Seniors stress over college apps

Looming college applications are a current source of stress for seniors at Oak Park and River Forest High School as the popular Nov. 1 deadline approaches.

That’s the due date set by the Common App, a nonprofit organization that allows students to apply to more than 1,000 colleges and universities through a single online application. For those planning to go to college after high school, the seemingly never-ending process of completing Common App Information and supplemental essays can be exhausting, and everyone is at different stages. 

Senior Eriana Bayron said, “I have not been making as much progress as I would like on a daily basis because I am also trying to maintain my school work and keep my grades up.” 

 Senior Ruhi Saldanha said she is also working hard to meet the deadline. “I feel like everyone puts so much pressure and emphasis on where you go to college, and the process itself is so competitive that it creates even more stress in myself and my peers,” she said. “I have made a lot of progress, which I am proud of. However, there always feels like there is something that I have to complete.”

Nearly 83 percent of last year’s graduating class enrolled in post-secondary schools, according to OPRF’s 2021-2022 School Profile. Of that number, 85 percent went to four-year schools while 15 percent went to two-year colleges or technical schools.

Students can apply to college regular decision, early decision or early action. Early decision is a binding commitment to attend a single school. Early action allows students to get an early response from the school without having to commit until the usual May 1 deadline for college decisions. 

 Whatever path they choose, college applicants have to fit additional work into their already busy schedules to submit on time. But they’re not the only ones. Teachers, too, have numerous letters of recommendation to write, though most are eager to do so. 

“I believe it is a privilege to write a recommendation for a student,” said  Linda Carlson, who teaches physical education. 

Counselors are also a great resource for students in need of any help. Counselor Heidi Lynch’s advice to students was to “[D]o your research, stay organized, use the OPRFHS Post High School Guidebook and ask your counselor for help.”