Impending graduation at any institution fills its students with a variety of emotions: excitement at the idea of carving a new path independent of everything they have ever known, uncertainty about what their future may hold, and often the melancholy sadness that comes with having to leave friends who have become family over the last four years. These are their people. As graduates leave to start the next chapters of their lives, they will remember so much about their friends–their contagious laughter, their lengthy list of inside jokes, their support during times of impossible difficulty, and their shared experience of growing up at a school they’ll remember forever.
Writing college essays is a daunting task for most high school seniors and the cause of much friction between students and their parents in the middle of the college application process. Parents want to see applications completed and submitted well before admissions deadlines while students find thousands of ways to avoid writing their essays. Writing about oneself is never an easy task, but it is especially challenging for teenagers who are just beginning the process of self-reflection that insightful writing requires. These young writers are often apprehensive about putting pen to paper because they believe that their words, which will be evaluated by unknown admissions officers, will determine their college choices and their success in life.
For many seniors, figuring out the college process is like aiming at a moving target. Students have to navigate a challenging dynamic that is both created by their own emotions and expectations and impacted by the results of their last three years of high school and the wishes of their families. As college counselors, we consider it our job to educate, guide, and gently remind our seniors (and their parents) about the various steps along the path to college, but ultimately we know our students will be well-prepared and successful no matter where they go.