College preparations


Lilly Maney

College preparations can look like a variety of different activities.

The stress of college preparations and applications can be overwhelming for many. As the year continues to get closer to the end, seniors are starting to look at what they need to be doing. For Emme Bailey, that might look like spending long hours in the Emergency Department or even witnessing a baby being born. While some seniors may be focused on completing graduation requirements, Bailey is more concerned with her everyday duties at Mercy Hospital South as a CAPS student. This is not the case for all seniors but this is a difficult time and has some students rushing to finish up before the end of their senior year.

Abby Peterson, college counselor, insists on planning ahead for college, at the start of junior year. She said knowing your basic requirements in a college will make the process easier, including the social aspect , the academic needs, athletic opportunities and financial accommodations. With scholarship applications being the next step, Peterson said the college counselors are here for more than just figuring out a college choice. They can help with your college and scholarship applications. 

“Students sometimes feel if they come to the [guidance office] they can ask questions [and] it can help them to move along faster,” Peterson said. “Whatever they need above and beyond just applying we’re also here to follow up with that, and then we go from there.” 

Students sometimes feel if they come to the [guidance office] they can ask questions [and] it can help them to move along faster.

— Abby Peterson

Peterson advises seniors that college should be a fun decision, that whatever major you choose is not necessarily final. Many students switch majors more than once before finding what they love. She said students can technically be undecided for up to two years of college. 

“You’re probably going to be fine wherever you go, the average college student changes their mind five times,” Peterson said. “Ask questions, try to ask where you see yourself [and] see as many college campuses as you can.”

Jackson Schleiffarth, senior, doesn’t know where he is going to school next year, but is more focused on applying for scholarships. He said the process has been time consuming. Dealing with the work of applying for college and scholarships is something Schleiffarth said he does by himself. He is looking at different scholarships, some of which require essays and interviews. 

“Most of this stuff I deal with on my own, but when it comes to writing the essays, just looking up tips and talking to people that have done it before,” Schleiffarth said. “I’m undecided on where exactly I’m going to go, [but I’m] looking at what schools I’m interested in and what it takes to apply.”

Schleiffarth is cautious about his decisions regarding college and regrets not having advice earlier in the process, like how to prepare for ACT and SAT testing and to look at colleges sooner. Schleiffarth said the most helpful thing others can do for him is be supportive and be there to answer questions. 

“Taking the ACT seriously, and starting to make sure your grades are in-line with their requirements,” Schleiffarth said. “[It] just creates less of a headache later on.”

Maddie Rowan, senior, is excited to go to college and pursue her dreams of becoming a special education teacher. She attended Camp Able, a camp for disabled children at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans, as a camp counselor, where her passion for this field began. She has worked with kids with disabilities before and believes opportunities like these have fueled her future job interest. 

“Kirkwood has given me a bunch of different opportunities to work hands-on in the classroom,” Rowan said. “[I am cadeting for a class now and will be] cadetting with a different class next semester. I get a lot of [firsthand] work and I babysit for a lot of kids who have special needs.”

Wanting to go to a school in the Midwest, Rowan found Illinois State University to be the perfect fit. Illinois State gives her the chance to learn by assisting with special needs children, as well as allows her to get a degree in American Sign Language (ASL). She is now focusing on keeping her grades up and cadetting in the Special School District (SSD) at KHS to receive her academic scholarship when she gets to Illinois State.

As a senior, I feel like you put so much pressure on yourself because it’s your last [year].

— Maddie Rowan

“I have to keep a certain GPA through all four years, it’s a 2.75,” Rowan said. “I feel like there are a lot of scholarships that have a lot of stipulations, but there’s nothing that I have to maintain that I am anxious about.” 

Rowan started looking towards her future early in her junior year by writing out what she wanted to put on her applications to help her stay motivated. She said that the preparations she took did not help in the way that she thought, but still assisted her in filling out her applications. Rowan said that she has less anxiety because she has decided where she is going to college and is wanting to make her final year of high school her most memorable. 

“As a senior, I feel like you put so much pressure on yourself because it’s your last [year],” Rowan said. “I will be fine after this, [but] it’s definitely a growing-up period and a time of  uncertainty.” 

Emme Bailey, senior, is committed to play lacrosse at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. She is currently part of the CAPS medical program offered through KHS and has plans to become a Emergency Department trauma nurse. She is well aware of the responsibilities that come along with such a heavy course load, but scheduling has still been stressful for her. 

“I know what I’m getting myself into, it’s going to be hard being a nursing student, being on a team and having a social life,” Bailey said. “Being able to time-manage is a big goal for me and I think that planning [ahead] will help me out a lot.” 

Being able to time-manage is a big goal for me and I think that planning [ahead] will help me out a lot.

— Emme Bailey

Being able to learn in a different environment through the CAPS program has been eye opening for Bailey. She makes rounds with nurses and is able to see what it takes to become an Emergency Department nurse. She said this experience has helped her decide what she wants to focus on in college.

“I’ve gotten to go on a lot of rotations, like labor and delivery, and I was even able to see a baby being born,” Bailey said. “There’s [also] a lot of low-profile ones where it’s just someone getting an MRI or a CT scan. That helped solidify if I want to do anything in medicine.”

With sports and academics to worry about, Bailey is also applying for a scholarship to help with the college payments. Although many seniors are stressed over scholarship applications, Bailey said she is not worried about her scholarship application because she is confident in her writing abilities and people skills. 

“It involves writing an essay and then doing interviews, which I think is totally down my alley because I am on yearbook,” Bailey said. “I love talking to people, I love listening to people and I am very extroverted. If you can earn money from that, that’s amazing.”