By Danielle Hopkins
With the approach of April comes the close of a grueling application process for college-bound high school seniors. They’ve written the personal essays, checked all the boxes, and requested teacher recommendations. Now all that is left is to wait and hear if they got into their schools.
The high school and community offered 632 different scholarships this year to the graduating class of 2016. Some of the scholarships required having been a part of a specific organization of a resident or a specific town. They ranged from members of the MV Horse Council to students planning on going to school for aviation.
In addition to all the work it takes for seniors to get ready for their future, they are still keeping up on their homework, staying involved in their various activities and passions, and also maybe trying to enjoy their last year alongside childhood friends and family.
Many students spend hundreds of hours over many weekdays and weekends filling out applications and writing supplemental essays.
Senior Emma Caron, who wants to study engineering in college, said, “I am also hoping to dance, whether that be on a dance team or a club, and also to play field hockey.” She found the application process difficult, but the most challenging part was making a decision. “It’s so hard to know where you’re going to fit in and, honestly, the bottom line is you’re never really going to know. I doubted myself, but we make it more of an ordeal than it has to be. I’m going to end up in the right place and I’m going to end up happy. How other people judge you based on where you apply and where you get in is by far the most frustrating, difficult, and annoying part,” she said.
Senior Connor Downing applied to nine colleges, and is hoping to major in biochemistry. He found that the hardest part of applying to college was also the most rewarding: “Before applying, I had never written long essays about myself and my accomplishments, but I think it’s a useful skill to have.”
Samantha Hargy applied to 12 schools, including Saint Louis University in Madrid, Spain. She said, “As of now, I want to study international relations and Spanish because I think it will help me get a job like one in the United Nations where I combine travel and work.”
Samantha found that just waiting around to hear back from colleges was the biggest challenge. “I think I’m the most stressed out right now. Applying is hard, but waiting to hear back from colleges is brutal because you never know when the decision could come. If you’re accepted, it makes all the essays and time spent on applications worth it. It’s amazing when you realize a college sees enough in you for them to want you to attend their school.”
Miles Thorton is planning on attending college for a liberal arts degree with an emphasis on media management, like theater, television, and radio. Miles decided to take a gap year before pursuing his education.
“I plan on spending the first half of the year at an internship, and the second half of the year traveling,” he said. Miles found choosing the schools to apply to the most stressful part. “You are given thousands of choices and it seems like either you want to go to all of them or none of them. Picking the right one was a terrifying task because of the lifelong repercussions that the decision will have on me.”
Amadine Muniz has always planned on attending college. She said, “My parents moved to America in order for my brother and me to not only have better lives, but also a better education. Their plan has always been for me to attend college, and it has been mine as well.”
She is hoping to major in English and minor in secondary education. “The stress of having to figure out whether schools would accept me or not was tough. I am not a US citizen, and so I’m here under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA),” she said. Thanks to this act, instituted in 2012, Amandine is allowed to attend college. However, not all schools accept students that are in the United States under this act.
“I am not eligible for federal student aid, so all of the costs of my education will need to be paid for out of pocket and with the help of any scholarships that I get. So although I would have liked to attend a private school, I was only able to go for state schools, which cost a lot less,” she said.
Thespian Darby Patterson is planning on going to school for musical theater. She said, “I had to fill out separate applications and post videos of myself performing a song or a monologue on a separate website. Then came auditions.” Most schools for musical theater require students travel to the school to audition in person.
“I had to memorize and perfect four monologues and six songs. When you are looking for audition material, nothing seems right,” she said. Most auditions had a dance section and then a music, vocal, and interview section. The other parts of the auditions were about four minutes each.
Darby said, “That was daunting, because how could I fit a decade of work into four minutes? But you do it, and afterwards, you can finally breathe.” HSV