Seniors applying for the early-decision deadlines are working through the application process. (Paul Szmanda)
Seniors applying for the early-decision deadlines are working through the application process.

Paul Szmanda

The stress of college applications is in full swing

October 5, 2019

The College and Career Center needs to get its supporting documents in shape


Sarah Barber

This is the email that seniors received from Ann Lichaj on Friday Sept. 27 regarding due dates for supporting documents in Naviance.

As of Oct. 4, requests for all of my supporting documents — letters of recommendation and transcripts — were due in Naviance in order to meet my Nov. 1 early action college application deadlines; however, I didn’t find that out until Monday.

The DGS College and Career Center prides itself on offering many services to students who are working on their post-secondary plan, but as someone who is currently in that position, I don’t think the services students are provided are adequate. Now, this isn’t to say that the College and Career staff aren’t doing enough — their work is extremely stressful, and I sincerely appreciate all they do, I just think that some information needs to be better communicated to the senior class.  

I’m applying to 13 universities and colleges. They’re all out of state, some are public, some are private, but most importantly, they all have different requirements. Everything that I’ve filled out or completed for these 13 schools, I’ve done solely on my own, and thank goodness I’m type A, because I’ve had my requests in for weeks, but this isn’t the case for many seniors. I started the application process with nothing but my own knowledge, as is the case for much of the class of 2020, but it shouldn’t be.

When seniors are given the senior focus presentation from the counseling staff during their English period in the first weeks of school, they do get information about working Naviance and requesting transcripts or letters of recommendation. There are slides for those planning on attending four-year institutions, trade schools, or the military; however, a grand majority of the presentation is geared towards those planning on attending the College of DuPage.

I left my senior focus presentation with zero information on how to request a transcript, request letters of recommendation, or anything regarding the Common Application.

The College of DuPage is a great option for many students because it has the financial benefits and academic necessities for which many are looking. The problem I have with that portion of the presentation is that it was not geared towards its audience. 

My English class falls third hour, and when the two counselors presenting to our class asked for students considering COD to raise their hands, no one moved. It’s not the fact that I’m in an AP English course, that caused the presentation to be disconnected from my class’s interests, but the lack of differentiation of the presentations between the various English courses. 

I don’t think the COD portion of the presentation should be slashed by any means. It should just be adjusted based on the plans of students in each course. The presentation should be able to take multiple different avenues based on which students plan to take certain post-secondary paths. 

This is a trend that simply can’t continue. On Monday, when I witnessed many of my friends who had yet to request letters find out their documents were due in four days and the anxiety attacks that ensued, I knew something had to change. The due date information was given to seniors only by email, and one that looked exactly like every other scholarship or college representative visit email we receive — so it’s logical that many people ignored it. 

The students aren’t completely off the hook. We must be more diligent in searching for this information and answering our own questions, but it’s next to impossible for students to get answers when many don’t even know the questions that they should be asking. 

What DGS needs is a senior focus presentation that is curated so that counselors are able to take different routes based on the clientele in each class. Emails with important information should have bold subject lines that make their message undeniable to their recipient. Online processes should be given in more than just a Screencastify video. 

After spending four years working diligently, being told that every single one of our actions leads up to and will affect these applications, we deserve more than a vague presentation, with video links emailed to us afterward to compensate. We deserve hard, tangible information. 

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