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The Student News Site of Dallastown Area High School

The Beacon

The Student News Site of Dallastown Area High School

The Beacon

The Application for Your Future

Dallastown seniors reflect on the anxiety of the college process, saying the waiting is really the hardest part.
Senior Jillian Stefko poses with a shirt of the university she has committed to - Florida Gulf Coast.
Senior Jillian Stefko poses with a shirt of the university she has committed to – Florida Gulf Coast.

In March, senior Jillian Stefko opened her computer anxious to find out if she had gotten into her dream school: Florida Gulf Coast. Her college application process, however, started months before.

College applications can be one of the most overwhelming and anxiety-filled things somebody has to do in their life. 

A school’s average acceptance rate is 68% and a high percentage is considered 50% or higher; an acceptance rate is the ratio of the students that applied and got accepted into that school.

Acceptance rates are normally based on the space the school has. It’s the number of students that can be admitted into that graduating year. 

This goes for all colleges, public and private. Which is why the rate is so different between the two. Private schools don’t have as much room as public schools, so they often accept less.

Whether an acceptance rate is low or high there are many different emotions with them.

“I was encouraged because I fell in love with the school when I first visited so when I saw that the acceptance rate wasn’t too high, I was excited and didn’t feel too much pressure spending the 30 bucks to apply there,”  Stefko says.

Stefko plans to go for political science for a pre-law track. 

“The acceptance rate was a deterrence for me, and it did make me question whether or not I even had a chance to be accepted into such a selective school.” says senior Dallas Swisher about acceptance rates. 

Many of the stressful parts of applying are competition, lack of control, family expectations, financial obligations, language barrier, and physical and mental concerns. 

What also comes is stress in college. It is mostly correlated to increased responsibilities, a lack of good time management, changes in your sleeping and eating habits, and finally not taking care of yourself during all of this.

For students transitioning into this new lifestyle is hard and a lot of this stress also turns into mental health issues. 

Dallas Swisher poses with a card for Dickinson college – which he has committed to. (Larissa Swisher)

According to, 76% of college students are likely to develop mental health issues- like anxiety or depression -while in college, but the scariest statistics are that 31% of students met the criteria of suicidal thoughts,13% of students had harmed themselves, and another 3% was recorded for suicide. 

The good side to all of this is that students don’t have to go through it alone. 

“Involving your parents or guardians in the process can be helpful,” advises Mrs. McCullough, Dallastown’s College, Career, and Transition Coordinator.

Everyone who applies to college needs to make sure they are taking the necessary precautions for their health. 

To make this possible many different people have agreed that you need to break down big tasks, keep deadlines in mind, make goals that fit you, and most importantly keep yourself in mind and put your health first.

“Begin with exploring various colleges to identify those that align with your academic, extracurricular, and personal preferences,” says Mrs. McCullough

You should also be prepared before applying. 

“I felt prepared because of my preparation, as well as the preparation that I’ve received in certain courses here at Dallastown,” says Swisher. “I felt more than ready to apply to colleges. In part, that came from guidance from an elective I took in my sophomore year, SAT/ACT Prep.”

All schools have an admissions office that has someone to help you through the process of applying and almost all colleges also have a counseling service that is free and open to anyone that might need it.

“Admissions offices are critical to the application process and are typically very helpful,” states Mrs. McCullough. “Students are encouraged to establish a relationship with their college’s administration office early on.”

A huge thing to remember is that students won’t always have fear and anxiety during this process. 

“Honestly, it wasn’t stressful for me at all. I always knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I was excited to take the next step after high school,” says senior Sophia Newcomer who will be attending Misericordia University majoring in Speech-Language Pathology. 

Senior Sophia Newcomer poses with a shirt of Misericordia – the college she has committed to.

If this process does give you bad feelings such as anxiety, one thing to keep in mind is the most agreed upon worst quality of applying is the waiting you have to do.

“The most stressful part of the process is waiting to hear back from your colleges, especially when they all have different due dates,” states Swisher. 

Swisher will be going to Dickinson in the fall majoring in political science and minoring in international studies. 

“The waiting! Waiting for transcripts and letters of recommendation to get sent through, waiting for your essay to finally be perfect, waiting for the acceptance letter.” Newcomer comments. 

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