Summer brings stress to juniors
THURS. | 04-21-22 | OPINION
For many students, the summer is a time to go on vacation, hang out with friends and family, catch up with life and just take a break from school. However, the pressures involved with college admissions have caused many students' lives to constantly be filled with stress and have turned the summertime into extracurricular work.
When summer arrives, it's finally a time to breathe and relax because students have completed another year of schooling; however, this means a step closer to college. The academic world itself has become so much more competitive. For instance, both the acceptance rates of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and East Carolina University (ECU) have dropped drastically.
In 2015, as recorded on the official UNC website, 31.3% of applicable freshmen were accepted into UNC whereas in 2020, only 24% of applicants were admitted. The situation at ECU is similar. In 2015, the acceptance rate was 88%, and by 2020, AcceptanceRate.com reported that the drop to 79%. Although competition level at each university is
Graphic by Abby Ershadi
different, both acceptance rates have noticeably dropped, which I believe is due to the stigma that colleges are now only looking for the cream of the crop.
This leads to the fact that students must do more and more each year to stand out from other applicants. Extracurricular activities, ACT and SAT scores, advanced classes and volunteer work are all a part of the application process, not to mention the overwhelming amount of essays that students must write for each college. As the competition becomes greater each year, the dire need for a break goes overlooked.
For many students, myself included, summer has been turned into school once again. Personally, my summer consists of going away to academic programs, attending tutoring sessions and writing essays which makes it feel as though I am in school again, but in sweltering heat.
During the school year, lives are hectic as schedules fill up with classes, sports, clubs and other extracurriculars. It all can be very hard to manage and can lead to students not doing their best in each aspect, hence why the summer becomes a crucial time to make up for the performances that perhaps were not up-to-par during the school year. For some, the solution of using summer to make up for losses seems promising, but for others, myself included, the summer is a necessary break.
Since 2015, the Common App essay set on Aug. 1, has allowed students to start submitting their essays. The beginning of this month is still in the summertime. School last year did not even start until Aug. 22, so it’s crazy to think how some students are applying for college before they even start senior year.
Since Common App opens so early, instead of enjoying the cool salty air and relaxing atmosphere at the beach, students' stomachs are churning like a stormy day at sea. The fact that my summer, which is meant to be a break, will be turned into stress and worry over perfecting my college essays makes me feel sick already. It is scary to think how important a singular essay is and how much influence it has over college careers these days. Although it is not crucial or necessary to start college essays in the summer, some students prefer to get it out of the way to alleviate stress during senior year.
Even though I am only a junior, I feel the pressures of college looming over my head constantly. The early opening of Common App can cause the summertime to be filled with anxiety instead of rest and fun. I, myself, am already experiencing this anxiety. Parents and teachers all say to start the essay process early, but in truth, starting early can feel overwhelming, especially when the deadline is in the summer. This results in the summertime being spent over stressing about writing excellent essays and the entire application process in general, when summer should be spent enjoying time off from school.