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Seniors v.s. College Applications: A Test of Time Management

Hazel Nguyen
A spreadsheet tracking the college application process (sensitive information was redacted). Graphic created by Hazel Nguyen.

Generally, high school students have various postsecondary plans, such as entering the workforce, joining the military or continuing their education at a two or four year institution. However, many Northern Virginia freshmen, sophomores, and juniors feel extreme pressure for this moment: applying to college. Currently, seniors are experiencing this at full force: After seven hours of school for 180 days for 11 years, they must now prepare for their future.

The college application process does not have a definitive start time, nor does it have a definitive preparation plan. This creates much variation with how seniors approach this lengthy process. 

Let’s start at one extreme end of the senior spectrum: the early birds. In fact, they start so early, they are not technically seniors yet. Some prepare for the SAT/ACT during sophomore year, and ask teachers for their recommendation towards the end of junior year. From then on, they would begin their essays over the summer and the beginning of senior year. They may create to-do lists, reminders and organization methods to track their progress. Nevertheless, while time management is an incredible asset, seniors are around 17-18 years old–even most adults do not have the motivation to be this far ahead. 

Then we have the middle of the senior spectrum: the realistic ones. They will most likely start around two weeks into senior year, doing the same important tasks at a relative pace–“relative” meaning they may procrastinate on a thing or two, which is completely normal and human!

And finally, we have the other extreme end of the senior spectrum: the ones who wait until the very last minute. I do not want to call them “procrastinators,” since most seniors are guilty of this at one, two or a few more stages in the application process. I am referring to the ones who ask for their recommendations days before their application is due, who–on the day of–write their essays and complete important college information. While many students have used similar methods for turning in school assignments, this is applying to college. It is ultimately their choice, but it may not be the best choice to decide their future at 11:59 p.m. 

Every student has struggled with deadlines, especially while simultaneously balancing a rigorous course load, clubs, sports, jobs, family responsibilities and their social lives. While the college application process is a serious time for seniors, they must also remember this: 

Take a deep breath, inhale and exhale: While your future self will thank you for all your hard work, show yourself some gratitude and kindness. After all, you have made it this far!

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About the Contributor
Hazel Nguyen
Hazel Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief
Hi! My name is Hazel, and I am a senior at Freedom High School. This is my third year with Uncaged, currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief. I am a part of Freedom High School's Arts and Literature Magazine, Key Club, and National English Honor Society. I am very excited for an amazing third year with our passionate Uncaged staff!