to stress as months must pass before they hear back from their schools.

What it really comes down to is how students address and deal with this anxiety driven time. As the first marking period picks up speed and applications are due, privacy and respect will be our best friend when attempting to create a stress free and supportive environment. Regardless, this is an extremely exciting time for all seniors. Best of luck to all of our West Essex seniors!