by Jeong Bin Lee
By this time of year, most seniors have already applied for their universities. As final decisions about where seniors are going next year start to be made, Warrior News interviewed a senior to learn more about her experience during the university application process.
Sneha R. in 12th grade has applied to various universities located in 5 different countries and has also already received an offer from the University of Oxford. For each university, the time it takes to receive a reply varies. For some of them, it might take only a couple of weeks while for others, it could potentially take months. “It really depends. If you are applying early to the US or to Oxbridge in the UK, you should hear back from them after a month or two. If you are applying for a regular decision to the US, it usually takes around three months.”
After the application process, when some universities start to respond and invite students for interviews, there is an option to travel with or without a family member or a guardian. Although most might assume that traveling with a family member is the finer choice, Sneha describes the benefits of traveling alone. “I think it was good that I traveled alone because I got a taste of what University life would feel like.”
ASW provides practice interviews with no set limits. Students are granted as many practice interviews as they wish, as long as time allows. According to Ms. Raggio, one of the high school counselors, most students practice from 3 to 10 times before an actual interview.
“While the interview can be stressful, it really is a way to get to know your potential future university better,” said Sneha. “It is important to not stress too much on the interview itself but enjoy the entire experience because it really is a unique one.”
In the U.S., certain universities grant higher acceptance rates and other benefits if either of the parents has attended the same university that the child applies to. These advantages for alumni children are uncommon in Europe.
“My parents knew that I wanted to go to a top university,” said Sneha, “and they supported that decision wholeheartedly. But they also wanted me to consider some scholarship schools because university is really expensive.” When asked about the expense of the tuitions and whether the costs are truly appropriate, she said, “Absolutely not. University is so expensive! It is insane!”
For Sneha, writing the essays for the U.S. applications was without a doubt the most laborious part of the application process. “Each essay took a really long time to write and the entire process was extremely draining.” She stated how her essay drafting began in early August but they dragged on until December, an experience that most students can relate to.
“I think I applied to too many Universities,” said Sneha. “When finalizing my college list, I got really stressed and applied to as many schools as I possibly could. Looking back at it, I think it was kind of overkill.” She further reflects on how she should have limited the number of schools she applied to in order to reduce the amount of stress.
This is also a very wise advice from the economic standpoint since the application fees in the US range from free to about $100 per school, according to Ms. Raggio. “Each school gets to set its own application fee,” said Ms. Raggio.
Sneha was frank about the challenges of managing high school and university applications. “I am not gonna sugarcoat it: the first semester of senior year is tough. No matter how much you time-manage and not procrastinate, you still are going to be stressed and overwhelmed. I think the best advice I can give you is that complaining helps. This is a bit unconventional but the only reason I got through the university process was that I was able to talk to my family, counselor, and friends about all the stress I was undergoing.”