Looming Deadlines: Early applications add to busy lives of seniors

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Alexandra O’Kane ’13
Staff Writer

 

Sealing the deal: In this dramatization, the student fills out an early decision (ED) application to a school. These applications are binding, if the student is accepted he or she must attend.| Photo by Ross Gordon '11

With deadlines of Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 drawing near, seniors who are applying early decision to college find their college application stress growing.

According to Guidance Counselor Victoria Capozzi, students at Staples tend to apply to school early because they enjoy knowing where they have been accepted before the holidays.

Capozzi said the difference between early decision and early action is that early decision is binding, while early action is non-binding.

Usually, students apply early decision to their dream school and then early action to others, she said.

“A lot of students tend to apply to schools early and the number seems to be increasing year after year,” said Susan Fugitt, who works at the College and Career Center. “I’m not sure why students wouldn’t apply early because then the decision is done.”

Also, many students think it is easier to get in early to college. This drives many seniors to go through the early decision process.

“If a student marginally meets the requirements for [his or her] early decision school, the binding factor puts them in a favorable position of getting in,” guidance counselor Ed Huydic said.

However, there are downsides to early applications.

For Melissa Sweeney ’11, early decision applications are adding stress to her already busy schedule. She is currently taking four AP classes, is a member of the varsity volleyball team, and is applying to one school early decision and six schools early action.

Morgan Goldberg ’11 finds herself equally busy as she dances six days a week, is a member of JSA, and is also applying to one early decision school and six early action schools, like Sweeney.

Sweeney did many of her applications over the summer to help reduce her stress during the school year, even though she said it “kind of ruined her summer.” Now, with all her commitments she said, “I try to just do a little bit every night.”

To help them along in the process, many students have consultants starting late in their junior year who help them through the application process, especially with writing their essays, Huydic said.

Sweeney said she has a college consultant and tutor to help her. “I would say it’s a difficult and confusing process without one,” she said. Brendan Bernstein ’11 also said that he had his SAT tutor help him a few times with his college essays.

Seniors who are applying early try to get the best possible first quarter grades because “getting average grades could finish off a students chance of getting in to a school early,” Huydic said.

“The only things I am stressed about right now are my first quarter grades. To get into a competitive college, my grades first quarter need to be very good and I can’t slack, even though I want to because it is senior year,” Bernstein said.

Capozzi wants to try and make the process of applying to college as easy as possible, she said.

“Our goal is to reduce, not add to stress, but I’m really not sure if we are achieving it,” Capozzi said.

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