the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

the hoofprint

Walnut High School | 400 Pierre Rd. Walnut, Calif. 91789

From the other side: Hoofprint seniors reflect on the college application process

With the conclusion of the 2023-24 college application cycle, senior staff members at The Hoofprint offer their insight on how they managed the process through the ups and downs of submitting applications and receiving their decisions.

Marissa Alejo, Copy and Coverage editor-in-chief

After 12 years of dreaming of UC Berkeley, it was a tough moment to see a rejection letter. Although I’m mostly over it now, college admissions taught me a lot about myself and those around me.

I feel it is helpful to create a separation between before and after results. When applying to schools, there’s time to be optimistic. I’m not advocating for students to exaggerate their achievements but students should keep their goals in mind, even if they seem unachievable. 

Seniors should be aware of the work they put in and be proud of what they achieved beyond college admissions. Although it can be difficult for many students to recognize, high school is not just a transitory period to get to college. Many of us have learned valuable life lessons that we will be able to take into our lives after high school, no matter what we intend to do.

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Be realistic about your abilities, but give yourself credit for all of the work that you put in, whether it be in academics, sports, extracurriculars or other aspects of the high school experience.

Kaelin David, Opinion editor

During the two weeks of winter break as I finalized applications, I was overwhelmed by the uncertainty of where I would end up. Ultimately, I came out of the process with my fair streak of rejections and waitlists, and some acceptances in between.

After the application season finished, I had regrets over “not doing enough.” I rued all the missed opportunities I could’ve taken, or projects I could’ve spent more time on. 

However, as I’ve reflected on my high school career, I’ve learned to show myself and others more kindness. Always treat yourself and those around you with compassion, especially with how cruel college applications can be. 

Even if your decisions don’t pan out quite how you planned, you should be proud of your growth and what you’ve achieved. After all, your high school experiences were not meant to check boxes for college admissions. The people you meet, the memories you create and the skills you learn are all things to be forever cherished beyond the aim of gaining admission to your dream school.

Cathy Li, Print-editor-in-chief

Last week, I committed to Outer Coast College, a two-year school in Sitka, Alaska, with around 40 total students. When I told Mr. Newman about it, he wanted me to triple-check that it wasn’t a cult. (I promise that it’s not!) 

I’m incredibly grateful for the supportive staff and resources I found at WHS, but I can’t help but feel dissatisfied with my secondary education. Because of the pressure to get into a good college, I felt like titles and awards mattered more than genuine passion and personal growth. Somewhere along the way, I became apathetic; my love for learning was just collateral damage in the journey to remold myself into a palatable applicant for a top-20 institution. 

I chose Outer Coast because I wanted to fundamentally change the way I engage with information and the people around me, as only such a small and intensive program can guarantee. If the traditional college doesn’t excite you, I hope you’ll consider alternative paths, too. There are so many opportunities out there, especially for people our age, and perhaps you’ll get to have a grand adventure currently unimaginable in our Walnut bubble.

Sofia Majeed, Manager

After this college application process and college decision season, I definitely have many thoughts, and a few words of advice for juniors who will begin this process shortly and underclassmen who may be thinking about college. 

Your peers may prod into where you are applying, try to intimidate you with their grades and their volunteer hours, but you have to block out all the noise and focus on yourself. I am not one to advocate for selfishness, but in this process you should do what is best for your wellbeing. 

It is easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, and forget about your goals, ambitions and dreams. When all is said and done, we graduate together but we move on alone, in the sense that the   majority of your peers won’t be with you in your next chapter. Although that can be daunting, it’s refreshing to be able to move on from the sometimes negative and overall unhelpful attitudes and mindsets that may be around you. 

Regardless of where you might be going in the fall, try your best to not worry about what your current peers think about your decision and instead focus on how you genuinely feel about your path.

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