Here’s Why College is Getting Harder to Apply to

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Here’s Why College is Getting Harder to Apply to

AAHS senior Nicole Lindsey standing in front of the student and services college wall, pondering the future decisions of college.

AAHS senior Nicole Lindsey standing in front of the student and services college wall, pondering the future decisions of college.

AAHS senior Nicole Lindsey standing in front of the student and services college wall, pondering the future decisions of college.

AAHS senior Nicole Lindsey standing in front of the student and services college wall, pondering the future decisions of college.

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College: The one word that can send shivers down the spines of stressing seniors and anxious parents. Higher education not only costs thousands of dollars, but colleges are lowering their acceptance rates constantly. No matter the number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, or extracurriculars they take, seniors are finding themselves competing excessively to get into the school of their dreams. 

It is harder to stand out as an exceptional applicant in a pool of applications from all over the world. Eric Beers PhD, a college and career counselor at Air Academy High School, suggests this increase of difficulty for applicants is due to technology. With online applications being available to students internationally, United States schools are becoming populated with foreign students. 

“Back in the day, how would you mail a paper application to the United States? To college. For international students it is becoming the ease of applying online,” said Beers. 

Some students also crave the sweet escape from their home state and apply to as many out-of-state schools as possible. This process is also another increasing issue for seniors, who are facing more competition to get into their “backyard schools,” which are the colleges within their home state. 

AAHS counselor Lynda Powell is a graduate from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), which, in our day and age, is considered one of the more elite universities in terms of expenses. Yet, choices were not always as selective at the west coast universities. Powell described that, at the time she was applying, California students applying for undergraduate programs with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher were guaranteed an admission to any of the University of California schools (UCs). 

“When I went, the tuition was way, way less, I paid less than several thousands [less than ten thousand a year], a huge difference,” remarked Powell.

Now, as a counselor, Powell has a lot of students interested in applying for UCLA seeking her advice. 

“A lot of students who are interested in UCLA, [but] once they look at the financial package, then they decide maybe another school is a better fit for them,” said Powell. 

Students notice these issues as much as the counselors at AAHS. With college application deadlines creeping ever closer, the pressure to receive financial aid, scholarships, and most importantly acceptance is becoming very real. 

AAHS senior Nicole Lindsey is planning on applying to Colorado University at Boulder, Colorado State University, Oregon State University and more. She describes her application process as “tedious” and is working hard towards getting scholarships.

“All of my friends are super smart, and it can be easy to compare yourself to other people, but at the same time it can be a motivation to do better,” said Lindsey. 

Regarding intelligence, Powell described the rise of competition also derives from students who are enrolling in AP classes and taking summer courses to get ahead, all from the pressure of parents. With guardians persisting on students trying harder at school, advanced has become the new regular.

“I wish I had been aware of AP course back in high school, I would have gotten ahead,” said Powell, as she is now that source of information for students who are interested in getting ahead.

So yes, college is hard to get into. But we all knew that already; what is important is that AAHS students are lucky enough to attend a school that prepares them for college in the best ways possible. 

Due to the lower population of students at AAHS compared to other District 20 schools, many different classes that cover a variety of potential interests are offered.

“What makes us stand apart is our teachers, they are super passionate here. No other school has a Mrs. Robson, no other school has a Mr. Hoit. Mrs. Manst is incredible, Mr. Buhler is awesome and the list goes on; they love what they do,” said Beers as he embarked on the fact that there is a college out there for everyone, with a teacher or staff member who will guide you to making the right choice. 

The process of applying to colleges can be stressful in a society where kids are growing in intelligence and gaining more access to applications. However, once it’s all over, once that acceptance letter arrives in the mail and once financial aid gets approved, seniors will enter a brand new stage of their lives as they go to college.

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