The College Application Process


CommonApp’s confetti submission screen!

Alexandra Burns, Staff Writer/Features Editor

‘Tis the season of college applications, acceptances, and rejections. With deadlines as early as November 1 and November 15 for early action, high school Seniors around the world have entered the college application process. The college application is quite the emotional roller coaster. With exciting dream school acceptance highs and disheartening dream school rejection lows and pouring out your heart for an essay that may or may not get you accepted into the college of your dreams landing in the middle. It is, to be frank, a grueling process. The Rock Report decided to interview some Seniors from the Bishop Feehan class of 2023.

Neil Cahill

Neil Cahill has applied to 7 colleges and toured all of those schools as well as several more. His top three schools at the moment are “The University of Pittsburgh, Fordham, and either Roger Williams or Ithaca.” His major in mind is either architecture or regional planning. Neil says that the information he learned from touring school was most definitely helpful, saying, “When I was first looking at colleges I just wanted a school in the city…but then I saw Roger Williams and Ithaca and I was like ‘oh’ these are schools that are not at all in a city.” Neil participated in a pre-college architecture summer program at Wentworth, which was taught by an architecture professor and student, for two weeks, saying that he did not hear about any other schools he checked out to be offering anything similar. Neil was “so thankful” that he did the Wentworth program because art and architecture students need portfolios, and without the program, Neil says, “I basically would’ve had three things.”

Neil describes his college application process as time-consuming, saying “I like writing but doing the essay was the worst part.” He remembers when he accidentally applied to the wrong program at Northeastern, a program which was much harder to get into, but he sent the admissions office an email saying, “Hey, I screwed up, can I switch my major?” Neil advised to “get it done as soon as possible…especially with early action, get your stuff settled by early October.”

Neil says that “75% of the college experience is on-campus, and if it’s not on-campus, it’s off-campus with other people who go to school with you,” so he definitely wants to live on campus.

At the time of our interview, Neil was yet to receive any acceptance letters, however, the Rock Report followed up with him and he has been accepted into 5 colleges: University of Pittsburgh, Fordham, Ithaca College, Roger Williams University, and Wentworth Institute of Technology. Neil does not think money will be a deciding factor in which school he ends up going to because his parents have saved “a ton of money from [his] childhood” for him and his siblings. Neil’s advice to rising seniors who are starting to look at colleges is to “tour as many schools as you can early on…and don’t focus on the major at first, tour whatever schools with whatever majors because that’ll get you a sense of what you want.”

Elle Yurkstas

Elle Yurkstas completed her first-ever acceptance as an in-person acceptance to Assumption college and couldn’t contain her joy. “I am so happy right now.” Elle described her experience as “life-changing” saying, “if you want to, you should get it done in person.”

Katie Mills

Katie Mills applied to 9 colleges and toured 5 out of the 9 schools she applied to, and at the time of the interview, she was making plans to tour 2 more. Katie’s top three are UMass Amherst, Sacred Heart University, and her third is tied between the University of Alabama and UTampa. Katie’s majors of interest are marketing and oral communications or PR and advertising. Katie says that the information that she learned on her tours was helpful. Also, Katie supplied that she stayed over at UMASS Amherst twice with former students Caroline Quinlan ‘22 and Catherine Quinlan ‘22.
Katie describes her college application experience as “not that stressful for me.” She had a college counselor who helped her through the process, having her write a new draft of her supplementals and her CommonApp essay every week over the summer. Katie wrote a total of 7 essays for schools she is interested in.

At the time of our interview, Katie had received two acceptance letters, one from Bama and another from Ole Miss, however, the Rock Report followed up and Katie has now received two more acceptances from the College of Charleston and Quinnipiac. Katie also plans to rush wherever she goes but would love to do that in the South, hence Bama and UTampa being tied for third. Katie doesn’t believe that her parents will have any say over which school she goes to. Also, she “definitely [wants] to live on campus.”

Katie’s advice to rising seniors is to “start touring early. Start touring schools now and making a list…also, keep yourself realistic. If I thought I was getting into Harvard, that would be such a let-down.”

Yusef Kassem

Yusef Kassem applied to 12 colleges and toured “about 9 or 10” yet he is only applying to 6 of the schools he toured. Yusef’s top three choices are Georgetown, Brown, and American. Yusef’s major of interest is International Affairs/International Politics with a regional focus on Middle Eastern Countries. For Yusef, he said that “tours only take you so far…after four tours I recognized the pattern.” Yusef did a camp where he had to stay the weekend at Stonehill and Marymount College in D.C. and he says that “both of those camps told me that I definitely don’t want to apply there. It had nothing to do with the college, the camps were just…not cool.”

Yusef says his college application process was “pretty stressful.” At the time of our interview, he said that he was now at the more “relaxed part” since most early action deadlines had passed. Yusef believes that “[he] bit off more than [he] could chew,” having to quit soccer to keep up with school and college applications.

At the time of our interview, Yusef had received no acceptance letters, however, the Rock Report followed up and Yusef has now received one more acceptance from UMass Amherst and had also reached the top 6% of applicants for the Jefferson scholarship, which is a full ride scholarship to the University of Virginia and the most selective programs in the country, yet he was sadly rejected. Yusef and his parents had planned for him to stay in-state or in the surrounding states but due to what he wants to study, those colleges are farther away than he had planned. Yusef plans to live on-campus because all the schools he is applying to are out of range for him to commute.

Yusef advice to rising seniors is to “pay attention and work hard in your English classes.” Yusef also states that the help he received in the AP Literature and AP Language and Composition classes helped him a lot when it came to writing his essays. Yusef remarks on this because he has to write 22 essays but he had written 8 or 9 at the time of the interview.