Surviving College Application Season
How to Stay Calm During Senior Year
For high school seniors going through the college application process, stress and anxiety can seem all but inevitable. While it may be impossible to keep nerves entirely at bay, there are several steps students can take to stay calm throughout their final year of high school.
From staying on top of deadlines to focusing in on your passions, students who take a proactive approach to their applications are likely to feel more confident and in control. Keep reading for some of our top tips to stay relaxed throughout application season and end the school year on the best note possible.
Create a plan of action
College application season can feel particularly stressful for students who wait until the last minute. Instead of working down to the wire on all of your applications, strive to work through the essays and supplements you need to do strategically. Take note of all of the different deadlines and important dates you need to keep on your radar and work through your most pressing application components first. Checking off multiple items from your college to-do list will help you feel empowered about the process and likely inspire you to continue your thoughtful work.
Come back to your passions
Remember that at the end of the day, college isn’t about a name-brand bumper sticker. Instead, it is an opportunity to further explore the interests and causes that most deeply resonate with you. There is a tendency during senior year to become completely preoccupied with application season, but students who continue to pursue their interests are at an advantage. While it is important to set aside ample time for the application process, remain committed to your after-school activities as well. Extracurricular activities give students an outlet and can be useful for maintaining a level of normalcy throughout senior year.
Keep an open mind
Even students who have a single, first-choice college should avoid pinning all of their hopes and dreams on this institution. In contrast, applicants who become excited about each of the best-fit schools on their list are likely to remain calmer throughout the process and feel more prepared to attend any institution. Instead of fixating on one school, keep an open mind about which college you will ultimately attend. Research every institution on your list and get excited about all of the promising opportunities that await.
Trust the process
The college application process is undoubtedly stressful, but trust that it will all work out in the end. Students who do their due diligence and compile a balanced list of target, reach, and likely institutions should feel confident that they will gain acceptance to a college that truly aligns with their needs and goals. Remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all path for higher education; some students may benefit from a gap year, some may thrive at a research institution, while others will excel at a small liberal arts college. Focus on your own journey.
Schedule in some “me” time
First semester of senior year is jam-packed with college application work and school-related commitments, but it is important to pencil in some down time as well. Set aside a few hours each week to do something that truly brings you joy and helps you relax. Options like a weekend hike, spa night, or trip to the movies can all be excellent choices to help students unwind and have fun.
College application season certainly comes with stressors, but students who trust the process and focus on their work should feel confident and excited about what’s to come. If you are preparing your college applications and need additional guidance, our team of college admissions experts are here to help.