Taking the Stress out of the College Process

By: Sarah Danley

Facing the start of the rest of their lives, high school students are challenged with many choices concerning their future. Whether that means jumping into a career or expanding upon their education, students must face the inevitability of their changing lives. For many, this feat can become a stressful and scary task, especially without knowing what the future holds.  

“I only applied to one school through the early application process,” senior Mazzy Baxter said. “After that, it was a waiting game. I waited two months to hear back from [Penn State] so it was stressful, but luckily it worked out.” 

Plenty of college brochures can be found outside the Guidance office for students looking toward their future careers (Photo by: Sarah Danley).

 Other times, students are unsure of where they want to attend by their senior year. Senior Natalie DiCriscio, attending Shippensburg University in the fall, applied to five colleges that gave her the realistic expectation of running for their respective cross country teams.  

“Running is something I couldn’t live without, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to run in college at a more serious level,” senior Natalie DiCriscio explained.  

DiCriscio had lots of support with her decision from her coaches and classmates. Cross country coach Mr. Nathan Snider and senior Abby Sharp are “big fans” of Shippensburg University, a fact that DiCriscio knew and used to make her choice easier. 

Along with the factor of running cross country, DiCriscio also looked into factors like proximity, size of the school, and how much money each school awarded her.  

“I did a lot of college research through Niche and the College Board website,” DiCriscio said.  

Through these websites, she was able to find universities that fit what she specifically wanted. Other websites, including Fastweb, Cappex, and ADMET, can also help students find the perfect school for them.  

“All these websites are going to do the same thing by giving personalized feedback based on your criteria,” Guidance Counselor Mrs. Laura Klipa said. “ADMET is more based on the financial logistics, like what your career plan is and making sure you don’t have more debt than necessary.” 

There are many other resources for students to cut down the cost of college through high school scholarships.  

“All scholarships that Greensburg Salem gets are online, on Teams in the class pages,” Mrs. Klipa said. “Those are all scholarships that our students are eligible for.” 

Even with the help of all these resources, some students have different ways of finding the right school for them.  

Similar to DiCriscio, Baxter, who is starting at Penn State University with a major of Risk Management this fall, did not always think she would end up at Pennsylvania’s largest state school.  

“When I was younger, I didn’t want to go to Penn State because it was the basic state school, and to me, it had a bad connotation,” she said. “When I started researching into it more, I realized it had everything I wanted, with my major, student section and Mini-Thon.”  

While finding the right school can be stressful enough, another layer of stress can be added by choosing a major. Some students, like DiCriscio, decide to start school undecided and take many different classes to narrow down interests. Others have a different approach.  

“I started by figuring out what I didn’t want from a career and chose from there,” she said. “Definitely start looking at career paths. You also want to look at schools that fit what you’re interested in, not necessarily looking at the name.”  

Resources online and at school make the process of choosing the perfect school significantly easier for students by helping them learn about what kind of environment is best suited for them when it comes to furthering their education.  

“BigFuture.org finds college matches based on personality, if it meets your specific criteria, size, and type of university, like a liberal arts school,” Klipa said.  

Students now have many resources to help find the perfect school for them after high school. Ultimately, the biggest piece of advice given to high schoolers while searching for the perfect school is to pick what is right for them.  

“Don’t look at what your friends want because at the end of the day, you’re by yourself,” DiCriscio advised. “Find whatever will fulfill your needs.” 

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