College application season has once more come to terrorize the newest class of high school seniors. Teenagers are talking about their plans for the future with stars in their eyes and butterflies in their stomachs. Some will apply to one college, while others will apply to 10.

Prospective college students are running around trying to obtain recommendation letters, stressing over essay topics and deliberating over what to include in their resume. People are comparing and weighing their chances. “Have you applied to there yet?” “No, I’m finishing up my application for this college.” “Well so and so got in and their ACT score is lower than mine, but they have more extracurricular activities than me so I’m not sure about my chances.” 

The shared anxiety of the class of 2020 can be easily felt. Deadlines hover over our heads as if each one that passes represents another door to the future slammed in our faces.

As daunting as applying for colleges is, it is exciting. It’s the first major choice that teenagers get to make about their lives. Not only will the decision impact the next fours years, but also the rest of their lives. If you’ve studied hard enough and said your prayers these past three years, then you can open up new worlds. However, it truly feels as though sometimes that it will take divine intervention to get accepted into your dream school­­–even if you have the right grades and test scores. Each school’s application process is unique.

Some take a common application, some don’t. Some require essays and recommendations and others just need your transcript and test scores. The process is confusing and the more places you want to apply to the more tangled and complex this web becomes.

Applying for colleges is like the Greek myth of Pandora’s box. Once my box opened, it refused to shut again. As soon as one task is completed three more appeared. I hope that my box will close and this arduous journey will eventually end. Of course at some point I will be done applying to colleges but I fear that in my case this will not be for a very long time.

I cannot help to envy my peers that have already set their future (or at least what they’ll be doing next year) in stone. Right now it seems as if my own future is still waiting to take shape. Sure, I have my short list and I know what I want to major in but all of those possibilities only live in my mind.

They don’t have an acceptance letter to give them weight. As a realist who sometimes leans towards pessimism, it’s hard to be hopeful. I understand the factors involved in the admission process and know where my shortcomings lie. I do have some hope that this process is the first step to a bright future somewhere. I’m sure everything will work out in the end but the end seems like a long distance from here.

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