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Lily Yaus


At the start of senior year, students all around the country are preparing to fill out their college applications to local colleges and universities including some of the most prestigious schools in the world. Around this time, many students scramble to gather all the necessary information to build a portfolio. This may feel overwhelming for students who aren’t sure where to start on college applications. But do not fret, there are many ways to approach building your very own. 

Student participation and academics play a major role in college admissions for many schools. As a student, it is very important to maintain grades while being outside the classroom. Courses such as AP (Advanced Placement) and the IB (International Baccalaureate) are great opportunities for students. At Seminole High School, these courses are offered to all students. The benefits include boosted GPA and an opportunity for college credit. Student participation in these courses will show commitment and challenge to taking on college level courses to prepare. Choosing classes and programs that benefit students in the future are great ways to acquire the essential knowledge needed to enter their intended major. 

Julia Menezes, SHS IB senior, states: “it is so important to have a common thread going through college applications. For example, if you want to study something in STEM, make sure your resume reflects that with STEM based APs/IB classes, extracurriculars that are STEM based, etc.” Menezes is a student in the IB program and believes showing passion is an important trait to consider in applying even outside of class. “Conducting research at a lab or doing internships are possibilities to explore and discover about yourself along the way.” 

To demonstrate these skills, college essays often require students to share personal experiences or challenges they have faced, as well as their thoughts and perspectives on various topics. This allows college admissions officers to see a student’s unique perspective, creativity, and critical thinking abilities. However, not all students excel at writing or feel comfortable sharing their personal thoughts and experiences. This is why it is important for colleges to also consider other factors, such as extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation, to get a well-rounded view of each applicant.

Alejandra Elizabeth, SHS senior, states: “writing your common app essay during the summer before your senior year can allow students to get an idea on what writing style [they have] while also having variety for students to choose from.” Colleges seek students’ experiences and passions shared from pieces of writing within the  student’s application Elizabeth continues further: “I did this and found out I like to write metaphorically, and helped me with supplements. My advice to students is to keep those recycled essays to save time, and not be afraid to put yourself out there and apply to reach when it may seem impossible.”

In addition to writing supplements and courses, recommendation letters can highlight students’ work and personalities to possibly stand out from other applicants. By doing so, administrators gain a deeper understanding of the work of students from those whom they’ve learned and interacted with to strengthen an application. It’s best to start early so you can avoid the large number of students rushing to teachers and staff for letters and apply as soon as possible. 

This is a critical time for juniors to start planning for their future and gathering all necessary materials for their college applications. With a limited amount of time during the application season, it is important to get organized and start the process as soon as possible!

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