Typically, college application stress is associated with junior and senior year. I can attest to this after walking through senior hallway in the month of November. It is nearly impossible to make the trek without hearing “app… university… essay” or random strings of letters that are meant to represent college names.
However, as a sophomore, I can already sense the pressure. Last week, I was given the login information for Naviance, the program that brings you all the statistics on colleges to help with applications. Immediately, I went to the pages of my dream schools and looked at the charts with past IHA girls’ information and my information. At this time I have very little information, really just my GPA and PSAT scores. I was happy to see that my GPA met the standards, but then I turned to the dreaded Scattergrams. I looked at each red dot on the graph and wondered, “What did they do wrong?” People with nearly perfect SAT scores and 3.8 GPAs. I realize that these are top universities, but how can someone be so near perfect and not be accepted? I tried to reassure myself thinking that they weren’t in enough clubs, didn’t hold enough leadership positions, or do enough community service. I told myself that I do a lot of that, and that I will be fine. Still though, I found it hard to believe that that was the case. Every IHA girl I have met has more extra-curriculars logged than you would even think possible.
I could feel the pressure building already. If I could do everything right and still not be accepted, what would happen if I do some things wrong? The thought didn’t sit well, and I decided to take a break from Naviance for the day.
Since it’s now been a week since I have felt that way, I have had time to reevaluate my concerns. While I was not wrong about those red dots, there is no reason to be as scared as I was. What I should take from my introduction to Naviance is not a sense of panic, but a sense of relief. Just this morning, I did some quick career tests on the program. Rather than panicking that I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet (what tenth grader actually does?), I was relieved that I have the programs and tools to get started.
The college search should begin sophomore year, but only to visit a few schools you may be interested in, get a feel for what subjects you want to delve further into, and remind yourself to stay on target with your grades. Sophomore year should not be the beginning of panic, but the beginning of preparation. Hopefully, it should minimize the panic that I see so many seniors suffering from right now. Panic is not productive, anyway.
Besides, no matter where I end up going to school, I will be fine. My acceptance to those top schools will not determine my entire life. So I’ve decided not to worry for now, and you should believe the same.
By Kaitlyn Brown’19, Social Media Chair