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Seniors Give Their Views on the College Application Process
By Justine Rivera & Heather Maher

We asked several seniors questions about the college application process and what they are expecting from their college experiences. All had different high school experiences and each is expecting something different from the college they attend. One thing they do have in common is the process of applying to colleges. It is a long process that takes several months of careful consideration, revision, and patience to finish.

The questions we asked were:
1. How many colleges are you applying to? Which ones?
2. What are your top two choices? What is your safety school?                    
3. Will you commute or live in a dorm?
4. What is your major as of now?
5. What are your concerns about the application process?
6. How are you planning to pay for college?
7.What interests are you pursuing senior year that you hope will help you be ready for college?
8. How are you making your decisions about college?
9. Final thoughts about the whole process.

Jonathan Nieves, Nairi Esayan and Jennifer Yun Xu, seniors ate Baruch College High School came to Education Update’s offices to share their views on the college process. Several were taking AP courses to enhance their appeal to colleges. “The great thing about our school,” they agreed was the “Advisory Program matching 20 students for four years to the same advisor.” We get to use the college  library which is useful, some professors help us with work, we get SAT prep provided by Baruch College students and also free SAT books.

Nairi is applying to Barnard, CUNY Honors, Baruch, Tufts with her safe schools being Baruch, Purchase and Binghamton. Jonathon wants to be a physician thus his first choice is Sophie Davis, then U of Rochester, Stony Brook with his safe schools Marist and CUNY. Jennifer is applying to Trinity, Skidmore and Binghamton with Baruch as her safe school.

The majors these articulate seniors plan to pursue are: Nairi: political science, humanities with a possible law degree as her goal. Jennifer in interested in Business and English as a double minor; also international relations. Jonathon wants to be premed.

The students all agreed that Baruch HS had provided a nurturing environment as well as excellent preparation for college. Everyone must have an exit project as well as providing mentorship for the incoming 9th graders.

Jonathon summed it up by saying, “we are a diverse group of students; everyone differs in their own way.”

Justine Rivera, ASL & English Secondary School
Justine is planning on applying to 6-8 colleges. Some of them include NYU, CUNY, Fordham University, and possibly Columbia. Her top two choices are NYU or Fordham University. Her safety school is Lehman College of CUNY. Justine chooses her college using their reputations, and information she picks up from college recruiting meetings, alumni of the various schools and going online. She would like to commute to school. “Everyone tells me that I should live in a dorm and be away from my parents, and I agree. I would love to be independent and do my own thing, but I don’t really like the idea of living with a stranger in a small room”. On paper, she’s undecided when it comes to her choice of major, but she loves English and Biology. Justine’s main concerns with the college applications is that she won’t make a great impression or that she could make a mistake on the application that will ruin her chances of getting admitted to the college. With college life, she just hopes that she can keep up with long lectures; she’s heard about class sizes of four hundred students. To pay for college Justine plans to apply for financial aid and with go for some scholarships. Her last resort would be a student loan and hopes that won’t have to be the case, because she feels that there are too many successful people who are way past their college years and are still paying it off. Currently Justine is a private tutor to two children, and an intern for the newspaper (Education Update).

Raymond Blankenhorn, Hunter High School
Raymond’s high school requires that all seniors apply to at least eight private schools, while applying to public schools is also encouraged. He plans to apply to Oxford, Harvard, Brown, McGill, St. Johns, University of Virginia, and University of Chicago. Oxford and Harvard are Raymond’s top two choices. McGill and the other schools are safety schools. The schools that Raymond applying to require that he live on campus for at least one year, but after that he plans to live off campus and commute to school. His tentative major is the classics.  Literature that stands out from different ancient times. He believes that “learning about ancient worlds lets you look at the modern world with more understanding”.
His concerns about the application process are deadlines! On top of normal school work and extracurricular activities it becomes more stressful to have application deadlines met, good essays written, and tests taken added to the already long list of things to get done in one school year. He and his family plan to pay for all college expenses.

He’s going to continue fencing competitively. He’s been playing for many years and plans to play at the varsity level in college.  This year Raymond is doing an independent study program with his history teacher. It’s a yearlong collection of projects and papers that will result in a final grade for the class. He will also write a thesis at the end of the year summing up everything he learned from the year’s worth of research. A college counselor at school helps Raymond decide about college and while this source of information is helpful it’s not where he found the information he needed most. Raymond did a lot of talking with his family and friends who had gone through the application process already about what each school he was looking at has to offer. Because he already knows what his major is he researched schools that had good reputations in their classics program. He would also like to be in a city setting. Many different factors helped him decide which school and programs to apply for.

Applying for college now is becoming very competitive and each year it’s more and more stressful.  Getting your undergraduate degree is quickly becoming not enough. Getting your graduate degree seems to be the only way to really be successful. Applying to schools is the most stressful thing right now for people our age and there are no shortcuts. “You have to do it right, the whole way through. Not going to college is not an option.”



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