‘Tis The Damn Season

Early-round college application results are released in mid-December for most universities. Entering this forthcoming stretch of acceptances and rejections, many Seniors are overwhelmed, anxious, and perhaps even excited to hear back from where they sent their applications weeks ago. With this heightened apprehension, it’s safe to say now is a tense season on campus. 

To the Class of 24 and prospective college applicants of the class of 25, the message that the college application process does not sum up your value as an individual is hackneyed but wise. Though the college process aspires to thoroughly review each applicant, this is simply not practical with the volume of applications each institution receives. Colleges do not know you personally and they reasonably cannot. They do not know what kind of person you are on a daily. They do not know all the highs, lows, and personal growth in your life. The things that you personally value is not what’s always displayed as an application. Colleges see many important aspects of your application, but that does not necessarily equate to colleges seeing important parts of your true self. Admitting the college process to be what it is, we can acknowledge that this process does not define our successes in life nor does it define us as people.

As for the interpersonal aspect of college season, it is imperative for everyone––freshmen to seniors––to know that college is an individual, deeply personal process. It should never be gossip material for others to whisper about. Just as other topics are sensitive, each student’s college process follows suit, though this fact is often not regarded as such due to its prevalence on campus. We know that Andover is an inherently competitive school, but that should not come at the expense of respect for our peers’ boundaries, especially when it comes to the subject of college. 

When speaking about college, please consider the comfort of the one applying for college. The college admissions process is challenging in ways those outside cannot appreciate. As such, those who aren’t applying to college encroach on a Senior’s right to determine when and if they are ready to delve into topics regarding the emotionally charged time that is college application season. If a Senior does decide to talk about their college application experience, allow them to dictate how and when they do so. Despite having the best intentions, comments like, ‘Oh, you’ll get in,’ can heighten anxiety and add extra pressure when receiving decision letters. Of course, what the Senior is comfortable with is case-by-case for each relationship, but typically, just being an active listener is enough. 

While we talk about how to comfort the part of campus applying, the best and more long-term solution is to reframe college in a different light. College decisions, although they provide some sort of acceptance or rejection, are by no means a reflection of anyone’s worth. We must make an active effort to avoid making comparisons or judgments about anybody based on their college decisions. The hard work, character, and achievements cannot simply be condensed or diminished to a single decision. 

Applying for college is an inevitable experience for Andover students and has always been notorious for its emotional strain and potential for toxicity. Though there is a lot out of the control of Seniors, we can all control how we act towards each other. Prioritizing mutual respect for yourself and others is a great place to start. 

So, here’s to a season of kindness, understanding, and a future filled with endless possibilities. Good luck, Class of 24 and prospective applicants of the Class of 25—may your journeys be as unique and extraordinary as each one of you.