Changes for the college application process


Isabella Chen, Staff Writer

College applications are upon us. Colleges have lower acceptance rates every coming year; for example, acceptance rates for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign dropped from 59 percent in 2019 to 56.3 percent in 2022. College decisions are becoming seemingly more arbitrary, and high school seniors are increasingly feeling more anxious. 

Each application includes various factors like transcripts, essays, and recommendation letters. Because there are so many more factors to consider when questioning whether to admit a student or not, it has been even more challenging to guarantee that one will be accepted, contributing to the immense stress on students.

 For many students, getting into a good college paves the way for working a better job in the future. The prestige of colleges truly matters today, while in the past, they didn’t matter as much because there weren’t that many college choices, and state colleges felt like the only option. Students feel anxiety when completing college applications, rewriting essays dozens of times, and double-checking that everything is as perfect as possible. 

The pressure and anxiety associated with applying to colleges have inevitably altered the purpose of school and learning in general. Peer pressure in schools has caused students to pile on as many AP classes as their friends or classmates are while suffering from the extreme workload that comes with many of them and staying up late at night. In schools like Fremd, it’s easy to be sucked into this cycle of schoolwork. With college applications, students are pressured to apply to more and more colleges because of extremely low acceptance rates, filling up their time with their applications and writing essays. 

After all, students who are still teenagers will be in the process of finding their interests. They should certainly be allocated the time to be free and explore different career paths. However, this can be tough when also being hit with homework assignments and studying for tests to keep their grades high enough. 

It can be challenging to find an escape from the workload of school on top of the time commitment for college applications. In order for colleges to allow students to focus on themselves, they can focus on changing application processes to make them less complicated and stressful for students. Even after the Covid-19 pandemic, some schools, including Ivy-leagues, have continued to stay test-optional. Colleges should look to compare students in different ways, like based on their interests and what they prioritize, instead of requiring certain GPAs.