Here's How Students Can Manage the College Application Frenzy
We’re less than a month away from regular decision deadlines, and with many early admissions decisions being released this week and next college application stress is at a fever pitch.
With standardized tests, essays, and schoolwork all piling up in December, it’s easy for college-bound seniors to feel overwhelmed, overworked, and just plain stressed about finishing everything on time. Applying to college isn’t easy, so it’s important for students to have a plan of action to cope with the stress and for parents to be supportive parties during this busy time.
Here are five tips to help high school seniors relax and stay on track.
1. Make a to-do list. Staying organized is key to managing the college application process, so sit down and make a list of what you need to complete in the next couple of weeks. Is it some final essays? Do you need to polish your art portfolio? Or do you need to double check that your score reports were sent? Itemize all that materials you need to gather and tasks you need to complete, and set a goal to cross everything off your list a week before applications are due. This gives you time to troubleshoot any issues you come across while submitting your applications.
2. Clarify your plans of action. Did you apply early decision or early action? If so, make sure you have a plan of action for an acceptance, rejection, or deferral. Some colleges even have early decision deadlines in January or February, while other schools have regular decision deadlines Jan. 1, so make sure you’re being strategic about when you’re submitting applications and what admissions round you’re applying in. Knowing what you’re submitting when and how to handle the outcome can alleviate a lot of stress that comes with uncertainty.
3. Ask for help! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, struggling with an essay, or just not sure about other application components – ask for help! Reach out to your college counselor and see if he or she can step in and help clarify some problems you may be facing. Ask teachers or your parents to proofread essays and other application materials. These people are here to help, so be sure to ask for assistance if you need it. If you’re really struggling, it’s also okay to reach out to an independent college counselor who may be able to help with more specific issues. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
4. Take time to decompress. Writing multiple essays, filling out several applications, and organizing all your application materials can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. When finalizing your applications, take breaks every now and then to decompress and reset your mindset. Participate in an activity that you enjoy to take your mind off of college applications for a short time. That way when you return to your work, you will be refreshed, energized, and ready to tackle any challenges with clear eyes and a fresh outlook.
5. Remember, you will get in somewhere! If you planned ahead, applied to a balanced list of target, reach, and likely colleges, and did your due diligence to craft essays that are genuine, you will get into a great-fit college! It may seem far off now, but soon you will have an acceptance in hand, and all of the stress and anxiety of the college application process will be a distant memory.