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College Applications: How to Manage the Stress

Student Life

College application season can be highly stressful. This is especially true when you’re balancing sports, clubs, senior year classes, and homework at the same time, while also trying to navigate the stress of the upcoming holiday season. With deadlines approaching, it can be stressful to figure out how to keep yourself grounded and not let the pressure get to you. However, it’s not good to stress yourself out too much, and remember to carve out time to relax. In the meantime, here are five different methods that you can use to help you mellow out while you’re completing this tedious task (and prevent you from going crazy).

Talk to a Close Friend or Family Member

Communication is crucial when you’re tackling a situation like this. Talking to a close friend or family member can be a healthy way for others to give their wisdom and help you through this process. It can be beneficial when the person you’re talking to has gone through the college application process or is currently going through it since they can relate to your struggles and pressures. It’s not good to bottle up your emotions; it will add to your stress. So, talking to another person will allow you to express your thoughts and get clarity about an issue or question you’re struggling with.

Make a Timeline

Making a timeline can help you easily remember and stay ahead of your deadlines. When juggling multiple things at once, losing track of or forgetting something about your application can be easy. You will feel less stressed having your due dates and materials sorted out coherently, allowing you to keep everything in one place.

Stay Organized

Staying organized is one of the most important things you can do when applying to colleges, especially when applying to multiple colleges. Staying organized and keeping track of all your materials will put you at ease while you’re trying to submit all these applications to different schools.

Take Breaks When Necessary

Burnout from the college application process exists. Making sure you take time for yourself can help you take your mind off of applications, and allow you to reset your mind before you go back to finish them. Enjoying time with friends and family can be a great way to take a break since others will surround you. The college application journey may feel like a lonely road, but it doesn’t have to be. You can always look towards your friends and family for support, and they can help be your distraction. At the same time, your focus goes to something other than the 650-word essay due in a couple of weeks.

Meditate

Meditation is a great practice to keep your mental and physical health in check while navigating college applications. Meditation has many benefits, such as giving you peace and balance, which can help your overall health. Meditation can help you refocus your attention off of all those essays you have to write and toward something more calming. Meditation is also known for increasing patience and tolerance while increasing imagination and creativity. Increasing those skills can make it easier for you to tackle any supplemental essays you may need to write. Meditation can also help improve your quality of sleep. Having a good night's rest is extremely important when balancing schoolwork, your social life, and completing your applications.

Be realistic with your expectations

It's easy as seniors to fall in love and idolize one specific school and see this institution as the one place you want to spend your undergrad years in. Many of these "dream schools" usually have low admission rates, so even if you're a competitive applicant, there's no guarantee you'll get in. But you should still apply, and it's alright that your dream school is considered a reach. However, it's essential to understand your chance of being admitted. Talking to your counselor or a mentor about creating a balanced college list that will ensure that even if you don't end up at a super-selective school, you'll still be happy with your choice. Wondering when or if you'll get in can be highly stressful, especially when you're applying early action or early decision and receiving your decisions right before Christmas break. However, ensuring you cover your bases by creating a balanced college list can help make the process less stressful. So it won't matter as much if you don't get into a highly selective school.

Staying Positive

It's easy to let the pressure of college applications get to you and bring you down. Especially when you're anxious and wondering which colleges will accept you. However, you mustn't focus on the "what ifs" and stay positive throughout this process. The more you shift your mindset towards something more positive, the more likely your mood will also shift, and you'll be happier than if you didn't think positively. It can also be challenging for those who view college applications in the extreme "all or nothing" manner because it can seem like the world is ending if you don't get into your top college. You also have to remember that college is a single stop in a long journey you will take throughout the rest of your life. No matter where you end up, as long as you work hard and persevere, you'll accomplish your dreams and end up where you're supposed to be.

Start Early

By starting early, I mean to start now! Starting your application early will allow you more time to develop your application and essays to the best of your ability. You’ll be able to easily take longer breaks and brainstorm while you’re trying to figure out essay topics. Starting early will also allow you to potentially finish early, meaning you would complete the college application season earlier than all your other peers and get to enjoy the rest of your senior year. It will be much easier to pace yourself when you have ample time to focus on your application and, therefore, it will be less stressful.

While it may not be easy now, college application season will come as quickly as it came. On the bright side, it’s only one part of the school year; afterward, you don’t have to deal with them again. Make sure you don’t stress over college applications too much and remember to take time off for yourself. Making sure you take breaks is very important in a process like this. Just be proud of yourself for even applying and taking this huge step toward your future.

Williana Serve
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Williana is currently a Senior in High School. She likes to learn new things especially involving Law & Advocacy. When she’s not doing schoolwork, she can be found watching TikTok, YouTube, or reading.