Juniors Worry About College Application Process, How To Prepare

Ethan Lopez, Reporter

The college application process is a prevailing concern for juniors this year, and students are wondering what they should know to be ready for the process. 

Counselors are emphasizing the importance of junior year grades as colleges will be requiring transcripts on applications. 

When applying, the transcripts will reflect grades through junior year. Transcripts are updated at the semesters. They show grades, GPA and class rank as well as your name and address. You need to make sure your identifying information is accurate (it matches what is in ASPEN). Also, some universities require mid-year, most do not.” said James Nicklas, head of counseling, via email.

Naviance is another platform that is crucial when it comes to applying to colleges. Taft students have all used Naviance a few times, yet many still aren’t sure what it’s exact purpose is.

“Adding a college to Naviance is not applying, that is just how we send your records. You need to apply either directly to the college through their website or via the Common Application. Then we send your records through Naviance,” said Nicklas via email.

Because of the pandemic, many colleges have become test-optional for this year’s applicants. However, it is not yet clear whether these schools will continue their test-optional policies for current juniors. 

“We will have to wait and see what universities communicate to us for the 2021-2022 application season,” said Taft counselor Melissa Gallagher via email.

A school being test optional affects the factors that are sought after in applicants.

“What test optional means is that college/universities do not require your SAT score for admissions. What these schools will look at are your GPA, the classes that you have taken, your essay or personal essay and the letters of recommendation that you provide,” said Gallagher via email.

The SAT, however, is being handled differently this year from other years. 

“The SAT has been difficult to coordinate for students this year because of the pandemic. The school has been testing students in smaller groups, spread out in around the building to accommodate students that opt to take the test,” said Taft counselor Michael Howe via email.

Information regarding the SAT is distributed by Principal Mark Grishaber, but some may not know where exactly to find it.

 “It’s very important for students to read their email announcements from Mr. Grishaber each week, because a lot of the information about testing is included in these weekly emails. If students don’t read them, they might not sign up in time and miss out on their preferred time to take the test,” said Howe via email.

Despite counselors knowing the ins and outs of the college application process, juniors are still feeling lost and in need of guidance and direction. 

“I have nothing ready for my application, I don’t know anything that I need for sure yet other than like a FAFSA, no one has helped me out I just figured I’d come to that when the time comes,” said junior Alanna Volkman via text.

The confusion regarding college seems to be shared among other juniors as well.

 “I do not have anything ready for applications, I have a vague idea of what I need,” said junior Ella Leon via text.

Juniors who feel underprepared for the college application process should reach out to their counselors to find out what they can do to be more prepared, as well as check their email for messages from Grishaber.