Staff Editorial: Seniors Nod to the Future


Illustrations by Lena An and the Public Domain

Rapunzel sings out the window of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Seniors, we have made it to the finish line. Looking back on this recent college application season, it has been one of the toughest and competitive rounds to date. Countless hours of studying, volunteering and working these past four years all feel condensed into an online application that will determine our fate after one press of the green submit button. 

The college admissions process for the class of 2022 set new precedents and records for the application process, but none of which helped students get accepted. According to CollegeApp, application rates increased by 10% this year, following a 10% increase for the class of 2021 and, marking an increase of over 150% in the last 20 years.  At the outset of the pandemic, many standardized testing appointments were canceled, which prompted the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) system to change their standardized testing policy to “test-blind” in May 2020. Because of these policies, which were emulated by many private and state schools across the country, the class of 2022 had to decide whether or not to submit their test scores. 

This recent removal of the standardized testing requirement from many college admissions requirements sent a powerful message that students should not be defined by their test scores. Both the financial burden (testing fees range from $55 to $85 each and tutoring courses cost much more) and academic pressure to score well colored the application season. If you scored well and received a college acceptance, congratulations. If not, take heart: many colleges have since recognized the biased nature of the tests and the impracticality of requiring them. The LA Times reported CSUs calling standardized tests “biased and of little value,” and member of the board of trustees, Diego Arambula noted that, “the issue of SATs and ACTs has overwhelmed students and families for a long time.” In five years, standardized testing may well be a thing of the past. Standardized testing is merely one measure of intelligence (or, more accurately, one’s test-taking skills). Though the omission of testing as part of the application process created some stressful decisions, one’s performance on a standardized test has miniscule, if any, relevance beyond high school.  

Colleges should take action towards completely redefining the college admissions process. Transparency is by far the biggest change colleges need. Most colleges use a holistic admission process, which allows students to get the credit they deserve for their extracurricular activities. However, colleges leave little explanation for which students they are looking for. Most of the time, there is not one test score, grade point average (GPA) or number of extracurricular activities that students can use to determine their chances of admission. 

High school students face a lot of pressure during the college admissions process because colleges evaluate students based on a few numbers and essays, rather than who they actually are and why they would be a good fit. The stress about the future can be damaging for students at Woodbridge. 

Senior Sai Gattu looks back to his earlier years in high school now with hindsight and claims he wishes he could have been less worried about his future and more focused on his interests. “If I could tell my past high school something, I would tell myself to take account of having less stress and trying to do more activities that bring interest to what shapes who I really am,” Gattu said. 

When looking to the future, it is important that students realize that while focusing on academics is important, that a college decision is not the end-all-be-all. 

“I know that college decisions have been very stressful for most of the students this year, especially for the high competitiveness from different schools, but it is important to take note that it’s not the end of the world for not being able to pursue [a certain college] for the future,” Gattu said. “Students should not give up their dreams just because of not being able to enroll in their dream college. There are many possible avenues that can be considered.”

Post high school paths include, but are not limited to, attending a four year college, community college, trade school, a gap year and more. While doing well in school is important, our college rejections are not what defines our potential. 

Seniors, the next few years should be focused on our growth as people and in our careers. As we enter adulthood, many of us will be figuring out different paths, whether that includes a college education or not. After graduation, Warriors should carry a handful of hope to persevere through whichever academic and professional obstacles await us in the future.