Facing future pathways: Seniors grapple with pressures of college


Avalon Nash, Staff Writer

College or no college? This is the question that looms over seniors forced to confront their futures. For some, the answer is clear, but for many it is a reckoning of uncertainty and stress. With school acceptance rates shrinking each year, getting into college feels more competitive than ever. 

To make matters more complicated, this years’ seniors face a unique challenge: determining what colleges are looking for. After the COVID era greatly reduced the importance of standardized testing in the admission process, admissions for many schools seem arbitrary, based only on GPA, applications, and sometimes personal statements. 

The push towards college is one that is increasingly felt earlier and earlier across grade levels. For the youth of today it has become harder to savor one’s childhood years. Instead, school is presented as a tool to curate a resume to get into colleges, which are so often incorrectly equated with happiness. 

Life beyond high school offers many potential routes, four year college being just one of many. Depending on the path they choose to follow, students face many different stressors.

 For senior Breeze Czapinski, who is committed to UC Davis for Division 1 collegiate volleyball, college was always a dream. Czapinski realized she could potentially be recruited as a sophomore, and for her the recruiting and visit process occurred over junior year. “The stress related to college that I’ve had to face is different from my peers. In the recruitment process, I’ve not had to worry about common apps or necessarily maintaining perfect 4.0….but there is athletic pressure to constantly perform at a high level within my sport and balance that with academics,” Czapinski said. 

College pressure is not a struggle for everyone though. Academic whiz Rohan Bosworth is proof. Despite always hoping to go to a four-year university, he has tried not to let the pressure impact his ability to enjoy the high school experience. School, as Bosworth interprets it, is more than just a road to college or a career. “I’ve realized that my time at Poway is an opportunity to get to explore things that are meaningful to me…and that I have power to seek out and realize the experience I want. It’s a matter of mindset,” Bosworth said. 

There are ways to relieve academic pressures caused by college admissions. Counselor Jerra Smith tries to encourage seniors to take advantage of the resources available to them and have a plan going into the process. “The best advice for students is to prepare and not procrastinate on admissions. A lot of the stress results from waiting until the last minute to start,” Smith said. 


The reality of college admissions is that all students are not created equal. For many, it can be a bitter time where dreams must be relinquished in the face of the realities of a system that so often fails to recognize people as individuals.