Tales of the Class of 2024: College Application Season Brings a Mix of Emotions

The Common Application deems as the most-discussed and prominent among senior students in the upcoming ‘peak’ application season
Early action, decision, regular decision- whats the deal with all of that?
“Early action, decision, regular decision- what’s the deal with all of that?”

A question amongst many seniors who struggle to find answers.

As the Common Application is officially up and running, personal essays and filling out extracurricular sections become second nature they need to familiarize themselves with.

“At this point, most seniors know generally what path they want to go down. And if we’re talking college specifically, they have a general idea of what school they want to apply to,” Counselor, Brooke Volpone, said.

With college-seeking senior students, deadlines roll around with a new set of responsibilities.

“These are the deadlines you need to meet. This is when you need to submit your application. This is when you need your letter of recommendation. This is when you need the transcript,” Volpone said, “Because as you know, seniors haven’t been through this process before and don’t really know what it all entails.”

Stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation all come with the community of first-time applicants.

As post-grad life comes near, seniors wait in anticipation.

Asi Naseer, Senior
Asi Naseer, Senior

“My dream college is Emory [University] or the University of Denver,” Naseer said.

Naseer shares the same struggles and is empathetic to the community of applicants at Smoky during this time.

“I’m so stressed out I’m not going to lie,” Naseer said, “It’s because there’s so many things going on.”

Many students who want to pursue a four-year university after graduation grapples with worries that come in different forms: finding the perfect “fit” in a school, location, and significantly, price.

The US is notorious for increasingly expensive tuition and housing costs to attend college. According to The Best Schools, “There are a lot of reasons — growing demand, rising financial aid, lower state funding, the exploding cost of administrators, bloated student amenities packages.”

In addition to the skyrocketing costs of attending a university in the US, the process of applying costs money, too. Students who want to submit a completed application to a college of their choice must pay an application fee anywhere from $50-$80.

In the course of fall break, Colorado has made it easier and more accessible for students applying.

“I’m so grateful to have the [Colorado] free [Application] days because that’s helping me out so much,” Naseer said, “I’m applying to an Ivy [League university] and it costs almost $100 to apply.”

Colorado Free Application Days are held from Oct. 17-19 this year.

“The Colorado Department of Higher Education teamed up with colleges and universities across Colorado to waive college application fees for Colorado students,” informed by Colorado State University.

Smoky students stay busy with the buzz in application season and frantically ask around for letters of recommendation or transcripts. Nonetheless, the final stretch becomes hopeful.

“Looking into college, I cannot wait,” Naseer said, “Everyone in college is like ‘You have so much free time. You’re so chill. You can relax.'”

With high hopes for acceptance letters and set plans for schooling, application season remains a few steps away.



Adam Medina-Muñoz, Senior
Adam Medina-Muñoz, Senior

“I want to study something in business and sciences, more specifically in technology and business combined with biology or neuroscience,” Medina-Muñoz said, “And for that, I went to go to a liberal arts college like Colgate, Swarthmore, Pomona- schools like that where I can really explore class interests outside of my degree.”

Applications are unfortunately not just one click away. Time becomes an acquired skill for students to get adjusted to with guidance from those around them.

“Filling up the applications and other supplemental essays have been very easy to navigate through but it’s definitely time-consuming,” Medina-Muñoz said, “And I do ask help from my teachers, my older brother or my friends, like, we’re just gonna help each other out to make sure that we understand how all this works.”

Balance becomes key in the chaos of applying to schools. Over Fall Break, making time to sit down and carefully review application materials has been a routine for some.

“This fall break I really took the time to revise my essay and really shorten it down,” Medina-Muñoz said, “It’s very manageable if you know how to manage your time.”

With a consensus on sharing worries and stress during a heavy period for seniors to overcome, a strong community can emerge from it.

“I’m confused, people are confused,” Medina-Muñoz said, “It’s something that you can relate with others in because you don’t feel like you’re behind. You don’t feel like you’re doing things wrong. Everyone’s confused even though you guys are not on the same team.”

Hope for the future course of events still stands in the midst of it all.

“No matter where I go, I know I’m going to be happy because there are schools that I can genuinely explore my interest in. So definitely no matter what outcome I have, no matter which school I go, I’ll be studying something that I love,” Medina-Muñoz said, “And by the end of this hopefully when all the [applications] are done, I can take a break.”

In this intimidating period for seniors, the joint struggles bring a community together and optimism for what’s to come.

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