The college application process can be time-consuming and even money-consuming.
By the time students reach their senior year in high school, they are either yearning for the freedom of being on their own and living life in the fast lane, or they are scared to death of being on their own for the first time and all the responsibility that comes with it.
However, before they can experience most of these feelings first-hand they must go through the stress and processes of applying to prospective schools.
Applying to colleges or universities is not a cake walk. It involves time and money. Writing essays, getting letters of recommendation, campus visits and application fees are all included. To many people, filling out a college application may seem trivial, but with many high school students putting things off until the last minute, it can turn from trivial to hectic.
``Right around the time that the applications were due I was in the middle of basketball season. Before I knew it, I had a lot of essays that needed to be done and the application was due in a week,'' said Hunter Harris, a 1998 graduate of Baldwin High School.
Application fees are an accepted fact that come with every application. Most average $20 to $25, but some can get up to $60. If a student applies to numerous schools, these fees can add up. At a state school in Kansas (Kansas University, Wichita State University or Kansas State University, for example) the application fee averages $20. Private NAIA schools, such as Baker University and William Jewel, are around $25, but more prestigious schools such as Dartmouth require a fee of $60. On the other end of the scale, Johnson County Community College has a fee of only $10.
Along with the fees, students will be asked to send basic personal information. Supplying this information isn't very time consuming. Essays, however, are.
Essays are required for some scholarships or even admittance to schools. Obtaining letters of recommendation, which go along with the essays, from teachers or school administrators can take up time as well.
With all of these factors, some applications can take well over an hour to fill out and students still may not end up at that college.
Micah Gatz, a student at Baldwin High, recently applied to Dartmouth and frowned a little when asked how long it took to fill out the application.
``It took about two hours to write the essays -- there was a major essay and three smaller ones. It took a bit of time.''
Gatz was turned down by Dartmouth with a form letter, but has been accepted to Manhattan College in New York City.
Harris applied to the University of Texas, Tennessee University and University of Arizona. As of this writing, he had only heard from Arizona, which accepted him.
``I am starting to get a little tense ... and I still don't know where I'm going to end up,'' said Harris.
Whether you pick the school or the school picks you, making a decision about a college or university is not easy.
Be sure you pick schools that you are truly interested in and apply early, and be prepared for a little or even a lot of hassles and stress during the process.
-- Jay Brooks is a 1998 graduate of Baldwin High School.