As the class of 2020’s senior year gets underway, students are starting the long process of applying to colleges.
The typical deadline for college applications is mid January, with most colleges giving a response in March or April.
Students applying for early action (an application method in which colleges see your application early and decide admission in advance) have until mid-November to complete their applications.
Many colleges require students to submit their applications through programs such as CommonApp or Coalition. These programs are free and help students efficiently complete their applications.
From balancing school work and after school activities, to hanging out with friends, many seniors struggle to find time to start their applications.
The first semester of senior year is one of the hardest times for a student, and this can be attributed to the added pressure to complete their college applications.
Student athletes who participate in fall sports find themselves balancing schoolwork with practices and games. Most fall athletes have practices everyday of the week and many have multiple games in a week.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find time for schoolwork in the afternoon, so I suggested that we have morning practices on Wednesday so I can get my work done,” senior linebacker Danny Flynn stated.
Aside from sports, seniors participate in other after-school activities that take up a large portion of their time.
“I have to put homework first, so whenever I have free time, I look at colleges” senior Sebastian Florero said.
Most Virginia colleges give in-state tuition for less money, this has many Annandale students looking at their in-state options.
Schools such as VCU, Virginia Tech, UVA, and George Mason have caught the eye of many seniors. These colleges have higher admission rates for Virginia residents and a diverse set of majors.
“I’m applying to George Mason because it’s close to my house and I like their cyber security program,” senior Ryan Charest said.
Many students have non-Virginian colleges on their list despite losing the resident tuition benefit.
Although out of state universities generally have a higher tuition rate, that hasn’t discouraged many seniors, who want to pursue their careers outside of the state.
“I want to go to Georgia Tech because they have great engineering programs,” said senior Cristian Alfaro.
Students aren’t the only ones preparing for the college application season. Many teachers are assisting students in their search for colleges.
Digital arts teacher Carmen Lucas helps her students with college essays and writes recommendations.
“I ask students if college is in their plan, I ask them what they want to do regardless of money, and if they say college, I’ll guide them through the process,” Lucas said.
Many teachers have to balance their work schedule with their role in a student’s college applications and which can be overwhelming.
“I balance my schedule by interviewing students during pride time and then writing recommendations over the weekend,” Lucas said.
As the final year for the class of 2020 gets into gear, students try their best to prepare their college applications despite the heavy workload.