Seniors take on college applications as early action deadlines approach

The central goal for MSMS students after high school is continuing their education at universities.

Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The central goal for MSMS students after high school is continuing their education at universities.

Madison Echols, Staff Writer

“Freedom with a dash of anxiety,” is what Madelyn Phillips said regarding her current status as a senior in high school and impending college applications.

She explained, “You know you’ve been working toward this goal for so long and you’re finally going to get there, but there’s also a really big jump into the unknown. [Applying to college] is very exciting and scary all at once.”

Entering the final weeks of October, college application season is well underway, and Phillips and the rest of the Class of 2022, have reached the middle of their anxiety- and excitement-ridden journey to college. With big ambitions of attending top universities all across the country, the MSMS Class of 2022 is tasked with the daunting challenge of balancing college applications, academics, social life and a myriad of extracurriculars. Seniors have already endured the shockwave of being the first class back on campus traditionally since the start of the pandemic, and now they are the first class to resume a semi-traditional college application process.

Senior Nala Nathan, who works on college applications about four hours a week, said she stays connected with her parents to find motivation and balance the strenuous workload of MSMS and college applications during this taxing season.

“My mom and dad are the sole reason I am where I am in the application process… I call them almost every day,” Nathan said. “I’d also say that the most important thing is managing time wisely. You need to set out some time every day or every other day to work on college applications, but you cannot completely forget about your schoolwork and vice versa. You cannot prioritize one over the other.”

Like Nathan, senior Zaria Cooper said for her, balance is necessary, especially because she feels pressure and anxiety from the process.

“I feel pressure all the time. College is a lot, especially going to this school where GPA really matters, clubs matter, leadership matters,” Cooper said. “You have to learn how to balance it all — the feeling that the world is on your shoulders. But that is what makes us MSMS students. When we walk across the stage, all the hard work we put in is worth it.”

Cooper isn’t the only student who can see the bright side of their admissions process. Even with the stress of both looming college applications and the devastating pandemic, many seniors, including Phillips and Raeed Kabir, still said they feel they are in a better position in regard to college admission and their identity within it.

“What COVID did to society was horrible … but it has enabled me to do things that without it, I would have never achieved,” Kabir said. “My research project was entirely COVID-based, and it got me places I never would’ve imagined. I also got into social science [and] economics, and wouldn’t have been able to take as many classes without it. I’ve gained a lot of positive things through the pandemic.”

“Personally, I believe I’m in a better position than if it was a completely normal application season,” Phillips added. “I was homeschooled before coming to MSMS, and with COVID, [colleges] have become more lenient and open to the idea that kids are at different disadvantages, because during COVID no one was able to go out and serve, lead and start things.”

Knowing the ups and downs of the college application process, the seniors have gained plenty of experience to help the Class of 2023 prepare for their college applications.

“I would tell the juniors what my seniors told me: You have to start early,” Cooper said. “Even if you don’t start early, make sure you have all of your ducks in a row, and be sure to enjoy senior year despite all of the stress.”