College application time affecting mental health in high school seniors


Since the first day of freshman year, students have been told constantly about the “big year”–senior year. As a senior, you are the top of the school and about to embark on a journey only you can unfold. But rarely anyone mentions the stress levels that are put onto teenagers due to the pressures of figuring out their future. 

Throughout the month of October, students have been frantic to get resumes, essays and transcripts in by the due date of Nov. 1st. Between school work, jobs, social life and applications, seniors are put to the max; which eventually takes a toll on their mental health.

This stress can be detrimental to students’ health throughout the year over worries about their future. Many things they can not change or have control over which makes them feel powerless over their own life. 

October is a month full of jam-packed activities for high schoolers, including Homecoming and the infamous Halloween weekend. With all of the activities going on, many students started to feel the pressure pile up. 

“Most Florida schools’ deadline was the day after Halloween,” Molly Dolan, senior, said. “In the morning I was working on my college applications and on Halloween night.”

Applications are a key aspect of senior year, but having that stress under control is where many high schoolers crack. They can’t find the balance of social life and school that often reflects poorly in both, which results in not feeling good about themselves or their school work. 

Teachers have been through this process, possibly multiple times, and to watch kids slowly lose themselves to the stress of college applications, without offering help is making it worse. 

“They’re [seniors] really stressed and making sure that their applications are what they want them to be,” Kaitlyn Stout, senior, said. “But they also have to balance everything else like social life, school and it’s hard.”

Even through the process and the stress, it is worth it in the end knowing that you are going to your dream school. Jared Bennet, senior, felt overwhelmed but that quickly changed when the deadline hit. 

“It was stressful leading up to it, but then when I finally submitted, it was exciting. It’s a big step for someone coming in from high school,” Bennet said.

As well as the written part of the application, students find choosing a major difficult at 17-18 years old. Many think that it can determine who they are going to be and what they could possibly do for the rest of their life. Which most times is not the case at all, seeming that you can switch majors all the way up to your senior year of college.

“Trying to pick a major and decide who you’re going to be right now is really stressful. There’s a lot of things that I want to do, and it’s hard to settle on one,” Dolan said. “It feels like you’re committing to all four years doing that even though you can change your major.” 

Even through all the stress, seniors are excited to start this next chapter of their adult life. 

“Although college applications were very stressful, once they were submitted I felt an overwhelming relief that made me really excited to close this chapter in my life and start the next chapter.” Stout said.