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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

What Not to Ask a Senior

A Guide from an Upperclassman’s Perspective
What+Not+to+Ask+a+Senior

Catching up with a family friend or an acquaintance finds new meaning when junior year ends,  run-of-the-mill small talk is quickly replaced with the dreaded question: “How’s the college search going?” 

It may seem like a harmless question, but soon enough it feels as though college applications make up a student’s entire identity, and the constant college talk doesn’t end there. There is a perpetual flow of college spam throughout the few months before and during college applications. 

After a while, college visits become a never-ending chore and mailboxes and email inboxes are full of letters from college  making you feel special with a “Dear [insert your name here]…” After receiving over 100 emails from one college you finally give in and look it up, to learn about the school wasting paper and stamps on you. Most of them end up in the trash anyway. And you’re shocked to find out that one of the greatest offenders is one of the most prestigious schools in the United States—I am talking about the University of Chicago, a school with a 6% acceptance rate. Which begs the question, why are they even emailing me? 

According to one website called HelloCollege, “Doing so increases the number of applications they receive, which in turn drives down their acceptance rates.” The acceptance rate is a very important measure for colleges and with more applicants, the admit rate will drop in turn boosting their ranking. 

Students aren’t oblivious to this fact. Summit senior Coral Reed said, “They spend more money on advertising, so more students apply to those schools, just to keep their acceptance rates low.” 

College applications take over seniors’ lives, parents talk about it, teachers talk about it, and counselors talk about it. Seniors are laboring over essay prompts for many different schools, searching for letters of recommendation, and debating on applying for Early Decision, and when you see a family friend or even meet someone new, the first question asked is “How’s the college search process?” I suppose it is a good time filler, a question that seems straightforward enough, but indeed it is not. 

“It starts to not only become something that feels very redundant, but it can also bring the scarier reality of college into view,” said Reed. 

Students often have no idea what they want for the next four years of their life, let alone after that. What classes do you need to graduate, where will you apply, where will you get in and what major will you decide to study? Over and over the questions about the college search are asked, and it instantly reminds you of the ever-present uncertainty that is the future. Every time I have to fill a questionnaire out, such as the Common Application, I have to put down what my intended area of study is and the highest degree I plan to get. Our mind constantly swirls and it seems our entire being is reduced to the process of applications. 

Even if it’s only meant out of curiosity with no harm intended, students have their own feelings about questions surrounding the college application process. 

“I feel like since I became a senior [how is the college search going?] is the default question that every adult or person will ask me as small talk,” said Arden Conde, a Summit senior. “I always let out a sigh before responding, then I realize I genuinely have no idea.”

The question is just a reminder of everything you need to do and everything that you haven’t done. Too often, it seems that seniors need to have their entire lives figured out by the time they send in applications.

“Part of me is excited to think about going to college, but the other part of me has no idea what I want in my future,” said Conde.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Hawkins, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Meet Sarah Hawkins, one-third of the Editor-In-Chief team. Hawkins has been a part of The Summit Pinnacle for three years and enjoys writing both in and out of school. When not writing, planning and editing for this class, catch Hawkins digging her cleats in on the lacrosse field. As an avid volunteer for various organizations, Hawkins is also the president of the Interact Club at Summit. Hawkins seems to always have something on her to-do list, but as procrastination is a favorite skill of hers, you can spot her with friends around town or baking a fun dessert!

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