Seniors Need a Day Off for College Apps!


Lila Nitta, Contributor

October and November are oftentimes the most stressful months for high school seniors. On top of school work, jobs, and extracurricular activities, many of us also spend the majority of our time completing college applications. A day off, dedicated for seniors to work on college applications, is crucial in order for us to stay on top of our work and continue the process of applying to colleges. 

According to Global Academics, students spend up to 40 hours just deciding which colleges to apply to. When it comes to writing, drafting, and editing, only two or three supplemental essays can take 30 to 40 hours. Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach, and a lawyer and legal scholar for Columbia Law School, Princeton University, the World Bank, and the American Bar Association, says, in addition, applicants need three to five weeks to finish the Common Application personal statement essay. Students start the college application process in the summer before senior year and continue working through it up until around February. It is a long and exhausting process that takes dedication and hard work. 

Many people say that junior year is the most challenging year of high school, but many students say otherwise. Tamalpais High School senior, Talia Lazerwitz is currently taking four AP classes and one Honors class. She said, “Entering senior year I realized I was getting pushed much more than I was junior year.” She believes it should not be only one day off, but maybe even a whole break dedicated to doing college applications. Talia said, “I have noticed that before and on the deadline dates there are a ton of kids absent from my classes.” This only adds to our workload and furthers our stress levels, taking away more time critical to our application process. 

As students get older, naturally they take on more responsibilities. This includes jobs, family obligations, sports, and more homework. All of these things reduce the amount of time available to write college essays and complete applications. The weekends only get busier as students are forced to prioritize loads of homework they are receiving, on top of sports games taking up a good chunk of time. The two-day weekend is simply not enough time to complete the amount of work seniors have. 

Teachers also need additional time to help students during the application process. Mr. Ortiz, a math teacher, has been teaching at SRHS for thirteen years. “Yes, seniors need a day off as well as teachers,” he said. “We need more time to complete recommendations.” 

San Rafael High School senior Trey Skieresz is applying to fifteen colleges while also enrolled in four AP and Honors classes. He said, “Teachers have no remorse for the stress college applications bring.” Trey, as well as most other seniors, is struggling to balance school work with applications. He is lucky enough to have help from family and a college counselor, which many students at SRHS do not have. Trey suggested a day off of classes and homework where seniors can go to the student commons to work on their essays. College counselors along with English teachers could be there to support the students and provide assistance. This would ensure a productive and beneficial work day. 

Not every student would take this day off to be productive with their college applications, but many could use it as a day to destress and take a brain break. Even seniors not applying to a four-year university deserve a day to relax and catch up on missing work. Senior year is still extremely stressful with the workload and worrying about plans for after graduation. Martha Sanchez, Co-Sports Editor on RubicOnline, discussed a day off implemented at St. Paul Academy in Minnesota that allowed seniors the chance to get their applications done before the early action and decision deadlines. Some seniors used this day to their benefit whether that meant working on applications or taking a mental break from all the stress that comes with the first semester of senior year. It does not have to only be a day for actually doing the college essays, but can also be a day dedicated to relaxing and resting before we have to get back to all our work. 

Most schools in Marin County do not take a day off for seniors, but Marin Catholic and Marin Academy are the very few schools that do. Marin Academy senior Mercer Yee is applying to eleven colleges while also taking three Honors classes. “The day off was really helpful,” he said. “I was able to get a lot done but also just relax for a bit which was much needed.” Mercer was able to complete a couple of applications on his day off. 

While Marin Academy received one day off, Marin Catholic had three days off. Marin Catholic senior Zelle Walker is taking two AP classes and two Honors classes. “Yes, the break was very helpful,” she said. “I completed applications because we did not have school work.” Zelle explained that MC provided their students with college counselors who assisted the students over the break. They went over essays, held seminars, and provided writing workshops to ensure each student was on top of their applications. 

Thanksgiving break occurs at a perfect time as the end of November deadlines approach. It is a great opportunity for students to have seven days to focus on their applications, but, unfortunately, the seniors at SRHS are unable to do so. With this week off, teachers take the opportunity to assign a tremendous amount of homework. The days students are not spending quality time with their family and friends for Thanksgiving, they have to spend doing all of the school work. At Marin Academy, teachers are not allowed to give their students homework over the break, allowing them to focus solely on their college work. 

Seniors not only deserve a break, but we need one. It is extremely difficult for us to finish applications with all of the other things we have going on in our lives. After school is simply not an option as we spend that time doing homework and attending sports practice. The same goes for weekends. A day off or maybe even a few days off should be implemented to give seniors the time we need to complete our college applications, which are impacting our future.