College Applications from Senior POV

College Applications from Senior POV

Evan Gough, Staff Writer

Seniors all over the world are sending in applications to their dream colleges in anticipation of a bright future; however, it’s a stressful time for seniors, including those at CHS as they must complete applications and essays on many websites, often by a deadline.

Naviance, Common Application, and College Board are some websites where students work on college applications. Naviance, a product purchased for all BCPS students, is an online dashboard website that warehouses the materials many students need to apply to colleges. For example, it shows the acceptance history of students at a specific college using a student’s GPAs and test scores from high school, and teacher upload their recommendations to it.

Common Application, available through Naviance, is a way to send specific data such as information on the student and their families, FAFSA, courses taken, and other certain aspects that are contained in the application. College Board is a way for students to receive, view, and send their test scores to colleges.

An online dashboard, technology to centralize things…sounds easy right?

I am a senior at Catonsville High School who can say that it isn’t easy at all. This is one of the most stressful times I have ever had to face in my whole high school career.

I started my application process in the beginning of my senior year, and on November 1st, I completed with applications. However, it was a very long two months, filled with constant effort and attention to detail to make sure my applications would reach the colleges by deadline.

Most days, after I completed the items I needed to finish, I would work on Common Application.That website forces you to fill out so much information that by the time you finish, you are physically and mentally exhausted. But during the time of filling out the information, I found myself not knowing every single piece of information myself. I would have to ask my busy parents for assistance. Filling out financial aid and personal information, as well as other data took me about the whole 2-month period when it was spread out by sections.

When November hit, so did the strain of Naviance. This website is very difficult for teachers, parents, and students to navigate. When I logged into Naviance, it all went downhill. For some complex reason, all students had to connect the Common App and Naviance together, recording the same colleges and information. When I accomplished this, I wondered why the redundancy? Why couldn’t seniors like me just fill out one website where everything was to be completed.

The next step was to get recommendations. This was very stressful for both myself and my teachers. My teachers could not activate certain items due to the uncertainty of the website. If I added colleges after my teachers sent my original recommendations, I had to be sure to notify and remind them because the program did not. Their records would tell them their work was “Completed,” when there were still recommendations to be added. I then had to talk to my counselor about this problem, which took over a week to get fixed because she, too, was busy helping over one hundred seniors navigate the same process.

College Board may have been the easiest to understand amongst the three. It recorded test scores that I have taken. However, when I finished the tests, it only allowed a small amount of time to send the scores for free. I didn’t even know where I wanted to apply specifically when I took the tests, so I then had to pay extra money to send these scores at later point in time.

When November 1st came, I was relieved. I was done with of all the stress, the complexity of the websites, and the uncertainty of fully completing everything required throughout the whole process.

However, this whole process did help in the end. Although it was a pain to complete and to get a hang of, I got all of my applications sent off for the early action deadlines. Now I just need to complete some specific scholarships, and, for that, I can take my time.