Junior year horrors cannot compare to senior year nightmare

November 18, 2008 — by Elizabeth Cheng and Andy Tsao

While roaming the hallways, it’s not unusual to hear juniors complaining about their copious AP classes. “AP US History takes so much time,” they cry, “and teachers just don’t know when to stop piling on the work!”

Careful juniors—don’t go whining to the seniors. True, they’ve finished the rigors of US History and survived the torrent of exams and stress that is rumored to be junior year. But all of that is nothing, nothing compared to first semester senior year.

Senior year is hardly the slacker year younger students seem to believe it is. Most seniors take as many, if not more, AP classes than they did the previous year. The combinations are often difficult, with many doubling math or sciences. Numerous near-sleepless nights result from hours of slaving away studying and doing homework.

But tests, homework and projects aren’t the only things to worry about. The number one thing on almost every senior’s mind is college applications. Scores will be forgotten and grades mere letters, but college applications decide futures. Juniors typically do not realize the real stress of applying until they sign up for the Common App their senior year.

So what exactly is so stressful about applying? First, there’s the necessary standardized test scores that need to be sent in. True, juniors are taking the SATs, but they always know that they’ll have more chances if they’re unsatisfied. Come senior year, students are left with one, maybe two, chances to perform up to hopes.

Then, of course, there’s everyone’s favorite part: the essay. Actually, essays, to be more precise. Many schools require different prompts and even those affiliated with the Common App require supplements that essentially nullify the convenience of having a single application for many schools. Taking into consideration the number of prompts and versions of essays that will undoubtedly be written, it is common for seniors to end up writing at least 10 different essays.

Each essay also needs to be original, interesting, personality revealing and attractive to the admissions officers. By the way, there’s a 600-word limit. Wonderful, isn’t it?

So, juniors, next time you want to complain about that pesky English 11 Honors test on the same day as your English 11 Honors reading quiz, realize that the junior year workload doesn’t even come close to the senior year experience—at least until college apps are over.

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