Senior year has often been described as the end of an era: a time when everything you’ve known for the past twelve years comes to an end. It signals that high school is over, friends will move away for college and a new level of independence is achieved.
Many people go into their last year of high school with the impression that school will be less stressful than college applications. But for some people, including Senior Fred Larsen, who has seen a drastic increase in his workload, that assumption is the opposite of reality.
“Both junior year and senior year I have taken what I think is a pretty typical course load for people who want to challenge themselves, so for me that was four AP classes both years… In addition to writing college essays, this year has been more difficult than I expected and I think there are misconceptions about senior year in this school,” he said.
ForwarDirections, a college counseling service, made estimates for the amount of time it takes to apply to college as a high school senior. They reported that gathering information for your application can take 10-20 hours, completing one application takes around two hours and writing essays can take between 10 to 20 hours among other factors. In total, the program estimated that applying to college can take high school seniors up to 200 hours depending on how many applications they complete.
Senior Toby Meng-Saccoccio identified college applications as one of the main stressors of senior year, making it comparable to the pressure in junior year.
“I think with college apps and everything, even if I didn’t take a somewhat heavier schedule and if there wasn’t this pressure to keep up rigor so colleges still want you, it’s just as hard as junior year, even worse,” he explained.
However, a difficult course load and time-consuming college applications don’t encompass all of high school. For many students, their last year of high school is a time when they can take classes that truly interest them, rather than worry about fulfilling requirements. Eleanor Clark explained how her senior year has allowed her to enjoy her courses more than last year.
“I also really like my classes a lot more because the only thing I needed to graduate was my math and english credit so I’m getting to take all other classes that I really like to take and even my math and english classes I enjoy,” she said.
Aside from college applications and schoolwork, there’s a narrative that senior year is the last year to spend quality time with family and friends. Meng-Saccoccio identified the struggle that he has faced with the emotional aspect of his senior year.
“You want to spend time with the people you care about but at the same time you have this mountain of stuff to do that you’re also trying to tackle,” he said.
But some CHS seniors, such as Ximena Salem, look at the situation differently.
“I think it’s going to be sad once we get closer to graduation because right now I feel like it hasn’t hit me yet that I’m leaving and it’s going to be over soon,” she said.
From starting kindergarten at FPG or Scroggs to graduation in the Dean Dome, senior year is the culmination of the past 12 years of our lives. The last year of high school brings different emotions to everyone, yet we are all connected by the past four years lived out in this community.