Fed Up With Apps

By Natalie Hillman

As seniors rang in the new year, many looked forward to the new beginnings that the 2017 year would bring, but others were sighing of relief from the end of the dreaded college application season. I was one of those students, sighing as I pressed submit on my applications at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 1, the last minute I could. As someone who just finished this process, I’ve learned that universities, especially if they are prestigious, expect such a great deal of students to simply have a sliver of hope of gaining entrance. The toll that they take on students regarding the time and money they require is completely discouraging to even the most motivated students. College applications are too complex and have too many unnecessary steps.

1. The Cruel College Essays

Students have to write countless essays over why they want to attend their colleges and answer numerous questions that range from one’s favorite books to their most loved momentos. Each question, no matter how easy it may seem to answer, is daunting. Colleges say that they want to get to know the “real” you. But will being 100 percent truthful get me into college? I would like to think so, but it seems like colleges have specific things that they want to hear. It’s difficult to find a happy medium. The 250-word and 50-word questions are the silent killers. They seem trivial, like they would take two seconds to fill out. In reality, they sometimes take the longest time. Plus, can 250 words accurately represent my entire life and personality? Well, of course. It has to.

2. The Never-ending Financial Aid Steps

Apart from the applications, students have to go through a bunch of hoops to apply for financial aid. The FAFSA, sadly, does not cut it for every school. The FAFSA, the CSS Profile, the IDOC were all on my list to be checked off. Also, some colleges have their own fabulous and unique financial aid worksheet that requires students to scan their parents’ taxes. As someone with a scanner that has collected some dust, this proved to be strenuous. I could not even imagine how difficult this task would be for those without a scanner or a computer at home.

3. The Utter Importance of Test Scores

Test scores are typically the deciding factor between students getting accepted or rejected, which I think is totally unfair. The smartest students can be terrible test takers and some students who might not even try, could get lucky. They don’t accurately represent the intellectual abilities of students, yet they are one of the most crucial parts of getting accepted.

4. The Unknown

During the college application season, seniors like myself have to know their intended futures including their majors, minors and the career fields they plan to go into. It is laughable to think that seniors would know what they want to do for the next 50 years of their lives. I don’t even know what I am doing this weekend.

5. The Immense Cost of College

To apply costs around $65 dollars per college on the common applications. Don’t forget about the charge for each ACT sent to each college. Even financial aid costs money to apply for. The CSS Profile, required by many schools, cost $16 dollars to send each.

College, while it is an important step towards further success in life, has a maze of an application process that is too intricate and long to require students to complete.