The golden dome shines brightly towards the crystal blue sky on game day, when the campus is buzzing with excitement and anticipation on Notre Dame’s historic campus.
For some high school students, the next four years could be at Notre Dame, a competitive and academically intense university with a strong sense of spirit. For others, it could be at Framingham State, a state school that acts as a cheaper option for a good education. High school students around the country are faced with the many decisions that come with the college admissions process.
“There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States, so picking just one is going to take some work,” according to Julie McCulloh in an article on collegexpress.com. The process is very different for every individual but has the same end goal.
According to McCulloh there are four steps that every student should think about when finding the right match: 1. Analyze the academics 2. Explore locations 3. Make a list 4. Visit the campus.
When analyzing a school, students need to consider everything from their academic interest areas to what type of community and activities they want in a school. Every student looks for something different in a school, and it is a very personal experience.
Students must think about what is important to them. Nick Calabrese, a junior at Xaverian Brothers High School, started exploring many colleges the summer before his junior year.
“I’m looking for a nice school and the type of people that are there. A community that is built upon people being friendly; for example, they would be holding the door for one another,” said Calabrese in an email interview.
Getting a feel for the community when visiting a school shows the personality of the student body and what the institution looks for in prospective students. The community needs to be a good fit for every student because it will be their home for the next four years.
Once the decisions are made on what is important in a school, it is time to visit and get a feel for different types of campuses and communities to pick out the pros and cons of schools.
HHS guidance counselor Ms. Mani Harwich said, “families are acknowledging that they want to find a place where their child will be happy, will be successful and will be challenged academically, socially and emotionally.”
Michaela Campbell, a 2018 HHS graduate, who found her home at Providence College said, “you should have an overwhelming sense of gratitude.”
“Every time I walked onto PC I felt so grateful that I found a school that shared the same values as me,” said Campbell.
She felt as though she found her people while visiting PC and that she felt at home on the campus when interacting with students and staff.
The application process can be a headache for many but Campbell said, “the application process was not too bad, it was just a lot of writing, and I went into it with the mindset that it will be pivotal for my next four years.”
Looking at the college admissions process in a different way, Ms. Harwich said, “every student’s transcript tells a story and having that story be very evident on your transcript is important in the courses you are selecting for the schools to determine the interests of the student.”
The admissions process has become much more competitive in the past 20 years which makes it more difficult for students to be accepted to institutions nowadays.
“There is a race to get there but not all families are subscribing to that,” said Ms. Harwich.
Anyone involved in the college admissions process in the past few decades knows it has caused lots of anxiety for many students. It is the most intense time for high school students trying to juggle so many activities and so much school work on top of the search for the right school.
“You will find your people no matter what, and it takes time but it is so so worth it; all the hard work and misery of high school is just so worth it because college couldn’t be better,” said Campbell.
Despite the stresses that come along with both high school and the college search process, the final result of finding the perfect school is worth it for most students, beginning a new path to adult life.
“It is important to know that you will end up where you are meant to be and will find the school for you,” said Ms. Harwich.
image: The Osprey