College sucks life out of seniors

Private counselors, test prep programs profit from confusion

By Anastassia Dardenne


eniors dream about it, think about it, talk about it, cry about it. It is college, and it is quickly approaching. Early Action deadlines aren’t far off, leaving seniors confused, stressed and anxious about the increasingly complex and competitive process of applying to college.

Many turn to private college counselors and SAT/ACT test programs to maximize their chances, feeding an ever-growing industry that revolves around college.

Senior Lauren Lowe is one of the seniors who has taken on the Herculean task of college applications without the help of private college counselors.

“I feel kind of overwhelmed, I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and if I’m behind or not,” Lowe said.

A growing number of students that do hire college counselors or take test prep classes feel a similar way, according to college counselor Mary Lund.

Though the increasing number of tutoring places in the Silicon Valley seems to speak to their effectiveness, Lund said she sees few results in the trend.

Seniors feel more pressure every year during the college application season
Photo by Anastassia Dardenne

Lund sits in her office in the College and Career Center and with a warm chuckle, jokes about the true intentions of these businesses.

“Everybody wants your money,” Lund said. “It’s one of those things where if we pay the money then we’ll do good preparation for it but anything to me is available for free.”

Christy Heaton, a government teacher in the History Department, said she shares similar views to those of Lund.

“Everybody hopefully gets some sort of help and guidance, Heaton said. “There’s definitely a big divide between the people that know what resources are available to them and the people that don’t know what resources are available to them.”

Besides the overwhelming amount of information that parents, friends and teachers throw daily at seniors, other obstacles are facing the class of 2019. Due to an increase in population and an unquenchable thirst for more applicants, colleges are becoming even more competitive, reducing the acceptance rate from slim to zero.

Luckily for this year’s underclassmen, Lund doesn’t see it getting any harder.