Seniors’ college lists vary in length due to a variety of factors

December 3, 2019 — by Selena Liu and Kevin Sze

After most early-decision and early-action college deadlines came and went on Nov. 1, many seniors are now halfway complete with the college application process and are finishing college essays for their regular decision schools.

Senior Prosper Chiu, who is applying to 14 colleges in total, including the combined University of California application, says he has been much less busy writing essays after submitting all his early-decision and early-action applications.

“Right now my workload is not that much, since I have fewer colleges on my plate. I mainly just have UCs and four other colleges to complete,” Chiu said. “Personally, this semester, I don’t think I had that stressful of a time compared to other students, mainly because I finished most of my applications in the summer.”

According to a Facebook poll of 53 respondents, this year’s seniors are applying to an average of 18 schools, including combined application schools counted individually. One person applying to a number of schools on the larger side of the spectrum is senior Chris Feng, who is applying to a total of 33 colleges, including UC schools.

Feng, who is applying to many private universities in the U.S. News top 20 colleges list, as well as many British universities, has been on a tight essay-writing schedule for most of the semester, writing essays for an average of two schools per week. He said that his decision to apply to so many schools was largely inspired by his college counselor.

“My college counselor convinced me that if I apply to every single top 20 school, the probability of getting rejected by all of them is pretty small,” Feng said. “I would want to attend all the colleges I applied to if I got in, so I thought I would just give it a shot to apply to all of them.”

However, Feng said that his workload this semester has been “pretty terrible,” and he notes how hard it is to balance writing essays with maintaining his grades for first semester.

Senior Cameron Chow is on the opposite side of the application spectrum, choosing to only apply to three colleges this semester, including combined applications and one private school. Chow said that he is applying to very few schools mostly because of financial reasons.

“Application fees and school tuition are both expensive. The schools I’m applying to are mainly safeties, so if I do get in, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a big scholarship,” Chow said. “I also didn’t apply to many colleges because I’d be applying to a lot of schools that I didn’t want to go to anyway.”

Even though Chow, Feng and Chiu have all approached the college application process in different ways, all three of them feel that the semester has become less stressful now that they have submitted their early applications.

“Writing the essays was definitely the most challenging part of the whole process,” Feng said. “But now that most of first semester has passed, I’m only looking forward to the future.”

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