201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


201 E Chapman Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832



Counselors should fill out college apps with seniors
Helen Sanders
Seniors look forward to January when college applications will be completed.

I camped outside FUHS counselor Erin Defries’s office during lunch for four consecutive days this month. With a peanut butter and jelly bagel in one hand and my college application on my screen, I had to go through almost every question with her. “Am I in IB Literature and Composition or just IB Literature? Is it HL or SL?” I needed to know. “Is journalism an A-G requirement?” Have to fill that in. “What’s the difference between adjusted gross income and untaxed income and benefits?” No skipping that.

I wasn’t alone in needing help. Senior Elie Chung used the code to automatically input her courses, but the code showed her enrolled in AP Chemistry. (FUHS doesn’t offer AP Chemistry.) Elie and I and—I hope—everybody else survived, thanks to Defries and the other counselors’ assistance and patience. She and they helped seniors make it to today, Nov. 30, the Cal State and UC application deadline.

But getting to that deadline was horrible. The applications’ complexities made some seniors give up entirely, saying, like, “Hey, community college is a good plan anyway.” And it is, but students shouldn’t be choosing schools based on the complexity of the application. The application process should be exciting—or, at least, approachable—not intimidating.

School officials wonder why we’re so freaked out. They say help is readily available before school, after school, during break, and during lunch. I showed up during break when someone else was already in there. I came back during lunch. Same thing. There are only four counselors for 432 seniors. College-bound seniors aren’t risking a lunch line to not get a question answered. 

The Career Center offered workshops at lunch, too, but many students didn’t know that they needed the workshops until it was too late. Mrs. Defries told me she had three students crammed into her tiny office Monday finishing applications, one for a Cal State, one a UC, and one a private school. Again, the counselors have been wonderful by making themselves available, but there is a better way.

Seniors struggle to balance responsibilities. (Helen Sanders)

We at the Tribe Tribune suggest a new process next year. Have all seniors take a class period to fill out the Cal State application with the help of a counselor.

We understand that teachers dread giving up class time, but with college applications out of the way, students will be more focused on future lessons. But what if I don’t want to go to a Cal State? It won’t hurt you to do it. Consider it practice for some other application. Besides, some eligible students might change their minds about applying if the application is completed during class. Students don’t actually have to click “send” unless they want to.

For the seniors who also want to apply for a private college or UC, they should be encouraged to use the Student Support period. Instead of counselors saying, “If you need help, come see us,” the counselors should schedule groups of about 15 UC applicants to go to the Career Center where they will fill out the UC applications together

Certainly, filling out one college application together in a classroom setting will not solve all our college application stress, but it would be a good first step. Instead of answering just my question about adjusted gross income, everybody should be told by someone who knows—like a counselor—what the application means by adjusted gross income. If teachers are willing to give up that one class period, we wouldn’t be working on college applications during AP Physics and Mrs. Defries wouldn’t think that maybe I needed more during the day than just a bagel with peanut butter and jelly.

Opinion editor Elie Chung contributed to this story.

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