Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

Uplifting the Voices of Princeton Day School

The Spokesman

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Check out senior Sam Cohen’s playlist!

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The College Application Process Through the Eyes of PDS Seniors

Seniors attend the College Essay Bootcamp in June 2023 (Photo/@pdscollegecounseling on Instagram)

The college application process is often a significant source of stress and anxiety for high school seniors. With most deadlines falling in November and January, they must devote their time to writing applications and completing schoolwork. To better understand the experiences of seniors during the “crunch” time for college applications, I spoke to some of our PDS students.

All seniors interviewed expressed that balancing their school course loads and applications was the most challenging part of the application season. Senior Kelly Wu conveyed that she occasionally had to choose whether to complete her schoolwork or work on her supplements. Senior Elena Sichel also detailed how another challenging aspect was keeping all the applications and essays straight and focusing only a little on one supplement to the point where she forgot another. When asked how they manage schoolwork and completing applications, Wu and Sichel stated, “I don’t.” However, senior Laasya Kanumuri mentioned how she used a planner to aid her in the process: “I would plan out my day. I would say like I’ll finish these assignments today but also this supplemental.” She went on to describe how she created a spreadsheet that showed the amount of supplements each college required and used a highlighting system to show her progress.

The seniors also conveyed how helpful their college counselors were throughout this process. The college counselors acted as a guide to many seniors, always being there to answer any questions or check over any essays. Additionally, Sichel noted how the application lounges were fun and helped her stay on task.

When asked what PDS could do to further help seniors during this process, Sichel stated that assigning less homework, as well as holding off any tests or quizzes during the week leading up to November 1 (the early application deadline), would take a large amount of stress off of seniors. It would allow them to fully focus on the upcoming deadline for applications instead of dividing their attention between school and applications. Meanwhile, although she acknowledged all the work the college counselors put in, Kanumuri suggested hosting more programs for parents so that they would be more informed about the college application process.

Finally, all three seniors gave the same advice to underclassmen about applications: start early. Wu stated, “Please work on [applications] over the summer,” while Sichel said, “Finish your personal statement during the summer. Don’t leave it until the school year.”

While most seniors have submitted their early action or early decision essays, there is still much to be done. They will need to persist in finding their own systems to balance school and applications in order to succeed in both. Best of luck to our seniors as the first round of early decisions rolls in!

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