The Senior Perspective on College Applications

Eliza Schwartz '24, Staff Writer

While the first semester comes to an end, so does the most stressful time of year for St. Luke’s seniors. As college applications are mostly finished, seniors reflect on their overall experience and provide advice for those who are about to enter the demanding process. 

In response to five questions, seniors’ provided eye-opening insights and offered guidance to underclassmen. 

“If you could describe the college process in one word, what would it be?”

Flynn Partington ’23 describes the college process as “overhyped” because “there is more external pressure put on people which leads to internal pressure.” Pressure is a concept with which most at St. Luke’s are familiar. As a result of the pressure-inducing nature of the college application process, it is easy to lose sight of being true to oneself, and cater actions in order to fit into the application. 

Charlie Lewis ‘23 holds a different view on this question, describing the process as “valid.”   Lewis said, “It [the college process] gives kids opportunities to find what they love and their interests.” By visiting different schools, students can find what works best for them; and by focusing on the qualities/attributes rather than the prestige of the school, students can find their passions and where they can truly thrive. 

“What are some things you wish you knew about the application process?”

Liv Woodruff ‘23 explains her difficulty with the supplements. Woodruff said, “I wish school [St. Luke’s] assigned more word-counted assignments, as I’m not used to writing with limited word counts, so it is hard to revise.” 

Based on the general consensus, many seniors underestimated the amount of writing necessary for the Common App. Charlie Lewis validated Woodruff’s point, saying that he did not know “how much writing would be involved.” Lewis added, “I probably should have gotten help with my writing earlier on.” 

“If you could do one thing differently (either with the process or as your younger high school self), what would it be?” 

Partington said, “I wish I chose honors science instead of regular science because it closed off other opportunities when applying for schools.” Partington’s response encourages reflection on the importance of challenging yourself by taking risks which can open more opportunities for the future. 

Ale Lewis ‘23 holds a different perspective on this question, explaining that she went “into the process not thinking about what’s going to be [her] dream school, but instead looking for a school that [she] would be happy at.” Lewis said, “When visiting schools, [I] didn’t get that magical moment, so I searched for the factors that [I] really liked.”

“What is one piece of advice you would give to underclassmen?” 

Ale Lewis said,  “Don’t do things for college, or for the application. Don’t do things you don’t enjoy just for college. Do what makes you happy.” In such a high-pressure environment, it is easy to lose sight of activities and hobbies that make you happy. However, staying true to yourself is ultimately better for you in terms of emotional stability, and for the application. Many seniors were in agreement with Lewis’s response. Colleges want to see your authentic self, not just a list of extracurriculars.  

“If you could be brutally honest and tell parents/teachers/people anything about the process, what would it be?” 

Woodruff said, “The pressure to go to a prestigious school is way too emphasized. Going to a prestigious school doesn’t matter, going to a school that makes you happy does.” The college process can be considered a stressful time for many; however, it does not always have to be. Genuine interest in a school is much more important than worrying about the name or ‘prestige factor.’  

As the college process draws to a close, I commend the seniors for all their hard work and thank them for their wise words which I will be sure to keep in mind as I begin the college process. Their time and wisdom have not gone unnoticed, and their leadership continues to drive St. Luke’s School in a better direction.