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The Claw

The Claw

Mapping the Future: Students Embark on College Planning Journey

Lily Qin
The college preparation process for Campolindo students starts as early as freshman year and doesn’t get easier.

Navigating the labyrinth of college preparation is a major part of high school students’ lives. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors alike know the journey of charting the future comes with a variety of emotions, experiences, and opportunities.
Junior year has a reputation of being the most difficult year of high school. This year is also often considered by many to be the most important year of high school in terms of the path to higher education due to the demand for exploration, planning, and success in school. These students have a variety of approaches and feelings towards the long to-do lists and the quest to prepare properly to make the right decision of what college to choose.
“For me the biggest challenge is narrowing down the schools that I really would want to go to and dealing with all the expectations,” said Junior Amelia Ra. She has taken advantage of visiting different colleges and talking to students who attend the schools she is interested in to get a better idea of which college is best fit for her. Ra was introduced to the college journey through the mandatory freshman college and career academies that she said left her feeling, “freaked out and stressed about [college] since.” Now being a junior, to help combat the stress she said, “It helps to just talk with people who will be really honest with you.”
Junior Hannah Benson found herself most surprised by, “How much goes into the college planning process with all the essays and things you have to get by certain deadlines.” She has spent most of her college research focused on, “where I want to go and what I want to do.” For a lot of students like Benson, the choice between staying in state or going outside of California is a major deciding factor for which college to attend. Benson noted that, “Naviance helps me find out a lot about what I need for college as well as talking with others,” which has ultimately helped her to feel more prepared.
– Sloan Pullen
While sophomores are not upperclassmen, sometimes they feel like they are being treated as if they are. The intense pressure that most sophomores feel is being surrounded by talks about college. Whether it be from friends, faculty, or family, the topic of college takes place in the majority of conversations. While this may be a comfortable topic for some sophomores to talk about, not all feel the same way.
Sophomore, Grace Guthrie said, “There definitely is pressure around taking AP classes and the amount you take because there are standards around how many you should take.” Guthrie expressed her experiences with AP classes and how there is a stigma around the amount you take. “I don’t feel any pressure from my family but more so from my classmates and when people talk about the classes they are going to take and when this happens, I put pressure on myself to live up to those standards.” Guthrie’s thoughts are definitely not abnormal.
There are other students feeling the same way. “I know a lot of people who were pushed into AP classes because it looks good for college. I think it is too early to be talking about college because our brains are still developing and it’s not a great idea to make big decisions now that can affect us for the rest of our lives,” Sophomore Lucy Kao stated. Kao talks about how she feels pressure from classmates and friends which makes her wonder if she should think about college.
Sophomores talking about preparing for college, puts pressure on others to live up to their classmates’ standards. The conversations about AP classes and “what looks good for college,” causes anxious feelings because of the thought of not knowing what the future holds.
-Karly Kazliner
Freshman year is a year for transitioning to high school. By the end of the year, the 9th graders should have a better understanding of high school, and its expectations. However, the preparation for college seems to slowly creep younger and younger. Although the pressure is nowhere near as immense on the freshman, rather than the older grades, many students still feel a sense of urgency about college.
Freshman Cayley Chang said, “My parents and my brother talk about college a lot, [so] i feel a lot of pressure to go to a good college. My family [also] expects my siblings and I to excel and try our hardest” Chang explained that the pressure for college is mostly from her family, so she tries to “keep up with everything going on in class, study, and learn from other people’s experiences,” Chang feels well prepared for the college process compared to her classmates. She also stated, “learning about college when you’re younger gets you ready for when you actually have to go through it and prepares you for the stress of applying,”
Freshman Kyle Pearlstein feels similarly prepared for the application experience. “I have a college counselor, and I am just working on participating in clubs, doing as many sports as I can.” Pearlstein explained, “I’m trying to finish the year with all A’s so I can get into the college I want to go to… but I don’t know what college that is yet,”
The path to higher education has revealed itself to be a long term exploration starting from the minute the high school journey begins. Through these critical years of planning freshman, sophomores, and juniors are paving the way for a successful transition into the next chapter of their academic careers.
– Ashley Purcell

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About the Contributors
Sloan Pullen
Sloan Pullen, Staff Writer/Photographer
(she/her) Junior Sloan Pullen is a first-year writer for The Campo Claw. Through her 3 years at Campo, Sloan has enjoyed being at a school with a “good community”. Sloan was born in Sydney, Australia, but when she turned 4 she moved to the Bay Area. She has two cats and two dogs that she had for about 7 years. Sloan also participates in two clubs, the Women in Athletics Club and the Eco Club. She also runs Cross Country in the fall and Track and Field in the spring. Her favorite food is fish tacos. Sloan is looking forward to clubs, and learning in her new classes. Later down the road she sees herself going to college in California.
Karly Kazliner (she/her)
Karly Kazliner (she/her), Staff Writer/Photographer
(she/her) Sophomore Karly Kazliner is interested in writing, but is also willing to explore her other creative interests through art and photography. She had experience in journalistic writing last year as the 9th grade leader for her previous school’s newspaper and is excited to see how she can contribute to The Claw this year. Kazliner hopes to expand her knowledge on journalism and gain more experience as a writer. She also dreams of being an FBI investigator one day and wants to travel to Greece in the future. If given one million dollars, Kazliner says she would “probably save it or buy a house” where she could relax. In her free time, she loves hanging out with her friends because she enjoys being social.
Ashley Purcell (she/her)
Ashley Purcell (she/her), Staff Writer/Photographer
(she/her) Freshman Ashley Purcell is a writer and photographer for The Claw. She sparked an interest in journalism last year when she came across the publication.  In her free time, she loves to bake and hang-out with friends. She has been dancing since she was 4 years old and continues to pursue dancing at CAPA because of her passion for it and the results she has seen.  Her adoration for it is shown when she shares, “I just like that it takes a long time to get good and you have an end result that is clear.”  On top of baking, hanging out with friends, and dancing she loves Taylor Swift. “She's her own genre.” said Purcell. 
Lily Qin
Lily Qin, Business Editor
(she/her) Senior Lily Qin has always been creative. From a young age, she was involved in various creative pursuits such as ballet and music, and now, writing.  Outside of school, Qin crochets. She can often be found crocheting late into the night, working to fulfill orders or making birthday gifts. In an effort to pass on her knowledge to the community, Qin works with local libraries to host introductory crochet workshops for young kids.  As this is her 2nd year in journalism, Qin hopes the class will give her an opportunity to express her ideas and gain writing experience. The creative aspect of the class is appealing to her, which is why she joined. Furthermore, she hopes to “gain more confidence in [her] writing or art and meet a new group of people.”
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