The college acceptance letter.
That piece of paper saying that a student has gained admission into the university of his or her dreams.
For seniors, the process of attaining said letter is very stressful and nearly overwhelming.
University of Nevada, Reno admissions specialist Will Pasina, 23, said once the deadlines, final semesters and graduations start to approach, he notices the frantic calls.
The majority of the calls he gets are about the entry requirements, which have evolved over the years.
“When I applied, they (UNR) only looked at my (grade-point average),” Pasina said. “Now, they are looking at the ACT and the SAT as well.”
Spring Valley High School senior academic counselor Diane Epstein has seen firsthand how the admissions standards have fluctuated.
“Admissions criteria constantly changes,” Epstein said. “GPA requirements are raised and test scores go higher.”
A major part of the college admissions stress stems from maintaining the GPA for admission and financial aid, Epstein said.
“The beginning of the year has the most stress,” Epstein said. “A lot of students feel overwhelmed with all the scholarships to apply for.”
She said some students don’t realize that they can get their acceptance denied if they slack off during the second semester.
Spring Valley High School senior Kylie Johnson, 17, thought this was going to be an easy, stress-free year.
That quickly changed when she learned about the rigors of applying for college.
“I stress the most because I don’t know if I will be able to get it all done,” Johnson said, noting that she struggles to strike a balance between work, dance and school.
Fortunately for Johnson, she got accepted into Utah State University, her first choice.
The demands of getting accepted to college is just another weight added onto the barbell of stress that seniors must lift as their final year of high school progresses.
“Senior year has its ups and downs,” said Legacy High School senior Amanda Graceline, 17. “So it all depends on you and your actions whether to make it a better time in your senior year.”