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Curating College Applications

For many years, students across the country have worked tirelessly to summarize their lives into a short, 650 word statement. But how do these students do this on top of a rigorous course load, extracurricular activities, service, and teacher recommendations? Stressed out over my own college applications, I decided to seek some words of wisdom […]

For many years, students across the country have worked tirelessly to summarize their lives into a short, 650 word statement. But how do these students do this on top of a rigorous course load, extracurricular activities, service, and teacher recommendations?

Stressed out over my own college applications, I decided to seek some words of wisdom from a couple of CB’s incredible college counselors, Mr. Kirk Purdy and Mrs. April Melarkey.

But how do you even decide what schools you want to apply to? Mrs. Melarkey stresses balance.

“We encourage students to apply broadly,” she says. “We don’t want only target schools, but we also don’t want too many safety or reach schools.”

Mr. Purdy is concerned about high levels of stress among college applicants.

“Through the years we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of schools people apply to, which adds to the stress level. I think people are adding way too many schools, Especially with private colleges and the supplemental question — it adds a lot to the stress.”

The counselors want students to get into their top colleges, but it is important to have safety schools in case scholarships or financial aid do not work out. However, keep in mind that both Mrs. Melarkey and Mr. Purdy believe that a student should only apply to schools that he or she wants to go to. They highly advise against applying to schools simply because of a free application or a shot in the dark school.

Some juniors and underclassmen hear about the process, and in turn, stress about their own futures. Luckily, the counselors recognize this concern and have plenty of resources to get underclassmen prepared for their senior year.

Mrs. Melarkey recommends “doing well in school, especially as a junior. Take advantage of everything Christian Brothers and the greater community have to offer. Try to hone in on who you are as a person, and what your interests are. Honoring who you are and what you want to pursue will help you form the decisions that you are going to make as a senior.”

Mr. Purdy advises “spending time during the summer doing the homework given by the counselors and researching potential schools through the scattergrams on family connection.”

Finally, the counselors have some harsh words of advice to get seniors on top of their applications.

“Failing to prepare can limit your choices,” Mrs. Melarkey warns. “It’s your future, that’s your ticket to the next step in your life, and I think that deserves some forethought.”

Mr. Purdy urges students to see a counselor right away.

“We are here to help with any information they might need or to get them unstuck if there’s an emotional thing going on,” he says. “The longer you go without getting it done, the more stress you get.”

One thing I learned through talking to the counselors is that they want students to get into their top schools. They are always available to edit college essays and provide resources for peer tutoring, volunteer service, and extracurricular ideas. Mr. Purdy suggests working on your applications a little bit at a time.

“When you have extra time on the weekends, do it step by step, then it becomes a lot easier rather than waiting and being overwhelmed by the stress.”

If you have any questions, or need a pep talk, feel free to reach out to our amazing counselors because they are always willing to help.

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