Finances top priority for college applicants, study suggests

The Princeton Review released a survey Tuesday that reports on the college hopes and worries of 14,150 students and parents. GRAPHIC BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Princeton Review released a survey Tuesday that reports on the college hopes and worries of 14,150 students and parents.
GRAPHIC BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

While a recent study indicates that financial aid is the major concern for college applicants, Boston University students cited other sources of pressure alongside their monetary concerns during the college application process.

Alexandros Lotsos, a College of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said finding the time to complete his college supplements was the primary source of his application tension.

“The college-specific essays that changed from college to college were pretty tough and took a lot of time,” Lotsos said. “I applied to 17 or 18 schools, so getting all those essays done during senior year was so hard. I’m Greek, and with the school system in Greece, you have a lot of work senior year, so there was not that much time to write supplements.”

The “College Hopes and Worries Survey,” which is conducted annually by the Princeton Review, sought to gauge the primary concerns and expectations of 2014 college applicants. Eighty-nine percent of polled college applicants said financial aid was “Very Necessary” for them to afford a higher education, according to the study.

Olivia Paris-Kornilowicz, a senior in CAS, said she focused the majority of her stress on selecting a meaningful topic for her essay.

“Having to make yourself appealing in an essay to someone who doesn’t even know you is a lot of pressure,” Paris-Kornilowicz said. “It’s the only way for colleges to know you personally, so I felt strongly about making a good impression. I chose what was most important to me and influenced me when I was 17, but it took a while.”

Mark Halstrom, a College of Engineering sophomore, said locating a satisfactory school to spend his college years was the most stressful aspect of his college application process.

“Deciding where to apply is really the hardest,” Halstrom said. “It’s the most important decision you make up until that point, but you have to do it or else you’re not going to go to college … I did not want to go to a crazy competitive school, but it had to be competitive.”

Despite other sources of stress, college affordability is a major source of anxiety for most college applicants.

Jessuly Berrios, a College of General Studies sophomore, said as someone from a family for whom affording college is difficult, receiving scholarships and financial aid was her biggest concern during the college application process.

“Financial aid and finding out how to pay for everything was probably the hardest thing to deal with,” Berrios said. “I am from a minority family, so we don’t have much money in the first place. Paying for college was a big deal. I went to Boston Public Schools and received a huge scholarship to come here, so I’m thankful for that.”

Paul Yap, a School of Management freshman, said he hunts for scholarships in order to save money for his future.

“I look for a scholarship whenever and wherever,” Yap said. “There’s more places than just from the school. Even from companies after you do an internship, they pay you for your education and you work for them. You really have to save your money.”

Halstrom said although paying for college was not an issue for his family, fulfilling the expectations required of BU’s hefty tuition is a large source of anxiety as a student.

“If my dad is going to pay $60,000 a year for college, there’s no room for not doing as well as possible,” Halstrom said. “It’s a lot of pressure.”

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