Seniors provide college prep advice and insight to juniors

Advice on being a student for a day from Ms. Gatewoods  students.


Advice on being a student for a day from Ms. Gatewood’s students.

Brennan Eberwine

The senior class of 2022 is beginning to wrap up their college applications and starting the final trek towards graduation. Now the juniors are next in line to begin the nightmare of college admissions and all the angst, anxiety and general low spirits that seem to accompany. At least, that’s what it looks like from afar. Some seniors have been willing to impart college related wisdom upon the junior class so as to help reduce stress and give a clearer, perhaps less negative view of what the future will hold.                                  

First, students need to compile their list and figure out which colleges are a potential before the application process even begins.

What I wish I knew as a junior is to go ahead and start finalizing my lists and visiting schools and getting in contact with them. Covid really messed things up for my process, but I recommend getting a really early start on everything to save yourself all of the stress later on!” Bryce Abell (12, YPAS) said. 

Visiting schools and knowing what they’re all about is key to knowing if a school is right for you. It’s not uncommon for students to learn more about a school and change their minds. That’s ok! This process is about finding the right campus for you and determining what it is you value or look for in a school, as well as where you’ll receive the best education and experience. 

I wish that I had started my college search way sooner and noted scholarship opportunities concretely on a document,” Rafael Mediodia (12, VA) said. 

The amount of colleges to look through is truly overwhelming and oftentimes it’s a struggle to even know where to start. Keeping those schools you’ve bookmarked as a strong potential in a document, along with scholarships, will help keep you organized when it’s time to apply. Google Sheets is one good program students can use for this and also has color coding features, which may be handy for highlighting deadlines or certain requirements. 

After you have a solid outline of where you’d like to apply, the application process begins. 

The Common Application is an online application platform students can use to apply to more than 900 colleges in all 50 states (including University of Louisville and University of Kentucky) along with some international options. CommonApp is also completely free to use, although some participating schools do charge application fees. 

“Common App[lication] is the key! You can easily apply to colleges fast and easy through it and  save your essays in a Google Doc because a lot of colleges have similar essay topics and you can reuse essays,” Whitney Motley (12, HSU) said. 

“I would advise Juniors to have one general essay which they’d be able to make adjustments to that can apply to each application,” Kaleb Tinker (12, HSU) said. 

Using this platform helps ensure you have one strong essay to submit to the schools you want to apply to. It also cuts down on the stress of individually applying to and wasting time on writing multiple essays for different colleges, as all of your personal information and college questionnaires are in one place. CommonApp provides resources to students to make sure they know requirements from universities and deadlines for submitting their application. Check out our explanatory article for more information on CommonApp. 

Seniors also pointed out additional tips when it comes time to finally submit your applications. Even if you think that your college essay is perfect, look again. Your college essay dictates who colleges think you are when they are deciding if they want to accept you.

“It is super important to thoroughly review your application before submitting to make sure everything is right,” Nicholas Zhang (12, MST) said. 

Put your best foot forward, keep the prompt in mind and look into resources that can help you strengthen your essay. Sometimes the best resource is a second pair of eyes to catch what you missed. There is always room for improvement and peer reviews can actually be greatly beneficial.

Some high school students’ path to college is bumpier than others, but there is absolutely no shame in that.  Never feel like you’ve dug yourself in too big of a hole to get out of. There are always options and room for improvement. There will always be an opportunity for you as long as you’re applying yourself, so never be discouraged by how you get there,” Isabel Kennel (12, J&C) said. 

The end of high school sprint takes a toll on many and senior year can feel rushed or like you’re simply not ready to leave just yet. It’s ok to take time to regroup and remember that those around you want you to succeed. Teachers, counselors, friends and even parents can provide beneficial support or advice during this time. 

One major thing to remember is that scholarship opportunities don’t end after high school. 

There are still a plethora of scholarships only available to students in college and you can still get more revenue if you stay vigilant. Certain college departments offer major specific scholarships and every little bit can help. Smaller community scholarships may not offer a full ride like something such as National Merit, but still assist in paying for college. A couple hundred or thousand dollar scholarships can add up quickly and cover things such as textbooks, parking passes and housing. 

The duPont Manual Counseling office puts out a regular scholarship newsletter that gives students updates on financial aid opportunities. Check the newsletter regularly (also posted in your class of Google Classroom) and pay close attention to the deadlines. You may find a scholarship you’ll want to go for and put it in your doc for safe keeping!