Super Mom Monday: Taking the stress out of college applications

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Applying for college can be a stressful time for high school students and parents, with so many things to worry about, like which school is the best fit, applications, transcripts, and essays.

But actually, the process is easier than ever.

Shaker High School senior Jack Rotolo will soon trade in his Shaker Blue, and he’s feeling some relief walking the halls now that he knows where he’ll be attending college in the fall.

“Right now, I think Boston College is gonna be where I end up,” says Rotolo. “I really wanted to get a big start on it. I am the first in my family to go through the process. I am the first born. My dad and mom, it’s been a while since they did the whole college search, so it’s changed a lot.”

Rotolo says getting to this point of certainty in his senior year was relatively stress-free, much to his and his parents’ surprise.

“I think they were really surprised when I went upstairs, in an hour I came down and, ‘you, I got all the basic stuff done and now it’s just time to write the essay’” says Rotolo. “They were pretty happy about that I think.”

Like thousands of other high school students, Rotolo applied to seven schools with the click of a mouse.

“It was one application for all of the schools I applied to,” says Rotolo. “It was so centralized in everything. It was easy to use.”

He’s talking about the Common App. It’s online. It’s free to use, and it opens you up to hundreds and hundreds of colleges and universities.

More than 700 colleges and universities across the country, and nearly every major school in the Capital Region, are part of the online site.

Shaker High School Councilor Mike Bruni says the convenience has helped simplify an often complicated process. He compares the Common App to the process of applying to SUNY colleges, something parents might be familiar with.

“There was the SUNY application. You filled out the booklet and at the end of the booklet you pencil in the four colleges you could apply to,” says Bruni. “You would do one application and it would gain you acceptance to four different colleges.

However, a simplified process doesn’t always mean you have more time. Application deadlines seem to be earlier and earlier.

“Most students at this point feel like they have to apply for early action or early decision by December 1,” says Bruni. “There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on the kids and anything that we can give to them really helps that process.”

Even so, Siena College Director of Admissions Katie Szalda stresses to both parents and students not to let the process overwhelm them..

“Stop, breath, and enjoy the process, because it’s something you should be celebrating,” she says.”

Jack Rotolo says he’s found that piece of advice can go a long way on the road to finding the perfect school.

“Don’t freak out as much as you want to freak out,” he says.

To learn more about the Common App visit: http://www.commonapp.org/

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