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The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

Applying to College: (Not) As Stressful As You Think

Some advice from the Class of ’24 on the application process
There is a lot to think about and organize when it is time to apply. But there is help at every turn.

Fall is often known as the season of change, growth, and maturing. This is the case for Chamblee’s class of 2024 as they prepare for what is awaiting them after high school. For the students planning on going to college, the most crucial step that many have already taken, or are currently in the process of doing so, is college applications.

“Yes, [I am planning on going to college]. I’ve applied to University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, so far,” said Kai Henderson (‘24).  

College applications are much more detailed than some might think—it is a process that takes dedication and reflection. 

“I’m still in the stages of editing [my essay] and making it better, because I feel that it’s not the best writing I’ve done,” said Zafirah Ayeva (‘24). 

Time also plays a big factor in the quality of applications.

“Refining [my essay] and editing it so that it made sense and was applicable to a college application took a long time. [It took me] a little over six months to finally get a good final draft,” said Sydney Grove (‘24). 

This substantial task often requires help, especially from those who are experienced in writing.  

“My multicultural literature teacher, Ms. Keathley, helped me. At the beginning of the year, she taught us how to go about the application process and she made an assignment where we had to actually work on it. That allowed me to ask her questions and get outside insight,” said Kerin Oliver (‘24).

College essay support from the ELA department helped others as well. 

“I feel like it was very straightforward; [my sister and I] had a teacher who prepared us well in junior year, Mr. Demer, who had us write our essays last semester,” said Grove. 

Many teachers know how this process can feel as they have experience with the process themselves—knowing that teachers attempt to the best of their abilities to assist their students and help them persevere through this complex and, at times, convoluted process. 

“In my AP Language class, we do a project to prepare them for the application process,” said James Demer, an English teacher at Chamblee High School. “We do most of that project in the spring. In the fall, I have them write a college application essay because you have to do that many times. You have to write that essay a lot because you write it really poorly the first time, and it takes you a long time to get better. So, I start them in the fall, that’s a full year before they even need [the essay], but I feel it is an essay that will have some real impact on their life.” 

Other students felt supported all the way from multiple adults in the school building.

“[The counselors and teachers] have supported me and helped me answer my questions and prodded me along when I get stuck,” said Nasir Harrison (‘24).

“I would say [the counselors and teachers] have been supportive. I know that many times,  especially when it comes to recommendations, they have much stuff going on, too. I get frustrated when [the counselors] don’t do stuff for me, but I know that I’m just one person, and they have so many [students], but for the most part, they’ve been good, and my family has been supportive,” said Tiller Johnson (‘24). 

While teachers and counselors are an option for advice, students can also look to those who are closest to them.

“My older brother who is in college helped me work on ways to improve my essay,” said Christopher Navarrete (’24).

Students who plan to apply to college in the future should keep in mind that helping students with their applications and essays and resumes is not put into the curriculum.

“In my class, preparing is not a standard or a requirement of the course, but we do it anyway because it is important for [the students] to do it,” said Demer. “So, I feel that I do a good job getting kids ready. Many of the problems stem from students slacking off in ninth grade because they think they are still in middle school; they pay for it later, but you only have yourself to blame.”

One way to fix that problem might be to write an essay – or several essays! – that stands out in a pile on an admissions office desk.

To make a college essay appealing to admission officers, students often try to brainstorm unique ideas.

“I was sitting in my pool one day, [and] I turned and saw a little boy jumping off the diving board. I thought to myself, ‘Wow I haven’t jumped off the diving board in so long because I have been so paranoid about what other people think about me.’ I wrote that in my Notes app, and the next day, I found a way to connect it to everything in my life,” said Shea Parker (‘24).  

The foundation of the essay should be personal to the writer. 

“The main theme of my essay is how it felt to be the only Hispanic in my AP courses. I came up with the idea because it felt like something I wanted colleges to know about me,” said Salome Espinoza (‘24).

 They should also describe why you would be a good addition to the college.

“My essay was about how going on trips with mom expanded my global view, and how that, along with how my family breaks cultural norms, has impacted me. This has made me want to make a positive impact on communities around the world,” said Ladan Abdulahi (‘24).

As it has been revealed college admission officers have a ton of applications piled on them, which can cause them to reread many essays and cause them to search for the most appealing ones.

“The biggest problem [about students writing college applications] is writing a boring essay,” said James Demer.

But if students project themselves within their writing, they’ll be able to write a complete and adequate essay.

“The focus needs to be on voice and diction choice, allowing that if the person is naturally witty and funny for that to show in the writing,” said English teacher, Adrienne Keathley. “I think that honestly, once completed and done it helps to build confidence in young seniors as writers because it’s about themselves and it’s true. By the end of it all, most of the time, it’s a very solid piece of writing.”

Although it is a lengthy process, the outcome of it is refreshing—to know that you’ve taken a large step towards your future.

“It was a struggle because whenever people talk about college essays, they’ll say you have to make it interesting to whoever is going to read it,” said Ayeva. “I was thinking of [topics] that would set me apart from other people.”

Another word of advice from those seniors completing their application this month: just start the process.

“Everything has been leading up to college applications and the end of my high school career, so there was definitely that daunting pressure going into it, but once I got started, it was fine,” said Olivia Grove (‘24). 

With prior students supporting the myth of an  intimidating and supposedly challenging application process, many students were surprised by the ease with which they could complete it. 

“I expected it to be worse than it actually was; it didn’t feel that bad because it felt like homework. People have stressed me out in the past couple of years because they talked about how stressed they were, and I was really dreading it. Still, it wasn’t as bad as I expected,” said Johnson (‘24). 

But maybe students should not stress about the process as much as they do, as even teachers recognize how superficial the college process is.

“I think everyone can get into a school where you learn and be set up for a successful life, and I don’t think going to a fancy Ivy League school is going to do all that much for you if you are already a dedicated, hardworking student. The mediocre student probably needs Harvard more than the ambitious students that could go to Georgia State University and be fine,” said Demer.

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Teresita Trujillo
Teresita Trujillo, Staff Writer
Teresita Trujillo ('25) is a junior and staff writer of the Blue & Gold. In five years, she hopes to at least travel to another country. Her three favorite things are listening to Alternative/Indie, reading, and the color black.
Addison Lyons
Addison Lyons, Staff Writer
Addison Lyons (‘26) is a sophomore and a Staff Writer of the Blue & Gold. In five years, she hopes to be in college studying for a medical degree. Her three favorite things are Taylor Swift, watching scary movies, and reading.
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