Why popping the question: “So, where are you applying to college?” isn’t the best idea


The Catalyst / Natalie Beier

Seniors review their college essays in an English class.

“So, how are college applications going?” is the excessively asked question that high school seniors know all too well.

Many of them will agree that the formula is as follows: enter a conversation, get asked some variation of “So, where are you applying to college?”, robotically rattle of college names, make a joke about how stressful the process has been, and then desperately try to change the conversation topic to avoid follow-up questions and comments like, “Well, that school has a party reputation. Are you sure you want to apply there?” or “What are your SAT and ACT scores like?” or, possibly worst of all, “Which one is your first choice?” followed by “Do you really think you’d get in?”

While these questions tend to be asked by loved ones and people who have our best interests in mind, the truth is that high school students put an immense amount of stress on themselves, and the excessive questioning does more harm than help.

The college process is remarkably stressful for students because this is the time where many of us learn we may not be able to attend the school of our dreams, that our ideal school is financially out of the question, or perhaps out of every college we’ve looked at, we can’t envision ourselves anywhere.

As high school seniors, we struggle to plan the coming years of our lives, work to come to terms with our likely options, and hope that after weeks of waiting, we will get the acceptances we believe we deserve.

However, as we struggle to grapple with these stark realizations and hopes, we kindly ask that our loved ones respect our privacy during this time.

There will be instances where we want to flesh out our ideas or discuss the college process, but these conversations should be instigated by us.

The college process is a very difficult one filled with high-highs and low-lows. The best thing you can do to show that you care and support a high school senior is to let them know you are always willing to talk to them about the college process, will only voice your opinions when asked, and most importantly, will celebrate all of their acceptances with genuine elation.

As high school seniors, we have a lot on our plates and kindly ask our loved ones to refrain from talking about our college plans unless we choose to bring them up. We really appreciate your concern, but ultimately, we are the ones who will be attending university next fall and the school we choose will be the best choice for us.