Does early action mean early stress

By Michael Karlis


Everyone at HHS knows where they will attend their freshman year at college, or, that’s what it feels like to students.

Acceptance into college can be exciting for high school seniors but the rise early decision (ED) and early action (EA) paired with social media have increased the level of stress among students.

“I didn’t apply early but all my friends did, and I feel kind of out of place,” senior Megan Herlihy said. “Seeing all the posts on Facebook about who got in where makes it worse.”

ED and EA are a fairly new phenomena. It gives students the opportunity to know earlier and plan accordingly. In an elite high school like HHS, students feel pressured to apply EA or ED rather than regular decision.

“I think the school pressures you to apply early,” senior Rachel Macintosh aid. “Junior year, you have to take a guidance seminar, and the guidance counselor hints that you need to have your materials ready earlier. They say that you need to have recommendation letters ready by the end of junior year. They expect you to apply EA or ED here. I think it’s just part of the culture at this school.”

Some students applying regular decision feel singled out by their peers.

“I have definitely been judged by people,” senior Alex Kravets said. “This one girl said to me that it must suck not to know where I am going to college and whether I was applying late so I could get my grades up. People who apply early think they’re better than people who didn’t.”

EA and ED applications, paired with parents boasting on social media about their kids accomplishments, have created a toxic environment for students at HHS. However, the majority of the students haven’t posted acceptance letters on Facebook- the parents appear to be the problem.

“I think it’s fine if you post or your parents post where you are going, but to post about every school you got into? That’s just annoying,” senior Jon Katz said.

Senior Erin Webb faced this dilemma with her mother.

“My mom has posted every acceptance letter everywhere,” Webb said. “It’s her Facebook, but sometimes it’s a little uncomfortable because I feel like I don’t want everyone she’s friends with to see where I got in and where I didn’t. Her friends know what schools I applied to, and if she posts every school I got into, then they know which ones I didn’t get into to. It’s annoying.”

For this reason, some students, such as Senior Colette Fritsche, have decided to keep their parents out of the process.

“My mom knows where I applied, but I keep most of the process to myself. I got into my top school but neither I, nor my parents, have posted anything,” Fritsche said.

The culture of parents posting results to social media has increased anxiety among those who haven’t heard back and those who did not apply early.

Senior Will Griffin said, “When parents post all the schools their kids got into I feel behind even though I’m on schedule.”

Other students said that parents have a right to be proud of their children’s accomplishments. Senior Alan Biggers, who applied early and knows what college he will be attending, said, “ I’m okay with parents posting on social media because they have a right to be proud of their kids.”

“Their parents whole life has been about getting to the moment and sending their kids to college. I don’t mind it. Parents always brag about their kids. This isn’t any different.”

The school administration is aware of the competitiveness between students at HHS and how students can feel behind even though they are on target.

Principal Evan Bishop admitted the school currently has no programs specifically geared towards seniors in regards to college stress.

“We try to focus on stress as a whole, that’s why we have implemented homework free weekends, distress week, and no homework over long breaks,” Bishop said. “We are always open to to suggestions from seniors.”