Applying to colleges can be stressful, and for teenagers, this decision is one of the biggest they will have made in their lives. College-bound seniors might be feeling overwhelmed and overworked as admissions deadlines loom closer, and the stress will build as they struggle to finish everything on time.
The application process isn’t easy, so students should create a plan of action on how to cope with the added pressure. Parents can also serve as a supportive shoulder to lean on during this busy time. Here are five surefire ways for students to manage college application stress effectively.
1. Start Early
If the thought of applying to college causes you anxiety, then you might be overwhelmed with all the options. Start early by visiting admissions websites, talking to college students or representatives and attending information sessions to figure out where you might want to attend college.
The Common Application prompts are released before summer even starts, so you could get started on your personal statement now. By finishing that essay by the time school starts, you can alleviate some of the stress of balancing classes with the application process.
Another thing you get off your plate early is the letters of recommendation. Think of teachers, mentors or coaches that you have formed a close relationship with over the years. Give them your resume and ask them to write you a letter of recommendation early in the process to ensure they have time to write a thoughtful recommendation.
2. Stay Organized
Regardless of how many schools you choose to apply to, there can still be a lot of information and conflicting dates to remember. Instead of trying to keep track of it mentally, write it down and organize it. List out all deadlines, the cost of attendance, whether you need test scores, how many recommendations schools require and if they require any supplemental essays. As you complete the items on the checklist, cross them off. That way, you are never left wondering if you forgot to answer a supplemental essay question or how many letters of recommendations you need to submit.
3. Ask For Help
You aren’t expected to do this all on your own. Ask a trusted adult, like a parent, teacher or school counselor for help with an essay, your college list or any other part of the application. You could even consider hiring an independent counselor to be your guide and assist you with more specific issues. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
4. Reuse What You Can
Luckily, the Common App makes it easier for students to apply to multiple schools a little quicker. You won’t have to refill out your basic information numerous times, and you can send your personal statement to all the universities that accept the Common App. However, some schools will require supplemental essays. As you apply to more schools, you might realize you have to write on a similar topic for multiple schools. Reuse the content when you can, but make sure that each essay is still tailored to the particular school and fully answers the specific prompt.
5. Keep A Positive Attitude
You will get in somewhere! If you have planned ahead, written genuine essays that reflect your personality and applied to a balanced list of colleges, then you will likely get into a school that is the perfect fit for you. College application season can be stressful, but by taking these steps, you can manage the workload and find your place at the college of your dreams.