What’s the hardest part about applying to college?

by Grace

No surprise here.  Students think the standardized tests are the hardest part about applying for college, but parents seem more focused on the challenge of paying for college.




Other survey results can be found at “College by the Numbers, A Statistical Look at College Costs, Financial Aid and More”.


Christina Lourosa-Richardo, “College by the Numbers”, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 21, 2014.


5 Comments to “What’s the hardest part about applying to college?”

  1. Our experience was different—the hardest part for my son was clearly the essay writing for admissions, though researching and visiting colleges took a fair amount of time. Taking the exams was fairly easy.


  2. I suspect your son aced the tests. 🙂

    What was hard about essay writing? Trying to find the best way to share his “authentic” self? Essays can be hard.

    I thought the research and deciding was probably the hardest.


  3. Still have a few more years before we face this. When I did it back in the dino days, the hardest part was the financial aid form. Deciding was easy – I always knew I would go to Dreadful State U, unless I got enough financial aid to make another school cheaper. One large university, a much better school, stepped up to the plate, so that is where I went.


  4. The essays are hard for many reasons: he is a private person, not generally interested in sharing his triumphs or his troubles, but many of the prompts call for “self-reflection” or outright bragging; many of the prompts are extremely lame, apparently designed to irritate any thinking person; arbitrary size limitations made it difficult to answer some questions in the short space provided, while stupid questions gave lots of room; he often suffers from writers’ block, particularly when the prompts are too rigid and uninteresting; …

    He got through the essays, but gave up his entire winter break to do them. It is not clear that any of this time was well spent.


  5. CSProfMom — Yeah, deciding is easy if you don’t have many choices.

    gasstation — I hear you on all that self-reflection bit. One of my kids wrote (too?) succinctly, and I didn’t think he shared enough of himself. But his guidance counselor thought it was fine, and she was probably right.


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