College apps: how are Ayala students handling them? 


Jessica Rios

Common App is the first step towards finishing an application for college. The Common App is used for most private schools throughout the nation.

Jessica Rios

The deadline for college applications is just around the corner and students are having some mixed emotions. Common App Early Decision and Early Action applications are due on November 1st, and UC Applications are due on November 31st. 

College is an endgame for many students as they have been preparing for this moment throughout their educational journey. From strengthening their extracurriculars to working hard to maintain their grades, students have been preparing themselves for this opportunity into their respective career pathways. Many students have been getting advice from their teachers and counselors and even watch YouTube videos of past alumni experiences. Nonetheless, Ayala’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program has prepared its students well in the application process.

“AVID has helped me prepare for applying to college by giving me an early idea of where I want to apply to and what I want to do in life,” senior Carla Castillo said.  “It has allowed me to explore my options so I can be prepared for college eligibility and success.” 

If you are unfamiliar with AVID, it’s a nonprofit organization with an overarching goal to close the opportunity gap in education, which means helping first-generation students attend college. Part of the curriculum is simplifying the college application process for students by providing opportunities such as field trips to college campuses and assigning projects that involve general research on colleges and the programs they offer. 

“Field Trips to Cal Baptist and UCI have been such a help. I’m applying to them this year and the fact that AVID has given me the opportunity to visit those college campuses is helpful because I was able to see the type of environment, size, and population of the college,” senior Jazmin Ontanon said.

By having first-hand experience interacting with alumni of the college they are visiting, AVID students are able to gain personal insight into how life is like on campus or where the most popular places to eat are. Regarding academics, college students also discuss how many hours they study a week or what their major is. Hence, AVID is a tremendous help to students who don’t have family or connections that could grant knowledge on what college is like or how to pursue your career afterwards. 

As for Ayala’s seniors who are not in AVID, there are many mixed feelings regarding college applications. Some feel they’re comfortable as they began applications in the summer and are therefore confident in their submissions. Others feel stressed because they’ve procrastinated on asking for letters of recommendation from teachers and are unsure of what to write for prompts. Not to mention, the fear of rejection begins to kick in when one is applying. 

“The UC application deadline being close has me worried,” senior Angela Khadour said. “I have always wanted to pursue my academic goals at UC but with acceptance rates being lower, I’m worried that my application won’t stand out from others.”

The competition pool when it comes to applying to schools in the University of California system becomes rigorous as their colleges are known for academic excellence and their groundbreaking research programs. If you’re ambitious to attend them, you should try applying regardless as your personal essays of embodying your uniqueness could be a helpful factor in acceptance. 

On the other hand, if you are currently still constructing your college list or are having second thoughts about what colleges to apply to, some seniors of Ayala have made it their mission to help provide advice.

“I would say apply to eight to 12 schools and apply to at least one private, one community college, and one university. A combination of safety, reach and target schools,” senior Angelina Sun said. “Start your applications as soon as possibledo your research, if the school requires letters of recommendation, you should contact your teachers one month prior.”

When constructing your college list, take note of college application fees. For example, UC application fees are $70. If you’re on a budget, be mindful of what colleges you are passionate about attending, not just for its academic reputation, but student life as well.