Seniors reach for new heights with College Application Week


College can be a stressful topic with seniors, but with the recent College Application Week, some seniors like Darby Gollaher can now sit back and relax.

“It is a lot easier than I thought it would be,” she said.

During College Application Week, Gear-Up, an organization out of Helena, came to C.M. Russell High School starting on Nov. 11 to help seniors apply to one college in Montana without having to pay the application fee right away.

“I knew there’d be people around to help us, which was nice because I’d never filled out a college application,” Gollaher said.

Christine Perkins, the school district’s pathways advisor and liaison between high school and college, was one of those people there to help seniors during this opportune period.

“There really are no drawbacks,” she said.

To help advertise and get the college conversation started between students and their teachers, Perkins said that signs were put up outside of every teacher’s doorway, stating what colleges that teacher attended. In addition, the teachers were all encouraged to wear college apparel to help bring students to awareness.

Since this is the first year that Great Falls is taking advantage of this opportunity, Perkins admits that it’s not perfect.

“With this being the first year there’s going to be glitches, there’s going to be speed bumps,” Perkins said. However, she said that these small problems are worth the reward.

Senior Andre Vasquez understands the reward. He said that if the opportunity to apply for free hadn’t existed, he probably wouldn’t have applied to a college in Montana.

“I’m enlisted in the army, so I was just thinking that once I’m in I’ll just go to any college that’s nearby,” he said.

Vasquez said that College Application Week was a good fit for him because of two reasons.

“It’s free, [and] I don’t need to go anywhere [to apply],” he said.

Patti Ashmore, one of our counselors, agrees.

“What they’re doing now is that you don’t have to pay right now,” she said. This saves students about $30.

She said that the cost depended on the school a student chose to apply to; some schools waived the fee entirely and others just postponed it.

College can be overwhelming to students, Ashmore said, but applying is the first step and it can relieve the stress a little.

“It might seem like kind of a scary thing, but it’s really easy.”