Here at CollegeAdvisor.com, we know that college admissions are a lot to deal with. The stress of picking schools, writing essays, filling out applications, paying for applications, and making an ultimate decision can feel overwhelming.
So in our quest to be a trusted guide for high school seniors in the college applications process, we did some research on what students face as they apply to college. Sure, we could search what's out there, but we wanted to hear the real world experiences about what is weighing on them the most.
For the last few months, our team has interviewed students, parents, and high school guidance counselors so that we could hear first-hand what's top of mind this college application season. This blog post is the first of three in the series to come, and it focuses all on what we learned from recent applicants and those about to face the process. Read on to find out more about what we heard, and let us know if you can relate!
The first finding: College applications are a LOT to manage
This may seem obvious, but that makes it no less important. Students today are applying to more and more schools, which means more deadlines and tasks to manage. 69% of the students we surveyed applied to more than five schools - meaning they had more than five sets of application requirements, often with different deadlines, to meet. That’s a lot to stay on top of! When asked,
"What would you change about the application process?"
Students' most common responses were related to lessening the application burden. One of the top responses was to standardize everything so students only had one set of requirements to track. While the Common App has tried to be a one-stop shop solution, we know not all colleges accept the Common App; and for those that do, they often require supplemental essays. (P.S. the Common App opens up this Thursday, August 1!)
Many students also said they wanted the whole process to be less stressful - and boy, do we agree with that sentiment! Our goal at CollegeAdvisor.com is to do just that - help limit your stress and make the application process more enjoyable.
The second finding: Decisions are really, really hard
One reason students are applying to so many schools is that it is hard to know which school is the right fit. 28% of the students surveyed said they chose their school based on the culture or feel, making “fit” the top factor in school decisions.
And yet many students also told us that the top thing they would change about the process would be to have better information on whether a school is a good fit. We heard a desire for more support in how to decide on schools, and how to present oneself to top schools. Filling this gap is one of our primary goals at CollegeAdvisor.com through our great mentor community. Our mentors are ready to help you assess options, hear about their experiences to see if the culture fit or feel resonates, and ultimately to help make final decisions less stressful (and more exciting!).
The third finding: The playing field is not equal...and it just costs too much money these days
The final thing we noticed was that there was a big difference in how much application support students received. Overall, the data shows:
- Students from public schools: 65% of students and/or their families paid for test prep support, but only 27% paid for application or essay review support
- Students from private schools: 74% of students and/or their families paid for test prep support, but again only 33% paid for application or essay review support
Costs add up quickly in college applications, and it's hard for families and students to find extra resources to pay for additional support and guidance. It's even harder when the cost of that support tends to be pretty high! This is the third area where CollegeAdvisor.com can help. Our college application services are priced affordably, so that more students can access such assistance - making the playing field more even. We're committed to providing our high quality services to one student coming from lesser served communities, often from public schools in high-risk, high-poverty areas, for every three students that pay for CollegeAdvisor.com. You can learn more on our social mission here.
We take these all of these findings to heart. College applications should be an exciting time for students, but there’s often a lot that gets in the way of enjoying the journey from high school senior to college-bound student. We hope you’ll let us help you out on that journey. Our team of mentors is ready and able to provide extra support to get you through applications successfully, sanely, and (hopefully) with a smile on your face.
Schedule a session with one of our mentors at CollegeAdvisor.com.