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Navigating the College Application Process

Anika Madan ’24 Lead Features Editor
Fall has officially arrived on the hill: afternoon highs in the mid-60s, apple cider donuts in the cafe — and college applications for seniors. For insight and advice into the fall application experience, the Razor reached out to members of the Class of ’24 and Hopkins College Counseling Office.
Fall has officially arrived on the hill: afternoon highs in the mid-60s, apple cider donuts in the cafe — and college applications for seniors. For insight and advice into the fall application experience, the Razor reached out to members of the Class of ’24 and Hopkins College Counseling Office.

In a joint response, theCollegeCounseling Office advised seniors to compartmentalize: “As much as possible, don’t talk about college with your friends. Your process is your process, and it is not helpful to compare and evaluate anyone else’s application plans.” To this, Angelina Li ’24 says, “Many students know this, yet find it difficult to abstain from their own curiosity.” According to Lee, “Comparing yourself to your peers is the tempting option, but avoiding this definitely makes the process less stressful.”

What about those probing questions from friends, family, and members of the community? Director of College Counseling Erika Chapin has the following advice: “Inquiring minds want to know, but it’s really none of their business. I often advise students to tell others that their college counselor (me) said they couldn’t talk about their plans with other people.”

With early application deadlines approaching and workloads piling up, just keeping afloat can be a challenge, counselors acknowledge. The team advises “[trying] to work on your tasks in the order that they are due so that you can keep up with the workload this fall.” Rijul Mukherjee ’24 says that, “Doing the applications and writing the essays isn’t difficult, but it’s certainly very tedious.” Mukherjee allows that schoolwork, “has made it difficult to find time to work on applications.”

Counselors also offered insight on the reversal of Affirmative Action, a new factor this fall application season. According to the team: “This process has always been about having seniors tell their stories, so that hasn’t changed at all. The process for the colleges hasn’t changed, either, in that college admissions offices are still
committed to the same ideals of creating diverse learning communities on their campuses.” For this reason, students should feel comfortable “[taliking] about their lived experience and its importance and influence in their lives.”

Mukherjee sees the reversal of Affirmative Action as a positive: “There are many people like me who are competing for spots in colleges and this made it harder for other parts of my application to stand out,” he says. “I am hopeful that I will be seen beyond just my racial identity and my true interests and ideas will be considered.”

Counselors also stressed the importance of maintaining an open mind. “One of the biggest misconceptions about the application process is that there is only one college ... where each student can be happy,” the counselors note. “This just isn’t true. There are so many different places where each individual student can be happy and thrive!” Matthew Segal ’24 concurs: “It’s absolutely possible that there are multiple ‘right’ schools for students, and I think a big part of applicants’ jobs is making sure that they’d be happy at any of the ones they apply to.”

After early applications, according to Chapin, seniors should “take a short break and then turn their attention to their Regular Decision plans.” Chapin says, “Seniors should not wait until Winter Break to complete those applications if necessary. Beyond that, seniors should try NOT to think about college for a little while and enjoy their time at Hopkins!”
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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