Preparing For College

College Just Ahead Sign (Jack Kent Cooke Foundation)

College Just Ahead Sign (Jack Kent Cooke Foundation)

Mia Barajas-Kua, Staff Writer

For seniors, college is right around the corner. Many are starting to write and submit their applications for the fall of 2023. The process can become time-consuming, which can lead to a mix of emotions. During this time, students may start to feel overwhelmed or stressed. With so many requirements and steps, how should students start preparing? 

For the students who are preparing to start college later this year, application due dates vary. UC applications closed on Nov. 30, 2022, and for campuses outside of California, the deadline falls at the beginning of the 2023 year, January or February. 

One way to avoid feeling overburdened is to give yourself time. UHS counselor Hanna Adessi mentions how students should give themselves a timeline: start research sophomore year and from there, narrow down that research. 

“Junior year is a good time to start creating a list of colleges that seem to fit those criteria and doing more research into what those specific schools require to be eligible to apply, for example, teacher recommendations, essays,” Adessi said. “Finally, in the summer [or] fall of senior year, start finalizing that list, drafting essays and giving your teachers [and] counselor required items to write recommendations-brag sheets, resumes, counselor recommendation packet.” 

UHS counselor Jamie Adams emphasized junior year too, also mentioning the value of attending the junior meetings, where counselors start preparing students for life beyond high school. 

We review how to build a college list, utilizing Naviance and various college applications in junior meetings in the spring,” Adams said.

While making preparations for college, many believe that you need to get good grades and participate in numerous extracurricular activities. While this is true, students must also simplify their focus to practicing strong life skills. 

“These skills include time management [and] organization, good study habits, communication, self-advocacy, and coping skills,” Adessi said. “Often, if a student is practicing and improving in these basic skills, the good grades and ability to balance extracurricular activities will follow.”  

UHS College and Career Coordinator Felicia Rohrer Ng mentioned that students should also research things they are passionate about and get involved. 

“Whether it’s clubs, music, or sports, find something that brings you joy and that you are excited to do,” Rohrer Ng said.

High school students can also begin gaining different career-related experiences through volunteer work or internships.

“Both school involvement and career exploration will help prepare you not only for college applications but also life after college,” Rohrer Ng said. 

As overwhelming as applying to colleges may sound, students must give themselves a good amount of time to start preparing. Looking into different colleges and doing sufficient research can allow students to find what colleges and careers suit them. 

“UHS has plenty of resources to help learn more about your college options,” Rohrer Ng said. “You can attend the college [representative] visits at lunch and during Office Hours, go to college and career fairs, talk to UHS alumni who are in college, and visit college campuses in person on school breaks.” 

Besides giving themselves time and being organized, many feel less pressured when reminded that many students before them went through the same processes. 

“Don’t get too overwhelmed,” senior Mina Lipets said. “People around the world do this every year and they succeed. We’ve gotten this far, and we can get a little further.”