The Ins and Outs of College Apps


Emma Stoll

Along with college application season comes visits from colleges! Meeting with colleges and visiting campuses can teach you a lot about the school. “Even if you have no idea where you want to apply, just go on a college visit,” said Bumbarger.

Emma Stoll, Features Editor

College application season has begun! Early action and early decision portals have opened, and many seniors here at Hollis Brookline High School are busy getting their applications ready to go. It’s a stressful time of the year for everyone involved- but is the stress really worth it? And how does one go about successfully making it through this stressful time?

For some, the stress is worth it. Maddie Harley ‘20, who wants to go into nursing, has already submitted all twelve of her applications- even though only a few of them are Early Action. Her process involved researching schools to make sure their programs were right for her, comparing her transcript and portfolio to others already accepted into the program and working hard on her supplementary essays. “I just knew that the outcome would definitely be worth it,” said Harley. 

In order to stay organized with so many applications to submit, she did a little bit at a time so she could stay on track and not feel overwhelmed. The key to successfully applying is, “definitely don’t wait until the last minute,” said Harley. By planning out deadlines beforehand and not overworking, college applications can be a relatively easy process.

However, college isn’t for everyone. Some students choose to take an alternate path, deciding to attend trade school, join the military or head straight into the workforce. Angelee Gagnon ‘20 is one of those students. “Looking into college, it’s so expensive, and going into that amount of debt at this age and committing to something like that and making those decisions is just a lot for a seventeen-year-old to process,” said Gagnon. She felt as though college had been pushed on her for years, which she disliked greatly. 

“There’s other smart decisions and options out there that just fit better with certain people’s paths in life and what they want to do,” said Gagnon. She thought about joining the military, or attending a trade school, instead of applying to college. A large factor in her decision is finances, since college can be extremely expensive. “Be ok with taking a gap year or taking a full time job for the time being… figure yourself out before making these big decisions in your life. And look at your other options,” said Gagnon.

The decision of what to do with your future can be a daunting one, but thankfully, HB has an excellent counseling department who come equipped with advice to help you with the process. “[College applications] can be really overwhelming for students, and sometimes just taking a step back, taking a deep breath and realizing that your acceptances don’t really define you helps,” said Dan Bumbarger, one of the school counselors. College is a really big commitment, and the decision to attend or not is a daunting one, so it’s very important that the school counselors are all prepared to help their students make the decision that’s right for them, no matter what that decision may be.

The process of applying can oftentimes feel overwhelming, but not impossible. “If you adopt a good way of organizing yourself and your time, and all of your different things you have to get done, that can be an easy and less stressful part of the process,” said Bumbarger. And the best way to prepare? “Start early. Visit, visit, visit,” said Bumbarger. Making sure to review all your options, visit schools to get a feel for the atmosphere, and staying organized can really help make the process easier.

College application season can be a very stressful time. By the time regular decision portals open in January, students might be feeling some burnout. But in the end, it will all be worth it, especially if you feel you’ve made the right decision for your future. Good luck, students of HBHS!