College applications don’t have to be daunting

Services are available to help students through the process

College applications don't have to be daunting

Abigayle McKinney , Editor

The truth is, for high-schoolers – college isn’t that far away.

And that isn’t something to be afraid of – it’s something to look forward to. 

When students understand the basics of the college application process, what once seemed like an unattainable goal becomes a very plausible reality. 

“It was a lot easier than I expected it to be,” admits Enochs High School senior Deeana Campos, when asked if the college application process was difficult. “The only thing that surprised me was signing up for CSU’s because they asked for my parents tax information, and that they responded so quickly.” 

The best way to start is by making an appointment with Enochs High School’s college counselor Ms. Brogan.

“Certain schools require certain requirements,” Ms. Brogan explains. “It’s a great idea to have a meeting with me to discuss where you want to go, so you can have a set goal.” 

As soon as a student enters high school, they begin building up their application. Strong academics, extracurriculars, awards, honors, demonstrated interests, and the college essay are what make a good college application, according to the Princeton Review. 

One factor that has always had a significant impact on an application are SAT and ACT scores. However, with the pandemic changing the way students receive education, colleges may be shifting their approach to applications.

When asked what she thought about the impact of SAT/ACT’s, Enochs’ college counselor Ms. Brogan’s response was, “I think the pandemic will be the downfall of the SAT and ACT.” 

Though it is extremely important to focus on academics, having a well-rounded application is what is going to really make a student stand out.

With the pandemic changing the way people approach education, colleges are looking now more than ever on students’ impact in their community and who they are as a person. 

“UC’s and private schools will look at grades, some test scores, extracurriculars, community service. They’ll ask if you’re involved in your school and community, if you have a job,” Ms. Brogan explains.

It’s never too early to start thinking about the process. Enochs senior Deeana explained that she began the process at the beginning of senior year, 

“I started as soon as they opened in October, to get it out of the way. Now I don’t have to stress about them anymore.” Which is the biggest piece of advice given by both interviewees. 

Ms. Brogan explained that students should start the application process as early as the summer before senior year, “Start writing the essays during the summer between junior and senior year so you have the time.

“It’s a great way to maintain balance.” 

Both Ms. Brogan and Deeana Campos were adamant about making sure students don’t stress about the process. “There is a college out there for everybody, if you want to go to college it’s going to be possible,” insists Ms. Brogan. 

However, one of the most important things to keep in mind when searching for the right college is finance. 

It’s no secret that college is expensive. However there are many ways to save money, such as scholarships, attending MJC for two years first, loans, and savings. it’s important to make sure students don’t leave college with massive amounts of debt. 

When asked about the biggest mistakes Ms. Brogan sees students make, her answer was simple.  

“It’s not common for students to talk about money with their parents, but it’s a really important conversation to have,” Brogan said.

Having a basic understanding of where students are financially can give them an advantage when searching for the right school.

Now, it’s easier than ever to understand where students are financially by using something called the net price calculator, which can be found on any college website, Ms. Brogan shared. 

Deeana Campos admitted that finances were something she made sure to take account of during her college search as well.

“I chose to go to MJC first so that I could save up money for a few years, since the first few years at MJC are free.” 

There are resources available to make sure that no matter where a student might come from, financially or academically, whether they have a history of scholars in their family or are first generation, students can find a way to get to college. 

It’s never too early to start the search, and now is the time to start building that application so that when the time comes, students not only have a basic understanding of the process, but are fully prepared for what lies ahead. 

With all the resources available a click away, such as websites like Naviance, College Board, and specific college sites, to the counselors just an email away, college is not only a concept for every single student to think about, it’s a plausible reality. 

To contact Brogan or to find out more information about the services that exist for students that are applying for college, email her at [email protected]