Stressing Seniors Race To Meet College Deadlines

Jacqueline Glenn, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Threats of looming college deadlines swirled around in senior McKenna Vereeke’s head: her personal statements for scholarship consideration, her first-choice major declaration, her second-choice major declaration.

After a text conversation with a friend who had already finished all of his essays, Vereeke said that she endured a “full mental breakdown.”

“I started panicking,” Vereeke said. “With all my homework from other classes being due on top of a college essay and application, it was just too much, and I broke down into tears.”

And she’s not alone. Many other seniors have a similar plight; according to Noelle Leonard, PhD, a senior research scientist at the New York University College of Nursing, students across the nation endure “chronic stress” when preparing for and completing college applications.

“School, homework, extracurricular activities, sleep, repeat—that’s what it can be for some of these students,” Leonard told

Senior Usma Rizvi said that her current stress level is about a “seven to eight out of 10.” All her college application essays are due on Nov. 1.

“[Stress] usually prompts me to work harder, but also sometimes I’ll wallow in my stress and do absolutely nothing except think about everything I have to get finished.”

Juggling her prior commitments in the midst of this process amplifies the anxiety.

“I think I’m mostly stressed out because on top of my college applications, I’m balancing schoolwork and extracurriculars,” Rizvi said. “I just really want to be able to fully concentrate on my applications to make sure they’re as perfect as I can make them.”

But Rizvi said that the pressure does produce a positive outcome: it prepares students for stress in the adult world.

“I think getting ready for college and college itself is about being able to function independently, and our meeting a stressful deadline could be compared to things we’ll have to do in the future like paying bills.”