A Reflection On the College Process


Aliza Abusch-Magder works on college applications, with her to-do list spilling over onto multiple pages. (Aliza Abusch-Magder/The RamPage)

Aliza Abusch-Magder

The college application process can seem like a never-ending obstacle course built to wear patience. Many teenagers work from the beginning of high school to develop credentials so that in the fall of their senior year they can scramble to make themselves seem put-together. The competition of college applications has the tendency to become toxic, pushing students to take too much work on and judge themselves and others on the basis of superficialities such as grades, number of APs and standardized testing scores. Rather than SAT or ACT scores representing test-taking abilities, they come to represent intelligence, or even beyond that, ones being. Many students define their worth by the schools they are accepted to. Sites like College Confidential, Niche and Naviance can be disheartening and dehumanizing as students see themselves charted between the X and Y axes, a grey dot in a sea of red rejections decorated with a few green dots, a beacon of hope.

Seniors face a lot of pressure. With the applications, in addition to the regular academic course load, the expected extracurriculars and possibly some sleep, students are left constantly depleted. Weber seniors, along with their contemporaries around the country are fully immersed in this grueling affair. Most students have finished standardized testing, many students have finalized their Common Application essays, some students have sent in applications and a lucky few have already been accepted. Though applying to college is not fun, there are some factors that can make the process bearable.

This past school year, Weber hired two college counselors– Mrs. Cherise Ogle and Ms. Amy Secor, who are joined by beloved volleyball coach and registrar Ms. Sarah Trousdale to create the Department of College Advising. This team of superstars is bringing Weber to new heights, with programs such as the essay writing workshop and a complete walkthrough of the college process, held for seniors on the first day of school. The Department of College Advising has aided the families by answering questions, meeting with stressed parents, leading seminars and sending reminders. While talking to the college representative of my top choice university, Ms. Secor pointed me out in the crowd of over 300 students just to sing my praises.

There have been a few nights where I have stayed up past a healthy bedtime, finishing an application supplement or studying for a test that could make or break my grade, but, the college counseling office will do everything in their control to ensure students, and parents alike, stay sane in this process. When pressed to take a step back and breathe for a second, I am thankful to have the amazing team of college advisors, teachers and administrators who have helped me accelerate academically, foster my love of learning and who continue to be my cheerleaders even in the depths of Common Application despair.

The application system, though flawed at its core, represents our democratic society which values individuality and accommodates with variety, not only giving students the opportunity to learn but an opportunity to be successful at an institution that supports individual needs. The college application might very well be a blessing in disguise.