Seniors work for dream college admissions


Adriana Barrera

Senior Adriana Barrera poses with Lauren Turner at the University of Virginia volleyball camp in 2018.

Anagha Gummadivalli, Academics Editor

With college application deadlines looming on the horizon for many, seniors across the country are submitting college applications. Some students are set on a certain school the moment they hear about it, or even months before applications are due. 

“Freshman year, one of my friends would always wear the same UVA hoodie,” senior Adriana Barrera said. “I came home one day and looked more into [UVA] and found out that it had amazing academics, beautiful town and an amazing sports atmosphere. I fell in love with it and can’t see myself anywhere else.”  

According to a 2018 Princeton Review survey of students and parents, UVA is ranked 12th in the nation. Students and parents named Stanford University as their number one dream college. “When I was younger I really wanted to go to Harvard,” junior Sreya Devarakonda said. “Last year, when I started to research more about colleges, I looked more into Stanford and watched a couple lectures on YouTube, and loved the teaching style.”

Stanford University is currently the college with the lowest acceptance rate, at around 4%. UVA’s acceptance rate is 26.4%, making both colleges very selective. With acceptance rates for many competitive schools on a downward trend over the past couple years, luck plays a factor in many colleges’ decisions.    

There are many factors to take in when applying to colleges, including programs for a selected major. According to Best Colleges, the nursing major is currently the second most popular major in America.

“As someone who wants to go into nursing, UVA has one of the best nursing schools in the entire country,” Barrera said. “Combined with the atmosphere of Charlottesville, the grounds and the fact that some of my best friends go there, makes it a great option.” 

Applicants work towards building their resume throughout high school, sometimes specifically gearing it towards a school they know they want to apply to.  College applications are carefully crafted, and are a culmination of a students’ hard work over the course of four years. 

“I’ve gained a lot of experience from taking care of my grandfather who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and being the vice president of Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA),” Barrera said. “I’ve done everything I can in order to ensure that I am an applicant they consider, but most importantly I have built an application that I am proud of.”

Location also plays a factor into where applicants decide to apply to. California, a popular geographic location, is home to six top 30 colleges, including: Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Berkeley, University of Southern California, and University of California- Santa Barbara. 

“I’ve been to California before and I love the people and weather,” junior Sreya Devarakonda said. “Weather is one of the major reasons I want to attend Stanford University.” 

Although college seems to be the main end goal for most high school students, many say that colleges ultimately look for individuality, perseverance, and dedication. When students have a dream college, four years of high school seem to be dedicated to one goal of acceptance. In the process of applying to dream schools, college counselors repeatedly cite the importance of understanding personal strengths, weaknesses, and interests.

“I’m interested in neuroscience, so any school that has a good neuroscience program would be a great option,” Devarakonda said. “It’s great to strive for your dream, but it’s also important to have a good backup plan.”