Looking back at NC college applications


Jessica Joachim

Over the years, the process of applying to college continues to change with new technological innovations, altering the way universities receive and send out applications. Today, technology gives students access to more colleges and universities. “I’m applying to five colleges. I value having choices and I don’t want to be locked into only applying to one or two schools,” Magnet senior Chandler Quaile said.

Jessica Joachim, News Editor

The beginning of senior year signifies an important time for students as college applications open. A set of instructions lead seniors to take the necessary steps for applying to college and preparing for the next step in their lives. However, the current process differs from that of students in the past.

A lack of emphasis on going to college in the past prevented a higher attendance rate from students. Now, as higher education becomes more encouraged and expected, the problem of limited acceptance arises.

“With more students applying to colleges, it’s harder to get in. In 1988, the acceptance rate for Columbia University was 65%; as of 2014, it’s 7%, according to US News & World Report,” senior reporter for Business Insider, Hillary Hoffower said.

Prior to major computer advancements, college applications took place on paper. With new technology, more options open for the introduction of college applications on computers to become available.

“Georgia Tech has a new application program called Apply By Computer. North Cobb is connected with the network. The system is available during school hours and evenings… It only takes ten minutes and it’s supposed to be easy for anyone to use,” (Larry Jarrad, 1988), said

Nowadays, computers create a space for students to easily gain access to their choice colleges’ information and explore their options. The Common App platform allows seniors to create an account and upload their basic information for availability to colleges and universities they apply to. This year, NAVIANCE  accompanies the Common app and enables students to upload their information in the same place as their teacher recommendations. 

Along with the beginning of college applications, the average tuition for college also changes throughout the years.

“In 1980-81, the average college tuition was $6,665; this includes 1988-89 college education is an estimated $12, 511,” (Lori Guthrie, 1987) said. 

With more scholarships available, students can research more options for higher education. Scholarships exist for various groups based around race, gender, characteristics, or hobbies. Even unexpected and weird foundations provide an outlet for students to avoid paying substantial amounts for tuition. The Make Me Laugh Scholarship allows students an opportunity to create funny stories for a chance to win scholarship money.

Class clowns, jokers and anyone with a funny story (real or made up) to tell: You’ve got a shot at $1,500 simply for sharing. Whatever makes the sponsor LOL the hardest is the winner,” staff member on The Penny Hoarder, Kelly Gurnett said.

Despite these unique and plentiful scholarship opportunities, attending college still requires a significant amount of money from students in comparison to the past.

“College tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s. From the late 1980s to the 2017-18 school year, the cost of an undergraduate degree rose by 213% at public schools… Back then, the average annual tuition for public college was just $1,490, or $3,190 in today’s dollars, compared with today’s price tag of $9,970, according to Student Loan Hero,” Hoffower said. 

Changes in society occur as time passes, resulting in the generational differences between students and their parents who applied to college before them. Technological advancements and cultural norms cause transformations in college applications today.

“The price of a good college education is ridiculous. Something should be done about it! Although no easy or immediate solution is at hand, the best advice is to start saving early and turn in applications and financial aid forms,”  Jarrard said.