Early Action Consumes All


Jackie Cannon, Contributor

Senior year is a time of applications and essays for most students completing their final year at Nashoba. What used to be known as the most fun year of high school is now the most stressful.


There are so many decisions seniors make in the summer before and the beginning of their Senior year. They have to decide where they want to go to school, what they want to major in, and when to apply. Although college won’t begin for nearly another year, some people have already applied or even been accepted to some colleges.


A recent growing trend among students has been to apply with Early Action. This non-binding application process requires students to apply about two months before the Regular Decision deadline, but it also allows them to know if they were accepted three to four months before regular-decision applicants find out. The process makes the first few months of the school year much more stressful with the looming November first deadline.


One Nashoba Senior, Julia Barshak, is applying to at least six colleges, and early action to three of them. “The other three don’t have it or I would apply early action,” she says. So many students, like Julia, apply to many colleges to leave their options open. Applying early also allows students to have more time to consider which school is right for them.


While Early Action relieves stress from unknown decisions, it also doesn’t allow students to present the best possible application. They don’t get to retake standardized tests as many times to have optimal performance, and their first quarter senior year grades may not weigh into their GPA. However, this is a risk that a huge number of Nashoba students are willing to take.


In many ways, applying Early Action is influenced largely by peer pressure. With so many applying early, someone who’s applying regular decision feels like she’s missed the boat. Even though Approximately one-third of applicants at UNH on 2014 were Early Action, all but three students in one AP English Class were applying to at least one school with Early Action.


“I want to get it over with and I want the rest of my senior year to be fun,” Casey Hallberg explains in reference to her early applications. Many students feel a similar sense of anticipation. College has become such a huge part of students’ lives. These days, it’s all about getting into the “best” school possible, the most rigorously academic and renowned, rather than the practical college. Despite the fact that many colleges such as Northeastern, Boston University, and other large schools cost upwards of $50,000 every year, they attract a huge number of Nashoba students. Since 2001, 48 students from Nashoba attended Northeastern University in Boston. Based on Nashoba’s record of past college attendance, this is the private college with the most Nashoba alumni.


Why are so many people attending these expensive colleges when there are state schools that offer excellent educations at a fraction of the cost? For example, Fitchburg State is known to be one of the best teaching schools in the state, and yet society has developed into a place where private colleges are always better, even when it makes no sense for the student. “I’m applying to private schools instead of public schools because they are too large,” Alicia Burrows says. In many ways, students who want a small school are limited. Small public colleges, like Fitchburg, don’t have on-campus housing, which is a deal-breaker for many who want a college experience full of independence and new friends.
However, their are some small, relatively cheap, private colleges, such as Lesley University in Boston, that are still shunned by many students simply because they don’t have very high standards for admittance. For so many students and their parents, being accepted into a selective school seems to be reassurance that the student is intelligent and capable. However, acceptance or rejection from a college says very little about a person and what they will do. In the end, the student must come to see that the best school for them is based off of a variety of factors, such as tuition, majors, and location, among others, that are much more important than how difficult the college is to get accepted into.