Students Apply for College Before Early Admissions Deadline

Seniors+stressing+about+college+applications+and+early+admissions+are+more+focused+on+grades+and+rank+as+they+complete+their+final+year+of+high+school.

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Seniors stressing about college applications and early admissions are more focused on grades and rank as they complete their final year of high school.

Eva Gurung, Features Editor

As time ticks during the last few minutes of Nov. 1, high school seniors around the globe scurry to submit the one-way ticket to the next four years of their life. With over 1 million college applications in 2022 through CommonApp alone, students from all backgrounds seek admission to higher education. College applications bring forth anxiety, unease, and discomfort even if the student began planning their application in their freshman year. Despite setting eyes on college life at an early age, senior Daniela Aguayo Rivera believes the college admissions cycle presents itself as a challenge for students.

I was definitely super stressed when I applied to my first college. Even though I know I have worked hard throughout high school, completing college applications was very difficult and made me lose confidence in myself. I have been excited for college applications since my freshman year, now I am feeling overwhelmed, but I know it will work out in the end.”

— Daniela Aguayo Rivera, 12

“I was definitely super stressed when I applied to my first college,” Rivera said. “Even though I know I have worked hard throughout high school, completing college applications was very difficult and made me lose confidence in myself. I have been excited for college applications since my freshman year, now I am feeling overwhelmed, but I know it will work out in the end.”

Even though applying may be stressful, much leeway is granted in the college admissions process for high-ranked students. With the “Top 10% Rule,” any Texan high school student is eligible for automatic admission into many Texas public universities as they graduate within the top ten percent of their class. Rivera, standing in the top ten percent of her class, considers attending UT Austin through automatic admission if her desired major is approved. 

“I appreciate the Top 10% Rule, I believe it’s a great way to help reward students who have worked hard throughout their high school career,” Rivera said. “I feel extremely proud and blessed for having the opportunity to become a UT Austin student; even though I have to wait for my major to be approved, I’m very glad the college admissions process was way easier for automatic admission schools I’ve earned.”

Soon to be a first-generation college student, senior Makenzie Swan explores several colleges in hopes of earning a degree in Elementary Education.

“My parents went to college but they never graduated, so I feel proud of my plans to earn a degree,” Swan said. “Ever since I was younger, I knew I wanted to go to college and graduate in order to teach other little kids and help guide them just as I was.”

Photo by Eva Gurung

Swan believes students can navigate college applications with the help of the internet, even with the absence of educational figures.

“I definitely worked on my college application more on my own; I was a little bit anxious because I didn’t know what to expect,” Swan said. “My grandparents tried to help but they didn’t really know what they were doing either, so I utilized the internet a lot because it was super easy to search things up. Watching YouTube videos and reading advice articles helped me much when applying to college.”

Senior Aden Vu ranks in the top 23% of his graduating class. Despite not being able to apply under the “Top 10% Rule,” Vu feels confident in the college application process with access to extensive guidance resources.

“I don’t regret the choices I have made in high school, but I do wish that I had a little more ambition to reach the Top 10% of my class,” Vu said. “I haven’t applied to any colleges yet, and I think that if I were part of the 10%, I would have been more determined to apply early. However, I believe resources like CollegeBoard and Bold.org have helped me gain back confidence for the application season. I don’t feel as anxious about applying for colleges even if I didn’t apply early, I know that I will end up where I want to be.”

Counselor Angela Julius stresses the convenience of modern college applications and how Texas grants students a lead to gain admission into quality schools. 

“College applications have gotten a lot easier and user-friendly, especially over the last thirty years since I have applied; we had to do everything on paper and fill out one application for each school,” Julius said. “The Top 10% is a blessing and a curse. I feel like many of the applicants who would be great students at [Texas public universities] don’t necessarily get the looks they should, but it does give Texas students a huge advantage over students who may apply from out of state. The most important piece of college applications is to make sure they are submitted by the deadline; unlike high school, colleges will not accept anything past the deadline.”

By starting college applications early, Rivera believes that high school students could shape their application to the fullest potential. 

“My biggest piece of advice for high school students is to start your application as soon as possible. I started later than I would have liked, and I think that is what made me feel less confident in my application,” Rivera said. “No matter what background you come from, the college admissions process allows equal opportunities for students to pursue their dreams after high school.”