Seniors Working Hard to Get Into College


Photo by Justin Normandeau

Doing the work before it does him, Grant McNamara gets his school work completed.

This time of the year is an important and busy time of the year for many Hopkinton High School seniors as college application due dates are coming around the corner very quickly.

Seniors are busy with sports, extracurriculars, and school work, so worrying about the college application process is just another thing that gets in the way.

Kiely Murray on Computer
Photo by Justin Normandeau
School Counselor Kiely Murray working to get everything done for her students’ college applications.

School counselor Kiely Murray said doing the summer essay workshops and starting the college essay over the summer is crucial.

“Having the essay done [before school starts] is huge,” Murray said.

Murray also believes it is essential to make a plan of the process that needs to be completed.

“Lean in, find out what you have to do, and then make a plan for it.”

She recommends using weekends and days off as great days to work on the applications and get them done.

Making a plan in order to get everything finished by their deadlines and executing is what Murray suggests in order to reduce the stress that the application process brings.

Senior John Youssef, who is in the midst of the college application process right now, has his plan all set up and is “grinding” through it.

“My very first and foremost thing to do is to lay out a set of values: what I believe in, what I love,” Youssef said.

John Youssef getting work done without phone
Photo by Justin Normandeau
John Youssef getting his work done and making his friends put their phones away and get to their work as well.

Youssef set this as his main premise for planning his college essay and it helped him make time fairly manageable.

He sees the application process as an “added goal.”

Youssef added,“[the college application process] is kind of an extra on the to-do list,” and he believes that it is “a good test of time management.”

Youssef and Murray both agree that social media gets in the way of making the college application process an easy ride.

Youssef suggested when filling out the applications, put the phone down and get the work done.

Murray agreed and also mentioned not letting peers’ acceptance posts on social media cause stress.

“Do not compare yourself to other people,” Murray said.

Murray also shared that 93% of students get into at least one of their top 3 school choices, so stressing over acceptance should not be a problem.

Emily Whelan at UMass
Photo provided by Emily Whelan
Emily Whelan wearing her new UMass softball jersey at her official visit.

On the other side, senior Emily Whelan, who committed to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for softball last year, has had a relatively easy ride through the college application process.

She still has to fill out the Common Application and UMass application, but it causes little stress since she is already guaranteed an acceptance.

What brings Whelan the most stress is getting over the test score barrier for UMass, a common point of tension for many high school students.

Regarding standardized testing, Murray suggested taking the SAT or ACT at least once before junior year ends. That way, there is enough time to take it more than once and raise the grade, if desired.

Whelan’s toughest challenge was getting recruited, a process that started in eighth grade.

“If you have connections, you’re kind of set,” Whelan said.

Whelan’s club coach knew the UMass softball coach. Although the recruitment was the toughest part of her college process, it was not as hard because of her connections.

No matter what process is followed for getting into college, it is important to manage time and get it done.

Senior Grant McNamara only had one thing to share about what he believes is important about the college application process.

“Do the work before the work does you,” he said.