By Samantha Martin

As clocks ticked towards his approaching application deadlines, senior Tyler Beraldi rushed to finish his final supplemental questions late at night before clicking submit on the college applications that he had spent countless hours of tedious hard work on. However, after months of stressful preparation, the question now posed is: what lays ahead for seniors at AHS post college applications? So much of their time has been devoted to perfecting a simple document that would help decide the coming four years of their lives that we have to wonder if there was a decline in stress following their submissions.

That seems to be the case.

Early action and early decision applications are usually the first weeks of November, varying from November 1 to November 15. Applying early means that students will likely hear back either before the holidays or during January depending on the college. Rolling Admissions colleges do not have a set deadline and they accept applications throughout the fall/winter/spring. These schools update students once they have made a decision; the earlier you apply to these schools, the earlier you hear back.

You could practically hear the sigh of relief given off from AHS students on November 2, or at least for most. While some students are still waiting to apply regular decision, those who chose to apply for the early November 1 deadline had a tremendous amount of stress lifted off their shoulders. Senior Lindsey Vargas chose to apply early action to her colleges, like most other Andover High students, and expressed her stress-free mindset: “It felt really good to finish [my applications]… I was happy to not have to scramble at the last minute and be done by November.” Vargas said focusing on classes is simpler now that college work is done.

Even students who committed to colleges early on in the process still felt the effects of the grueling college application process. Dominika Silvestri committed to Baylor University to continue her equestrian career before her senior year even started. “I went to a whole bunch of schools and toured…. I had been emailing coaches to see if they were interested, which took a lot of time. I also had to keep them posted throughout the year on what I was up to. It was about 6 months of updates.” Silvestri , seemingly like the rest of her class, was excited to have her application submitted. “After committing, it wasn’t stressful. I just had to fill out the application and I would basically be accepted because it was a verbal agreement.”

Silvestri was one of twelve students at Andover High to participate at signing day on November 14 to make their decisions public following the completion of their applications earlier that month. Students that committed are now beginning to receive their written confirmation of acceptance as well.

Some of the stress is already proving to be worth it for students here at AHS. Colleges have officially begun mailing out decisions and students are receiving them daily at this point. After hearing back from Salem State, Vargas was excited. “It was also a relief to know at least one college had accepted me,” she said.

Senior Joanna Archambault was in a similar situation. With many colleges already mailing out decisions, she talked about her excitement after hearing back from her top school.  The stress of the college process, for most, now lays within the decisions that are coming in. But how does this stress compare to that of the application process? Both Vargas and Archambault agree that waiting on decisions is significantly less stressful than the actual application process itself.

Even though these seniors have experienced grueling months of effort to complete these college applications on time, their stress may have been well worthwhile. A recent TIME article, “How Some Stress Can Actually Be Good for You” talked about the positive effects that stress can have. The article consulted Gunthert, a psychology professor at American University, who told TIME that stress can help to provide motivation. “We have all had the experience saying, ‘Oh I’ve got to get such and such done’ but not being able to find the motivation to do it until we are stressed because it is due the next day and all of a sudden the motivation is there…. That fight or flight response can kick us into gear sometimes.” Even though the stress in the moment may have overwhelmed seniors, it looks as though it may have some long-lasting, rewarding effects as well.

While these stress levels are particularly relative to seniors, the effects of stress can be applied to students across the school. Guidance counselor Melissa Martin explained what she recommends her students do to handle stress with college apps and stress itself: “I typically recommend that students do as much as they can over the summer to prepare for college applications.  That will then set them up to be less stressed throughout their senior year. Of course, however, it is nearly impossible to avoid stress altogether. So, I will always coach students through their stress by helping them prioritize their responsibilities, and encourage them to take a break and time for themselves.” This advice, however, applies to everyone. In order to manage stress, it is a great idea to prioritize and get a head start on whatever said stressor may be.

While some students are still waiting on decisions and others still have regular applications due, it seems the majority of stress has disappeared. All in all, it appears that the stress that once haunted the seniors at AHS has dropped significantly following the ever-popular November 1 deadline.