For many Onslow County seniors, one of the realities of their upcoming graduation is upon them: applying to colleges.

“It’s bittersweet. I’m excited but it really hits you that you are going to be going off to college in a few months,” said White Oak High School senior Charlotte Kuna.

Kuna said she hasn’t yet submitted an application but has been working on her essay, one of the requirements of many college application packages.

It’s harder than she thought it would be.

“I’ve been working on an essay and it’s hard to promote yourself. I’ve always been the type of person who doesn’t like to do that. It is a challenge but I’ve learned to present myself as a capable young adult,” Kuna said.

Monday kicked off College Application Week sponsored by the College Foundation of North Carolina and Kuna said the activities planned at White Oak have helped her to “jump start” her work on her applications.

At White Oak, Tuesday’s senior English classes were devoted to college application activities.

School counselor Rena McAllister, who coordinated College Application Week activities at the school, said it is about more than filling out form.

Students received help in creating an account on the CFNC website and completing a career assessment.

McAllister said when looking at colleges students want to be sure they are applying to schools that have programs for the career path they are interested in. The CFNC website can help connect career interests to potential colleges.

McAllister said it’s important that students prepare and think ahead when applying for colleges but they should also enjoy the opportunity.

“Get excited about applying; understand you are getting ready to do something great. Take advantage of your opportunities because you may not be able to get this moment again,” McAllister said.

High schools across the area are participating in College Application Week and holding activities to answer questions seniors may have about the process and to get the motivated to begin the process.

At Dixon High School guidance counselors are meeting with seniors all week to assist with applications and staff is wearing college apparel.

Southwest High School has counselors available during Power Hour all week to assist and have been sending out reminders about the importance of applying earlier rather than later.

Seniors at Jacksonville High School are able to meet with counselors all week in the media center, where a back room has been set up for college application week activities.

One incentive for seniors is that during College Application Week a number of colleges may waive the application fee.

White Oak High School senior Dashaun Brown, a varsity soccer player, is hoping to get a soccer scholarship and began submitting applications over the summer.

He said there is a lot of information to fill out with each application form and it can be time consuming but online programs help to complete forms with basic information. He suggests having a teacher look over your essays and not to procrastinate.

“Be prepared and do your research,” Brown said.

Coastal Carolina Community College also had representatives on hand at the high schools to assist.

Margery Farner, a CCCC college liaison, encouraged students to do their research and to know what colleges would be the best fit for their career interests rather than randomly filling out applications.

“Make sure you are being intentional in filling out your application,” she said.

Students can go to cfnc.org for more information on applying to college.