College stresses and the CCRC’s successes


Photo courtesy of Andrea Rusk

This was a picture from Sep. 16, 2022 in the CCRC during a college visit from a representative of the University of Missouri. Hosting college representatives for students to learn more about that college and ask questions is one of the many ways that the CCRC helps to prepare students for college.

Lia Koski, Reporter

   Tick Tock, Tick Tock. The pounding of the clock strikes with every second, minute, hour, and day. Numerous high school students all over the country are struggling with this internal clock as college applications loom closer and closer. Several of these students here at Mundelein High School, who are choosing the path of college, are trying to avoid buckling under this pressure. 

    Fortunately, for these students, Mundelein High School offers a College and Career Resource Center located in room B105. The CCRC offers all assistance to any student, of any age, and with any potential career or dream of theirs.

   Students like Sri Gaddam and Jackie Pienta, both seniors, are experiencing the bittersweet feelings that come along with applying for college and graduating high school in May. 

   “It’s scary, not only does it mean that you’re not going to be at home, but you’re also leaving all your friends and everything you’ve known for the past seventeen or eighteen years of your life,” Pienta stated.

   Gaddam is also feeling these melancholy feelings, yet at the same time is still “excited to get some new opportunities and be more responsible.” 

   Pienta is applying to many schools for early action, meaning that the deadline is Nov. 1. Some of these schools include Notre Dame, University of Madison Wisconsin, Miami University of Ohio, and more. She is interested in heading down the medical path. 

   Meanwhile, Gaddam wants to study computer science. He is also applying to several schools with a deadline on Nov.1 such as the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Purdue, University of Chicago, and some Ivy League schools like Princeton and Cornell University. 

   Especially when applying to rigorous schools, students can feel anxious about submitting their essays or supplemental questions. “There’s a lot of supplemental questions for Ivy League schools, and they aren’t always the most straightforward questions,” Gaddam said. For example, he was given questions like “What’s a soundtrack that represents your life?” and “What’s your favorite memory?” “So you have to spend a lot of time thinking about the appropriate response for these situations,” he added. 

   Therefore, “The whole entire month of October is definitely a stressor,” Pienta said.

   However, the CCRC can help to alleviate some of this stress through the countless resources that they offer. The CCRC is mainly run by College Counselor Andrea Rusk, but it also includes staff members like Amy Bogseth, Rosangela Fiore, and Yazmin Patino, who all have different specialities. The CCRC hosts numerous workshops that help students learn more about the application process, write their college essays, apply for scholarships and financial aid, and so much more. Not to mention their frequent college visits from “over 100 different college representatives,” as Rusk said.

   When describing what students should do about the pressure they feel from applications, Rusk mainly recognized how every student is different and has different needs pertaining to their future. “It’s individualized and it depends on what they need, you do what you need for your specific anxiety. We provide the support individually, but we have it for almost any type of need,” Rusk stated.

   Furthermore, Rusk explained that there is no right or wrong way to go about the application process. For instance, she has had several students who haven’t begun the application process until college week (a few weeks before the applications are typically due), yet they thrive off of procrastination. “I have had students walk in my door with just an idea for an essay, sit down in the CCRC for a class period, and then leave with a beautiful, amazing essay written,” Rusk said. 

   Rusk has also had over 100 individual meetings with students just so far this year. Students can schedule these meetings through the online CCRC website in the MHS school homepage She explained how “a good number of these meetings are students that come in and look at me and say ‘I just don’t know where to start,’ and we start. So that you can go forward feeling confident in yourself.”

   Students like Gaddam and Pienta admit that these meetings are extremely helpful to them, and they utilize the resources that Rusk provides often. In fact, Pienta goes to visit the CCRC every day during her study hall. 

   “I honestly don’t believe that there is a student at Mundelein High School that can say that there were no resources or help available to them. There is something here for everyone, and we just hope that students will come in and utilize these resources,” Rusk said. 

   Seniors like Gaddam and Pienta recommend getting a head start on the application process when applying to college in order to prevent further anxiety. Students should “reach out for help to their peers and their teachers because they have valuable insight,” Gaddam said. They should also try to avoid the tempting road of procrastination. “You tell yourself you’re going to do it, and then you tell yourself that you’re going to do it tomorrow, and then it becomes October and you’re stressed,” Pienta stated.

   The end of high school can seem like a long, scary tunnel for students who may not know what will emerge in their future. Nonetheless, Rusk and other CCRC staff members encourage students to let them offer their assistance and resources in order to shed a guiding light on their college application experience.