Seniors Scramble for College Admission

Many high school seniors across the country have been working hard to perfect and submit their college applications since August, writing essays, creating resumes, and answering questions, but now the hard part begins…waiting for an email.

Now that the college admissions process is entirely online, instead of waiting for an acceptance letter to come in the mail, prospective college students wait for college acceptance letters in emails.

Some students already know where they are going to college because they applied to schools that offer an Early Decision application. Early Decision means the application has to be completed earlier, but applicants will hear back faster. But if the applicant is accepted into the school they are legally required to accept the offer of admission.

“It’s really scary not knowing where your future stands. Knowing what school I will be attending in the fall has greatly reduced my anxiety,” said Harper Tran (12). “But I would only suggest Early Decision to the Juniors who are confident that a certain school is right for them.” Tran, who applied Early Decision, will be attending the University of Virginia (UVA) next fall. While some students are relaxing knowing exactly where they’ll be next year, others have to wait until late March to hear back from certain colleges.

“I would like to know where I’m going so that I can be prepared for the future,” said Javier Romero (12). “But I’m excited to see what schools I get accepted into.” Romero is interested in staying close to home and studying business at George Mason University (GMU).

Paying for college can be a major stressor for some families and the path to getting enough money for college can be complicated. Some families qualify for grants and high-value scholarships. Some students apply for tons of scholarships so they can stack up as much financial aid as possible. Others go to community college for two years and get their associates degree before transferring to a four-year university.

“I will be living at home and NOVA’s classes are much cheaper than JMU’s. I was accepted at NOVA within five minutes of sending in my application and I don’t have to worry about the college application process,” said London Applehans (12). “I plan to transfer to JMU after I earn my associates degree at NOVA. JMU has a five year masters program for education which is the field I’ll be going into.” NOVA has Guaranteed Admission Agreements set up 40 colleges in Virginia. If you graduate from NOVA and meet agreement requirements, you will be guaranteed admission into schools like UVA and GMU.

Another option for financial aid is an ROTC scholarship.According to School Counselor Lan Nguyen, ROTC scholarships pay for tuition, but after graduation the student is required to serve in the military. The length of service is dependent on what branch the scholarship comes from.

“It adds stress to your life. Physical, emotional, and psychological stress. You have your military course work and you go through lots of physical training,” said Diran Sarmientos (12). “They’re preparing you to be an officer in the US military and in return you get mostly or totally free college.” But college isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone.

“While I encourage students to consider some form of higher education after high school, as it could be an investment in their future career, there are many opportunities available to help students reach their career goals,” said Nguyen. “Students should explore possible options with their school counselor, and visit our career center for help with post-high school planning. We’re here to help you make the best possible decision among all your options.”