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Why Mercersburg?

September 30, 2022 at 4:00:00 PM

Talia Cutler '23

For Juniors, Lower-middlers, and Upper-middlers, Fall Term is a time for planning Halloween costumes, relaxing after PGAs, and enjoying free X-block periods. For Seniors, Fall means the continuation of the college application process that started in the Spring, but only now the stakes are far higher, and my mom won’t stop calling. Your favorite scary movie this fall may be The Shining, but I don’t think anyone will see truer horror than watching the realization on a Senior’s face when you tell them the ED deadline is only 30 days away. The Class of ‘23 disagrees a lot when it comes to colleges, like whether Cornell is the worst Ivy (it is), or if liberal arts majors are employable (they aren’t). However, one thing is widely agreed upon in our class: there is very little time in our schedule to actually work on applications. Seniors are some of the most scheduled students on campus. Yet somehow, they are expected to spawn another hour each night to diligently type out supplemental essays. It's a shame this article can’t also be 250-300 words.

Mercersburg seniors should be able to put their all into writing their application essays. How is this possible when they’re being written in whatever ten minute increments students find between classes or after doing 2 hours of Calculus homework? The truth is that students are encouraged to prioritize classwork that is due more immediately. This often pushes college essays to the side. To be fair, the college counseling office schedules programming like “PJ’s and Pancakes” and a few X-block meetings, but there is a consensus among seniors that this is not enough dedicated time to get an adequate amount of work done.

Mercersburg has recently done away with the opportunity to take a PGA term off. This was a privilege seniors in the past had utilized to get their supplements done with more care and attention. Even in-season athletes, who cannot take an entire term off, have expressed interest in getting an excused absence a week from practice. Another solution to this time shortage would be having the college counseling office host essay writing seminars open to students who want a more focused working environment.

As Mercersburg continues to send mixed messages to its students, the Senior class only becomes more confused. Yes, college is your top priority (after your classes and PGA and the school meetings where we sing cultish chants that we require you to attend!). We encourage you to aim high with your college list (How do so many of you think you’re getting into Northwestern?!) Talk to your college counselor about any questions you have (they are booked through October 2024!).

Each day I have a new Common App mantra, today's being: I will treat my safeties like actual options. This article is a cry for help. Everywhere I turn I see a new “Why us?” essay. Instead of counting sheep I count Transcript Request Forms. The only learning I do now is the “Maia” kind, and I “College Kickstart” my day with coffee spiked with Red Bull to make it through family style meals.

Why, Mercersburg! Why Mercersburg?! Why Mercersburg? What immediately drew me to Mercersburg Academy was the supportive student envi-

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