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WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The Student News Site of West Covina High School

WCHS Insight

The tolls of academic exertion for college applications

Ashley Braunstein
Andrea Salazar accidently opens her email on Apr. 20 to view her admission acceptance letter from University of California, San Diego.

The May 1 decision day deadline has arrived; many seniors are weighing their options to see where they will commit for the next four years of their lives. According to the University of California, this past fall over 250,000 applications were submitted for review for the upcoming 2024-25 school year. That is a 1.5% increase in applications from the previous year. With acceptance rates on the decline to match the rising application rates many high school students are searching high and low for ways to set themselves apart on college applications.

Graduating high school senior Andrea Salazar admits she too fell into the pressures of college applications and deeply involved herself in her academics and extra curricular activities. She did this under the belief that it was the only way to be admitted into prestigious institutions. She took many AP courses and filled many leadership positions, which she believes were  not manageable.

“It was really unhealthy. I think it’s becoming a little bit more stressful, kind of to a point where it’s almost, like, unattainable to be able to do all these things and still be in the top group of students to compete for all these colleges,” said Salazar. 

More than unattainable, Salazar felt the pressures of being a very involved student became unhealthy. She recognized the toll long nights studying, balancing work, leading clubs, and her personal life caused her.

“It was extremely stressful. And there was a lot of like mental health effects that took a big toll on me and even though it’s doable, it’s not, you really have to like almost overwork yourself,“ said Salazar.

Juniors in Tonatzin Rodriguez’s AP English Language class sit in desks awaiting the start of their class on Apr 30.
(Ashley Braunstein)

Due to the rigorous and heavy workload many students take on in preparation for their applications, many face a new challenge, burn out. Burn out, according to the Cleveland Clinic can be emotional, physical, or mental exhaustion that causes decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes. English teacher Tonatzin Rodriguez weighed in and shared that although standards are high for students they are necessary. However, in her career she has seen some students experience burn out their senior year. The repercussions can last anywhere from a few weeks to months.

“I’ve also seen carry over into their first year of college,” said Rodriguez.

Salazar was accepted into eight out of the 10 institutions she applied to, which in her eyes made the stress of these last four years worth it. However, it is becoming evident that the academic climate of high school has changed immensely in the last few years.

“I think it’s more stressful because of how difficult and more competitive it is to get into colleges,” said Rodriguez

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