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Student Stories: Navigating College Admissions

In recent months, City’s seniors have commenced their college application journey, grappling with numerous deadlines beginning in mid-October and continuing throughout January. Throughout their time at City, seniors have had to balance sports, school, and social life. However, this year they must add supplemental essays, meetings with advisors, and filling out complicated financial forms to their already overwhelming workload. The college admissions process brings forward a myriad of feelings, from stress and uncertainty to excitement and anticipation. While not every student’s experience is identical, the diverse narratives shared by students from various perspectives in the admissions process aim to shed light on the varied paths that this journey can take.

Zoe Cope, a senior at City, started her college process at the same time as many others, working toward her first deadline in November. As an early decision applicant, Zoe will find out about her top school in just two weeks on December 15th. She shared how stressful it is waiting on decisions, “just waiting and knowing there’s nothing you can do.” While some apply to rolling admissions schools—which read applications as they come in and may notify students of their decision at any moment—Zoe has mostly applied to regular admission schools, which let students know a few months following their submission. Because of this, Zoe is playing the waiting game on most of her applications. When asked about advice she would give to rising seniors, Zoe recommends “Start in the summer, not even just with college work. Senior year is a lot, it’s hard to find time to work on college with IA’s and other schoolwork, so finding a way to get ahead can help a lot.” 

Many students are admitted to college through the sports recruitment process, where they are admitted to play their sport. Montgomery Bedford, or “Gummy” is a also senior at City and has recently committed to Longwood University for D1 Lacrosse. How does this process differ from others? Gummy started her college journey in her sophomore year by looking for diverse colleges with a women’s lacrosse program and good programs for her intended major. From here, Gummy contacted the coaches of the schools that she was interested in, “telling them what tournaments I would be at, and letting them know I was interested.” After receiving offers and going on official visits, Gummy let the coaches know where she wanted to attend. This year, she’s applied, received admission, and has officially committed to Longwood. When discussing the differences between sports recruitment and other routes of admission, Gummy argues that her experience was “really spread out, while others had to do applications in one month, I’ve been working towards this for three years, and got to take my time looking at schools and deciding where I wanted to go.” 

Shaquetta Smith, another senior at City, is one example of many who have already received acceptances to schools. Starting applications in early summer, Shaquetta has received 11 acceptances out of the 13 schools she’s applied to so far. Want to experience similar success? Shaquetta shared some of her process, saying “I tried to get on my applications earlier. My application process started in the summer, so I was filling out my common app, working with my counselors, and getting on my teachers to have my recommendations done. Basically doing everything I could to hit submit”. Shaquetta applied to many rolling admission schools, which gave her decisions earlier on, and her hard work to turn in her applications early paid off. The process of turning these applications in early was stressful, but Shaquetta is also feeling the pressure of waiting for those last few decisions to come through. She also recommends starting your process early to know your options as soon as possible.

Although these students all experienced different sides of the admissions process, they all have similar advice to share. First, start your process early. Working on your college list or personal statement over the summer can be extremely helpful during the intense whirlwind of the first quarter. If you may be interested in pursuing the sports recruitment process, start early and talk to your coaches to get the support you may need. Regardless of the path you take, there are many ways to find the perfect school for you!  

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