The senior year of high school is made of memories. Prom, senior trips and award ceremonies. What the senior yearbook does not show; however, is the mixed bag of emotions that typifies the college selection process for many seniors throughout the 76109 ZIP code.
As falling temperatures mark the transition from summer to autumn, the pressure for high school students, such as Covenant Classical School senior Elizabeth Webster, simply increases.
Webster, a native of Fort Worth who lives in a portion of the109 at the edges of TCU’s campus, is a good student, a varsity cross country and track team member at Covenant Classical, and an active participant in community service.
Amid a busy schedule stuffed full of classes and athletics, Webster carves out time to tutor a young kindergartner in reading, teach Sunday School to 4-year-old children at her church and lead a Bible Study for a group of inner-city pre-teen girls.
Concern for others has shaped Webster’s career ambitions. Inspired by a younger cousin with Down Syndrome, Webster envisions pursuing a career in child counseling or speech pathology in which she can continue working with and helping children.
Her first step in achieving that goal is selecting a college.
Webster is the high school counselor’s dream: a student who prepared for the SAT before actually taking it and who began her college applications in early August, rather than procrastinating until December application deadlines loomed near.
Despite her headstart, she admits that, “My work did pile up once school started since I had not completed any of my college essays.”
The hardest part of the college selection process,Webster says, has been identifying a school she truly loves. Webster completed her college visits during her junior year and said that, at the time, “It was hard for me to actually visualize myself at college.”
She has finished submitting applications, and the list of schools to which she applied is extensive: University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor University and the University of Texas at Austin.
The University of Alabama was the first to deliver good news. She has been accepted there, but that does not mean she is relaxing yet. The University of Texas at Austin is still her first choice. Webster’s strategy for combating nervousness is one part busyness – her senior year class load is as heavy as ever – and one part positivity.
“I have to constantly remind myself that I have done everything in my power to get into college. My applications are in and now all I can do is stay focused on school, enjoy spending my last year with friends and family, and trust that I will be at a great university next year,” Webster says.
Regardless of which school she attends, Webster is full of excitement.
“I have lived in the same house, in the same town, and gone to the same school my whole life. I cannot wait for a whole new atmosphere. I look forward to having a lot of opportunities in and outside of the university.”
Until Webster, like many of her peers, selects a college sometime before the May 1 college acceptance deadline used by most universities nationwide, little in her life will change. She will study for tests, she will train with her teammates and she will positively impact young lives. Ultimately, she’ll continue creating senior memories.
At some point though, one of those memories will be of the day when she can finally answer the familiar question, “What college are you going to?” with the name of the college that she will soon learn to call home.