How Seniors Balance Academics with College Applications

Xinyi Xie, Editor-in-Chief

For high school seniors, the fall semester is commonly known as the “college application season.” As most college application due dates fall roughly in this time frame–except those of schools employing rolling admission–seniors spend hours deciding which colleges they want on their list, filling out the CommonApp portals, brainstorming and writing their personal statements and trying to present the best facets of themselves to their dream schools. 

“You want to apply to schools you actually want to go to, so you can express your interest in your application,” senior Eleni Engelbrecht said. 

Some seniors actually began working on the applications as early as in the summer to avert any potential struggle of balancing schoolwork with college applications.

“I think you should really start early, space out your work, and definitely don’t leave everything until the day before the deadline,” senior Helen Fu said. “Write a detailed description of all your activities beforehand, or you might forget the important parts when you fill out your application.” 

The deadlines for Early Decision (a binding application plan where if the applicant is admitted to a school, he or she must commit) and Early Action (similar to Early Decision, but non-binding) passed in early November. Some seniors rolled back on their workload briefly before delving back into the lengthy process of writing applications to meet the Regular Decision deadlines in December and January. Many planned to use Thanksgiving break and the winter break to finalize their applications and visit a final round of college campuses.

“I did a lot of early action applications, since it’s non-binding and in general it doesn’t hurt to apply earlier,” senior Johnny Xi said. “And when you apply to many schools, it’s very important to keep your files organized when you’re working.”

Early application decisions are projected for release in mid-December, and Regular application results in March and April.