Students seek support from staff on college apps

Denycely Cante and Briana Maciel

Morton East students are starting to prepare for college in a confusing year.

According to Inside Higher ED,  many students haven’t started to apply at colleges. Many students are worried about not being able to afford classes. A lot of colleges require you to pay for your application and students will be afraid to apply, in fear they won’t get accepted knowing the application fee is non-refundable. Recently, many students are anxious and having anxiety about applying to colleges because first-generation might not know how to apply and won’t have the guidance available to them at home to help with the process and also, because COVID is in place drastically changes everything, such as the classes, being able to attend in-person campus, and if they’re going to be able to travel to out of state colleges. In a random survey of 10 Morton East students, 5 students have reported they have applied to colleges. Additionally, in a random survey of 10 Morton East staff, 9 staff members claim students come to them for help in applying to colleges.

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, College enrollment in fall 2021 is expected to be about 6 percent lower than the peak of 21.0 million in fall 2010.

“No, because I’m not very informed on how to apply and because I’m lazy to look into it as I have no guidance. I also lack the motivation to care about it right now,” senior Yuliana Marin said.

In addition to this, according to CollegeXpress, “52% of students said they are more concerned about paying for college since the outbreak”. Applying or not knowing how to apply for financial aid has been a reoccurring statement for Morton East seniors.

“No, because I haven’t thought about what career path I will be pursuing and what colleges are good for me personally. I’m also unsure how to apply for FAFSA,” senior Nicole Villa said.

“For financial aid assistance, we have a partnership with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) who have been working with East students and families with completing various financial aid applications and searching for scholarship opportunities,” Guiding counselor Mr.Smith said.

However, while college debt is the single greatest cause for concern among students and parents,  According to Princeton’s ”College Hopes and Worries Survey,  85 percent of students are awarded financial aid. 

“Yes I’ve applied to colleges because I want to make sure I get into a good school to secure my future and have my options open to different schools,“ senior Margarita Quezada said.

“Yes because it will lead me to my intended career and I aspire to make a name for myself as I’m studying to become a professional photographer. The college will be one of the first stepping stones to get me where I want to be,” senior Joseph D said.

According, to higher education many students aren’t prepared for college because Covid is still in place or they don’t know where to apply.

“No, because I really don’t know how to but atm I’m learning about how it works and how to apply but for me, as an athlete, I want to apply to a college that’ll really benefit me in the long run I just simply want to see what are my options,” senior Miguel Espino said

“For students who do not know where to start, they should make an appointment with their counselor or a College and Career Center staff member immediately. With regard to college suggestions, this really depends on each individual student. For example, information such as a student’s academic record and intended major are key factors in determining which colleges may be a good fit. Also, specific college characteristics such as location, size, campus environment, academic programs, financial aid opportunities, and cost of attendance should also be considered when a student is creating their college list. Counselors and College and Career Center staff can help students identify potential post-high school plans to explore,” Mr.Smith said.

“No I have not because I haven’t found the right college I want to apply for,” senior Naomy Campos said

“I have not applied to college but I want to. I haven’t yet bc I have been dealing w a lot of work for my classes and I don’t want to fall behind so I am planning to apply during thanksgiving break. Ms.Avila and Ms.Smith from the college and career center are very approachable and today my psychology teacher was answering a lot of college-related questions during class so I think all of that is helpful, as well as the skyward messages about helping out with FAFSA,” senior Marisol Nuñez said.

Additionally, Morton East high school elevated their publicity of the college and career center by having posters empowering where to get assistance and make appointments with Mr.Ryan or Ms.Avila.

“At Morton East, students can seek assistance from their school counselor and College and Career Center staff for assistance with planning for life after high school. This includes assistance with identifying colleges to add to a student’s list and helping students through the application process. This also includes post-high school planning assistance for students who do not plan on attending college. Students can make an appointment with their counselor or a College and Career Center staff member here: Also, the College and Career Center created a Virtual College and Career Center page this year for students to access information regarding career exploration, college planning, and financial aid resources. The link for this can be found on our school website and is sent to students through the Skyward message system weekly. I am also providing it here:,” guiding counselor Mr.Smith said.

Students need to reach out to their counselor and ask for help because these counselors can guide students on their applications. Morton East high school are utilizing various apps to get students and counselor to communicate.

Juniors and Seniors can sign up for college representative visits through this link: Students can also visit the College and Career Virtual Lab at Most importantly, students should reach out to their counselors via email, Teams, or through the school’s website to plan a meeting to discuss their individual post-secondary plan.” Counselor Ms.O’Neill said.