College applications need to be made easier, more accessible to students


Elizabeth Rose

School social worker Joanne Tuell advises senior Dashell Caloroso during a senior workshop on Nov. 9, where student were assisted by staff members on the application process.

Delilah Brumer and Gabrielle Lashley

As the Class of 2023 experienced the first several months of this school year, the perpetually looming stress of college applications has severely dampened the joy of senior year.

Our future after graduation should be something we look forward to with optimistic excitement. Instead, the pressure of admissions, financial aid, waiting for decisions and choosing the right fit turns college from an approaching opportunity to a worrisome burden.

According to a 2022 survey by the Princeton Review, 76% of students characterize their stress about college applications as “very high” or “high,” with only 2% saying their stress is “low” or “very low.” The college admissions process does not need to take this significant of a toll.

While many schools, including Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) do take the time to give students access to different resources that help them in the application process, there’s still a constant stigma that if a student doesn’t go to a four-year university, they won’t be able to have a successful life. This is why further funding for college application resources is essential for the well-being of DPMHS students, so we can have some of the crushing responsibility lifted off our shoulders. 

It’s also important for seniors to be informed that there are options other than a four-year institution like community college, trade school or going straight into a job. It should be reinforced that there is no right answer when it comes to seniors’ futures and having that knowledge helps limit stress.

In addition to other stressors, the sheer amount of students applying to colleges and colleges’ lowering acceptance rates can make gaining admission to college seem unachievable. For example, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) received nearly 150,000 applications from the high school Class of 2022 and had an acceptance rate of 9%, according to UCLA data. This compares to UCLA’s approximately 130,000 applicants and 14% acceptance rate in 2019. 

In order to alleviate some college worries, colleges that are able to should increase enrollment, making it easier to get in. In addition, financial aid should be made more accessible and students should be encouraged to work toward their postsecondary goals, whatever they may be.

DPMHS students can take several steps to help themselves throughout this process. They can form college application study groups and rely on their peers for support. They can also attend college application workshops with DPMHS’ counselor Martina Torres.

With college application season in full swing and college decisions being released in the coming months, seniors are understandably nervous. We want the process and resources available to students to improve and we hope our peers maintain their mental health. We’ve got this, Class of 2023.