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Guest opinion: Finding a college can be stressful
Guest columnist

By Amanda Saunders.

Researching and applying to colleges is a large part of senior year for many high schoolers. Between finding colleges with affordable tuition, a fitting GPA range, and sending standardized test scores, it is all too much. Over the weekend, I had to be at the high school at 7:45 in the morning to take the SAT. COVID having affected standardized test requirements for the previous school year pushed me into a corner with college admissions this year.

In the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year, I applied to Augusta University as a dual enrollment student for the 2021-2022 school year. Following my acceptance, I have taken classes online. As the school year started and October drew nearer, I began receiving emails from colleges in and out of state, offering various scholarship opportunities, no application fee, quick admissions decisions, optional standardized test score submission, etc. However, Augusta University, the school I am currently enrolled at, is no longer score optional. Upon discovering this, I had to register for the soonest date for an SAT. Not only did scrambling to sign up for a sooner test date shorten the amount of time I had to relearn the math from freshman year to the present, but it also did not meet the deadlines for the college application.

Soon after going through all of that hassle, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The number of emails tripled, and I began receiving paper mail from colleges with more offers.

To continue with the narrative, we have to jump back to the first semester of freshman year. I had a healthcare class, and for an assignment, I wrote about a healthcare profession that I wanted to pursue and the education requirements. The other part was to research colleges I could receive the education at. Mercer University was the top school I wanted to go to in order to become an emergency room physician.

Fast forward to November of this year, Mercer University Office of Admissions sends me an email: no application fee, score optional, scholarship opportunities, the whole nine yards. Having been interested since freshman year, I applied and anxiously awaited an admissions decision. A key piece of information is Mercer is score optional this year. Nov. 18 rolled around, and I checked my application status at 4 in the afternoon. My heart dropped. I had been wait-listed because I did not submit test scores.

I felt many emotions at that moment, frustration that they were score optional and then held me back because I did not submit scores, but worst of all, self-hate because I did not get in. While many of my family members and friends congratulated me, I did not see what to be proud of. I simply was not good enough to get in. However, after moving past the despair, I realized there was still hope. I could have been rejected, to begin with, but the office of admissions decided I had potential and needed to prove myself further.

Both schools are awaiting my score results from the SAT, and I am awaiting decisions. I am also trying to find other colleges to apply to if nothing works out in my favor, financially or academically.

Everyone says senior year s supposed to be the best year of high school where you have the most fun, but so far, some of it has been taken away from me by COVID, and stressing about what is next for my education and path in life has drained some of the fun out.

Amanda Saunders is a senior at Richmond Hill High School and an intern at the Bryan County News.

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