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Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Photo Essay: Boys’ varsity tennis sweeps Archie Williams in MCAL semifinals
Molly Gallagher April 18, 2024

On Wednesday, April 17, the boys’ varsity tennis team dominated their match against Archie Williams in the semi-finals of the Marin County...

Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Photo Essay: Girls’ varsity lacrosse dominates Branson in a sentimental senior day matchup
Emma Rosenberg and Penelope Trott April 18, 2024

On April 18, the girls’ varsity lacrosse team battled against the Branson Bulls in a blowout senior day matchup. Prior to the start of...

 embracing his coach senior Auden Braden celebrates his final MCAL regular season game
Boys’ volleyball dominates Marin Catholic on Senior Night
Richard Byrne April 18, 2024

On April 17th, the boys’ varsity volleyball team faced off against Marin Catholic (MC) in a Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) game. The...

A guide to informed college conversations

Anyone who has ever applied to college knows the feeling of opening a decision letter. Your heart beats a million miles per hour, palms sweat, all while preparing for the worst-case scenario. Reading these letters from colleges can be the most anxiety-inducing moment of some senior years. That being said, the only thing worse than the anticipation while opening these letters is when the worst-case scenario comes true. Clicking ‘View Decision’ only to read the first few lines of  “We regret to inform you…” or “This year our applicant pool was stronger than ever…” can be heartbreaking. 

Rejected applicants are often left with a multitude of questions as to why a school didn’t accept them. Was it their essays? Their grades? Their extracurricular activities? In reality, the number of college applicants has drastically increased, making it harder to receive an acceptance letter this year than ever before. 

According to Forbes Magazine, data collected from the Common Application showed that their process received over 7 million applications. This has made it impossible for schools to find room and offer acceptance for every qualified application that rolls through their admissions offices.

In this high-stress environment, students and parents just want to know one thing: How is everyone else being affected? This is where college conversations come into play. 

If I received a dollar every time I’ve been asked about my top school or where I’ve gotten into, I would be wealthy enough to retire and forgo a college degree. Sadly, these conversations have just gotten old and intrusive. 

College can be such a sensitive topic for many, and some comments and questions should be avoided altogether when having these conversations. It is important to approach these conversations with compassion; here are some things to avoid:


“What is your top school?”

Asking someone about their top school creates pressure to have one. Having a ‘dream college’ forces the idea that target or safety schools aren’t valid or worthy options to be excited about. This further pushes the idea that selective or competitive ‘dream’ schools are the only ones worth being excited about. 


“They couldn’t get in there.”

Comments involving an applicant’s ability to get into a school can be hurtful and insensitive. College rejection already suggests to an applicant that they aren’t enough for a school, and these comments do nothing but further reinforce that. 


“They wouldn’t be able to afford that school.”

Money is a subject people tend to stray away from in most general conversations, and for a good reason. When discussing college, a school’s affordability shouldn’t be addressed.


“I can’t believe ___ got in and ___ didn’t.” 

The college admissions process is complicated, and it is impossible to know the exact criteria that a specific admissions officer was looking for when they read someone’s application. Every applicant has or tries to find their own edge that sets them apart from the rest of the applicant pool — commenting on how it was unjust for someone to get into a school when someone else didn’t minimizes their achievement. 



The college admissions process is more complex than it looks. It is a period of peaked stress and anxiety. The rumblings of college conversations will never come to an end, so the best way to have them is by encouraging sensitivity and compassion. Prying into college admissions gossip, whether your child, a friend’s child, a friend or an acquaintance, does nothing but heighten the fear in the senior’s life.

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About the Contributor
Lauren Poulin
Lauren Poulin, Staff Photographer
Lauren Poulin is a senior at Redwood High School. She is a staff photographer and enjoys spending time with friends as well as playing waterpolo.