Does College Application Season Affect More than Just Seniors?

Teresa Pan

Every year, from the beginning of school to the holiday season, high school seniors around the country are scrambling to get their applications done. It is a time filled with stress, anticipation, and procrastination. But what about the people around them? The people who attend class with them, or even live with them? Does any of that anxiety rub off onto them? Do teachers do anything to help seniors, especially with this looming pandemic that has already hurt the applications of many seniors?

Sophomore Jenny Chen ’23 is still two years away, but states she is “already pressured by college admissions from seeing [her] senior friends and classmates suffer through them.” She is not alone. Freshman Kaylen Ng ’24 expressed a similar sentiment, “I gotta do that in a few years…doesn’t sound fun.” Why is it that younger students are also being affected? I believe that the competitive nature of Whitney Young is a huge contributor to this premature stress. Another contributor might be the internet, where you can find various articles that talk about preparing for college as early as freshman year

COVID-19 has brought us into a weird time of virtual learning, and teachers and students alike are still grappling with the challenges that come with it. Kristine Wong ’22 laments that after “sitting at a desk for 7-8 hours…I feel pooped and mentally/physically exhausted for a couple of hours before I actually start my homework, which tends to not be a small amount.” When faced with the question of whether they believe teachers are more lenient about work now that we spend so much time in front of the screen, all those interviewed answered with “no.” And are they accommodating to the extra work seniors have? Also “no.” 

As a senior myself, I have been met with teachers who have told me that my applications should have been done already, some even suggesting that they should have been done before school started. But I haven’t been able to meet with my counselor, teachers, and peers for proofreading, and many sources on the internet even point toward starting college applications once school starts, when seniors have their school resources at hand. 

At a school where the senioritis is strong and competition is simultaneously rampant, there exists underclassmen who  soak up the stress radiating from the seniors, and some teachers who  expect seniors to do the same amount of work as everybody else even with dozens of colleges to apply to. What can we do as a school to lighten the load on some of the brightest kids in the country? The solution is there, but the motivation to implement it is not.