Advice for Omaha-metro seniors as they send out college applications

Nationally, the window for applications opened on August 1.
Right now, many high school seniors are busy deciding where they will spend the next four years.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Right now many high school seniors are busy deciding where they will spend the next four years.

Current students at Creighton University remember the familiar process of college applications.

“Obviously we had our junior year and senior year very different due to COVID,” says Sophomore Tess Humphrey.

“It was a weird time but that added to the stress for sure, of the already stressful task of applying to college,” says Sophomore, Grace Liberati.

Nationally, the window for applications opened on August 1.

With 12 years of experience with Creighton as Assistant Vice Provost for Enrollment and Director of Admissions and Scholarships, Sarah Richardson knows the process can feel overwhelming.

“We have about five things that we’re looking at, four specifically, which would be pretty true at most places. We ask for that application, the essay, we ask for their transcripts from their school, we ask for a letter of recommendation from their guidance counselor, and then for some students, we ask for test scores,” says Richardson.

Similar to many other schools now Creighton is test-optional, meaning students don’t have to submit an SAT or an ACT score to apply.

“That just puts a student in the driver seat on deciding ‘does the test score really reflect how good of a student I am,’” says Richardson.

Richardson’s best advice to make the process smoother is to make a plan.

“I always recommend to have an organization plan to keep track of these are the schools I’m applying to, these are the materials they’re asking for me in the admissions process, and these are deadlines to keep in mind,” says Richardson.

For the class of 2023, the pandemic started when they were freshmen, meaning their high school experience was anything but normal.

“We have actually seen it for the last couple of years; students who are very anxious about how remote learning impacted them. For some students it was very positive, for others it was a huge detriment and you could see it in their grades,” says Richardson.

For those who are feeling anxious, don’t be afraid to reach out to admissions.

“The pandemic has taken away some opportunities that they might have otherwise been able to participate in and we understand that. Reach out, find somebody that you’re comfortable with, and have that conversation about what you’re experience has been like,” says Richardson. “No one is perfect and we’re not expecting perfection. What we want is real people who can come to our campuses and make a difference here.”

For parents who may be sending their first kid off to college, here’s Richardson’s advice: “It’s good for them to know that they can be an advocate in this process, but it’s a great time to start letting your student be their own voice. In their application, that they have an opportunity to write about things that are important to them in their essay, that they’re asking for materials to be sent along. It’s a good time to start practicing that transition to a greater amount of independence.”

Some students at Creighton agree with this advice and say all you can do is your very best.

“The biggest thing if you’re writing an essay, is emphasize the things that you’re good at and then also recognize that you have some weaknesses because you come here to grow, you come here to learn, you come here to get better,” says Sophomore Chris Harris.

“It’s college, it’s new and it completely disrupts everything, especially if you’re going away from home. So it’s ok if it doesn’t click right away or fit, it sometimes just takes time,” says Liberati.