The Anatomy of the Application

Seniors describe experiences with college admission process


Liya Patel, Staff Writer

Essays. Test scores. GPA. Sound familiar? That is because these are some of the many components that make up the college application process. 

While it might be the year to signify the end of one’s high school career, a large majority of senior year is dedicated to preparing for the next step: higher education. 

This year, many students were able to get a head start on certain components that needed to be completed: deciding on whether or not to submit test scores, determining the best way to navigate through applications and discovering what schools had to offer.

With the extra time that became available from the pandemic, many Blue Valley seniors found creative ways to volunteer, learn about schools and take a leap toward life after high school, all while learning some note-worthy lessons along the way. 

Unlike most, senior Parker Oliver had her heart set on where she intended to spend the next four years after graduation. 

“I only applied to Kansas State,” she said. “I have always wanted to go there.”

During the fall of 2020, Oliver completed the steps of her application through both the CommonApp and K-State’s website.

“It was actually pretty easy to navigate,” she said. “Both [of the applications] had easy instructions and I was able to just submit what was needed without any problems.”

Having had the opportunity to choose to submit test scores, Oliver decided to do so because of “the scholarship opportunities.”

“You can get so much money, even if you don’t think your scores are high enough,” she said. 

Now, weeks away from graduating and months away from starting her college career, Oliver advises future seniors to “weigh your options and not get stressed out easily.”

“Everyone is going through the same thing,” she said. “It will always work out in the end.”

Similar to Oliver, senior Maya Williams had a set plan on where she intended on going after high school. 

“I applied to the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arkansas,” Williams said. “I chose these schools because they are both close to home but still far away.”

Because Williams applied to more than one school, she discovered certain schools only allow you to apply a certain way.

“I had to use both the CommonApp and the school sites,” she said. “Both of the schools needed me to do extra essays that could only be done on those platforms depending on the school.” 

After finishing up her applications, Williams discovered she “did not like the common application because it asks you a lot of questions that are super unnecessary.”

Williams has made the official decision to pursue a business degree at the University of Arkansas. 

Alongside most of the class of 2021, Williams learned many things from applying to college. 

“It is definitely stressful,” she said. “If I had to give advice to those who are going to be applying to schools next year, I would say to consider everything and not be too hard on yourself. Make the most out of everything — even college applications.”