11/15/2011 08:18 am ET Updated Nov 15, 2011

Introducing Our New Column, 'Mission: Accepted'

Senior year: it's the best of times and the worst of times. It's your high school victory lap -- with parties, prom, and pep rallies -- but along with all the fun comes the anxiety-inducing emotional roller coaster that is the college admissions process. For high school seniors across the country, it's a high-stakes game; a seemingly never-ending rat race of exams, essays, applications, AP classes, and extra-curriculars. Their mission? To be accepted at the university of their choice.

Three high school seniors, selected by Minds Matter -- a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping high-achieving students from low-income families by preparing them for college -- will document the ups and downs of their college admissions journey for HuffPost High School. They'll keep us updated on applications and essays, creating 'the list' and visiting schools, acceptances and rejections, and, when the letters come, their decision-making process. In short, they'll give us the real scoop on the good, the bad and the ugly of their senior years, exploring the myriad anxieties surrounding the college admissions process.

First up is David Boone from Cleveland, an aspiring engineer who applied early action to MIT, his first-choice school, and is now discovering that waiting is the hardest part. David writes,

"MIT admissions officers will dissect my life story, my credentials, essays, test scores, grade, letters of recommendation, and anything else they can dig up to decide if I am the right fit for their school... I anticipate the days until MIT’s December 15 decision date will be torturous ones, as I will be nagged with the fear of rejection."

Jennifer Islam from New York City is also being forced to confront her fear of the unknown. She confesses, "I don't know what to do about the fact that I don't know what to do." Jennifer is facing the difficult decision of whether to stay close to home or go out of state, a choice rendered all the more challenging by the fact that both of her parents are ill and need her at home to help take care of her sister's child. The conflict between duty to her family and her desire to go out and experience the world complicates Jennifer's decision and makes it difficult for her to finalize her "über cool college list."

And last but certainly not least, we have Jada Alexander from Boston, who plans on getting a B.A. in English from one of the 21 schools on her list and eventually becoming a teacher. Jada reminds us that to keep your sanity through the whole process, you sometimes just have to laugh along the way. She writes:

I attempted to rant about the [Common App] supplements to my mom -- you know, the ones that require a bunch of essays... and seem like they incorporate some form of reverse psychology. Yes, those supplements. But my mom brushed it off with a “You’ll be fine, Honey,” remark -- the woman had to see it for herself. And when she did, she started laughing and then I busted out laughing right along with her. You see, we weren’t laughing because it was funny. We were laughing because if we weren’t laughing, we would be crying. Laughter eases the college application process, I kid you not.

Follow David, Jennifer and Jada through their journey to college acceptance in our monthly Mission: Accepted series.