As historically successful college preparatory schools, Winsor and Belmont Hill have recently concluded another fall of helping seniors apply to college. With Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) deadlines approaching, seniors spent these past few months in the full swing of the application process. As most of the seniors find themselves nearing the end of the first wave of the college admissions process, we’ve decided to ask a few of them to share their experiences with the process at their respective schools.
As of now, Howard Huang ’22 explains that “most seniors have submitted EA, ED, or REA (Restrictive Early Action) applications to schools,” although they will be continuing to write more regular decision applications and prepare for their interviews. Isabella Liu ’22 reports that she is “now working on essays for the deadlines coming up the quickest,” most of which are approaching throughout November and early December. The college application process is certainly tough and rigorous, especially amidst seniors’ involvement in challenging academics and a variety of extracurricular activities. Some seniors such as Arec Keomurjian ’22 have been able to manage the balance between schoolwork and college apps. He tells us, “I think I have been able to manage my schoolwork and college preparations relatively well, making sure to take advantage of the free time I get. Doing a lot of the work over the summer helped as well.” However, Liu had a different experience, as she admits,“I haven’t really been working on college apps too much, which is partially why I’m kind of doing everything last minute. I’ve mostly been prioritizing school work and extracurriculars, and just finding time to work on college apps when I happen to be free.” Both seniors emphasize the importance of using free time wisely, as academics and extracurriculars pose a significant time commitment on top of college applications.
The seniors we interviewed agree that both Winsor and Belmont Hill have been extremely helpful in guiding them through the college application process. Keomurjian says that “the college counseling office has been very informative and helpful throughout the entire process. They make sure all the documents are being sent on time and to the right places, and [they] are always available to answer any questions.” Erica Sahin ’22 shares a similar sentiment, describing how “all of my Winsor teachers have been incredibly supportive and understanding about the stress and timing of college applications. On weeks when I was completely out of time and energy to focus on school work, I was able to move tests back a few days until I had time to properly study for them.” While both schools seem to provide adequate support for the seniors, the overall process is not perfect and there is still room for improvement. Keomurjian explains, “One thing I think could be improved on is the essay editing process.” While he acknowledges the extensive number of essays that the college counseling office must read, Keomurjian also expresses his desire for more comprehensive feedback in his writing and greater consistency in the support that the office provides throughout the essay editing process.
While Winsor and Belmont Hill share many similarities in the college process, the two schools diverge when it comes to the stress culture surrounding the topic of college. At Winsor, Liu admits that “there is definitely stress culture surrounding college, and I have contributed to it as well… I’ve heard that sophomores and juniors are thinking about the process really early on and are getting stressed about it, which is kind of worrying.” Meanwhile, Keomurjian reflects, “I do think there is a stress culture when it comes to college, but it’s not nearly as bad as I expected. I thought I would be a lot more stressed out than I am right now, and I think that’s because my class is genuinely willing to help each other out when it comes to the college process.” It is important to note that although Liu and Keomurjian had contrasting experiences with college stress, both seniors emphasized how the support of their peers was indispensable in getting them through the most emotionally demanding parts of applying to college.
Lastly, we asked the seniors if they had any advice to give to future seniors or any parts of the college process that they would have approached differently. All four seniors stress the importance of starting college applications as early as possible, especially with supplemental essays. Although easier said than done, they also warn against the consequences of procrastination. Sahin recommends communicating with teachers to manage stress and deadlines, reminding students not to “worry about what everyone else is doing.” Huang also underscores the benefit of spending enough time to look for colleges that are the right fit, even if they aren’t colleges that students at Winsor and Belmont Hill frequently apply to.
While this fall has been especially challenging for our seniors, we congratulate them for concluding this portion of the college process and applaud their perseverance throughout these past few months. Both Winsor and Belmont Hill have undoubtedly prepared our seniors well for their futures, and we wish them the best of luck as they transition into the next chapter of their lives.