College kickoff: counselors and seniors offer advice for the application season


Counselors give students and parents a presentation on the basics of the college application process.

Christine Zhao, Team Leader

To introduce juniors to the college admissions process, counselors hosted their annual College Kickoff sessions throughout January to discuss expectations going into the application season regarding teacher recommendations, essays, and more.

“As a whole, [the College Kickoff session] helps us be more aware of the college process,” senior Rachel Alexander said. “We had that kickoff session, and we were aware that it was becoming real. It helped us in understanding how the new process worked, how to submit our application.”

In addition to the advice offered by counselors in understanding the application process, seniors share words of experience and advice for future applicants. Alexander urges juniors to be true themselves and navigate the process with support from friends and teachers.

“The best thing that you have to do is try to be really true and genuine in everything that you’re putting out there,” Alexander said. “For a junior, what I would say is just work through it slowly, try to put all the effort you have in there, because this is the one chance that you really have to have that opportunity to see where you want to go in your career and just for your personal goals as well. Have as many people proofread your essays, and have your teachers proofread it, and have yourself reread it, don’t put a lot of stress on yourself during the process, but just be true to yourself and be true to it, because the process is what you make it to be.”

In order the make the most out of the application process, applicants must promptly begin contemplating and writing their essays in the months leading up to early and regular decision deadlines.

“Start early,” senior Audrey Huang said. “I started early, but I think I didn’t do enough at the beginning. I should’ve frontloaded way more, and I learned that in the end, with the last couple days and I was cramming really badly, but definitely start early. Do your research, because it’ll help later on.”

When researching for colleges of best fit, senior Jason Stranne advises juniors to keep several factors in mind, including interests, location, cost, and culture.

“If you have like a major that you want to go into, that’s something to keep in mind,” Stranne said. “There’s other general things like fraternities, if you want to go into that. Location’s going to be a big thing for most people. I want to stay on the east coast, but some of my friends want to get as far away as possible, so you have to think of that too. Do you want to be far away? And what part of the country do you want to live in? You gotta look at the colleges that you can get scholarships for, or in-state, but just in general, I think culture is the biggest thing to look for. Try to go on blogs, try to find people talking about their school, just try to find somewhere that sounds cool.”

Huang also encourages juniors to reach out to others for advice and stay relaxed throughout the application process.

“It just seems like a lot, but there’s also 450 people going through the same thing, so it’s not like you’re alone in any sense,” Huang said. “No matter where you go, there’ll be people who will answer your questions and who’ll be stressed out so you can lean on each other. Try to relax as much as you can. Have faith, because in the end it’ll all come through and it’ll be fine.”