By Lulu Levy and Grace Chehlaoui, Staff Writers
// Anxiety creeps in as hundreds of seniors spend their late, caffeine-fueled nights balancing homework, extracurricular activities, and college applications in their final months on campus.
Many Acalanes High School seniors face various pressures this time of the year while trying to maintain good grades, perfect their college applications, and figure out their plans for the future.
The college application process can be daunting for seniors interested in attending competitive four-year colleges. There are many different applications to fill out, such as the Common, Coalition, University of California (UC), and California State University (CSU) applications. Each has its own requirements that can overwhelm students.
For many seniors, juggling various application requirements along with other school-related responsibilities proves to be difficult.
“Fall is such a busy time for these seniors. A lot [of them] are involved in extracurricular activities, and that doesn’t change… Then, on top of that, they also are having to fill out their college applications,” Admissions Recruitment Specialist at the UC Berkeley School of Information Maya Kobashigawa said.
As many students spend an inordinate amount of time crafting and finalizing their college applications, it can become difficult to separate themselves from the process and find time to decompress.
“I feel burnt out and want to relax or take time to myself, but I can’t knowing that I would waste a day not working on college applications… I have to find ways to balance them evenly and still leave time to relax so I can go on the next day,” senior Stella Bobrowsky said.
During this stressful time, students must also deal with their own personal wellbeing. Some seniors shift their focus to concentrate on meeting the strict application deadlines rather than tending to their overall wellness.
“I prioritize college applications first, then academics, then extracurriculars, and lastly my mental health… I feel both tired and overwhelmed, especially by college applications. Knowing that my applications are compared to my friends’ often leaves me sleepless and definitely contributes to a bit of competitiveness,” senior Mia Jaenike said.
For students who are not applying to a four-year college, community college is another educational path to explore. It has fewer entrance requirements, provides more time to apply, and offers a significantly reduced financial burden.
“Quite a few students are choosing community college pathways, so they’ve got a longer, more relaxed application timeframe in the springtime,” Acalanes College and Career Advisor Debbie Levy said.
Opportunities outside of colleges are other options that are growing in popularity after the pandemic.
“Some Acalanes students choose to join the military or do vocational training for other career paths. Following COVID-19, many students are also choosing to do gap years to explore school and work opportunities around the United States and abroad,” Levy said.
To help students navigate through this stressful time, the Acalanes Wellness Center offers support to students who feel anxious and overwhelmed.
“If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, check-in with yourself, your support system, or even a mental health professional to examine the stressors and their impact on your life. Sometimes it feels like balancing these things is out of our control, but we have a lot more say in how we spend our time than we often think,” Acalanes Wellness Intake Specialist Kiara Thomas said.