January is a month most often associated with new beginnings and resolutions. For many high school students, the month begins the next chapter of their lives. Many students have started feeling the stress of these paramount decisions for their future.
Students are currently in the process of agonizing over college acceptances. The time spent crafting their applications is beginning to show results, with either an acceptance, a rejection, or a deferment, meaning that the college will not accept the student now, but may later.
This process stresses every student out, and they cite multiple sources of worry.
To start, competition to get into colleges is fiercer than it has ever been. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, there are about 20.4 million students currently in college, and that number is expected to grow to 23 million by 2020. Then, due to the ease of finding and applying to schools using the Internet and the Common Application, there are more students applying to college.
To compound the competition factor is the cost of college. Without even attending the school, the average application fee is $40. The tuition for in-state, public, four-year colleges has grown by 35% since the 2001-2002 school year. According to a study done by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 62% of public college graduates as well as 73% of private college graduates graduate with debt.
DHS seniors are feeling the stress. Senior Madison Watters explains, “I get pretty stressed out, in terms of doing applications and trying to get everything in for deadlines, and then now that the application process is over and it's just waiting for responses, there's a lot of anxiety waiting to hear back from people.”
Teachers and administrators are aware of this. Guidance counselors advise students on their future, and try to alleviate the anxiety felt by students, especially during this process. Mr. Trafford, guidance counselor for the Juniors and Seniors, states that “Generally what I advise them to do is to apply to at least three schools. One that you know you’re going to get into, one that's going to be kinda challenging to get into, and one that's going to be a real reach to get into. I think that's something that's hard to get across to people.”