College decisions taking a toll on students

The past two months have been nothing short of stress and anxiety for current high school seniors awaiting their college decisions. Now more than ever, the pressure of getting into college can be quite overwhelming for many students. In a year of record-high application numbers and plummeting acceptance rates combined with the uncertainty of the pandemic looming over prospective college students, it seems like the college decision process has taken a huge toll on them.

Unlike in previous years, students have had to navigate through the application process completely virtually. Without the support of peers whose shared experiences can be reassuring, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and lonely during such an important time. To top it off, almost every college and university has seen a significant increase in the number of applications this year. Most likely, this is due to students being unsure of where they will attend since college tours were not an option. Additionally, the test-optional policy also implemented by most schools made the application process this year, overall, more unpredictable.

Added pressure from social media is also a major contributing stress factor for high school seniors. It is easy to fall into a YouTube rabbit hole of college decision reaction videos prompting anxious students to doubt themselves when comparing themselves to the people in these videos. Many students also feel compelled to share their acceptances online, which could cause even more panic in students who are either awaiting decisions or who have been rejected by one of these schools.

As the May 1 deadline quickly approaches, students should keep in mind the ever so popular phrase, “rejection is just redirection.” Not being accepted into one school doesn’t close all doors, but rather closes one door and opens up many more. Further, the school you attend does not determine the course of your life, rather the experiences you make, which can happen from anywhere.