Starting any new chapter in life can be scary and stressful, especially when you're still a teenager. Applying to colleges is a big step, but what can be even worse than the actual application part is not getting an answer immediately and having to wait for that college acceptance letter. From finishing up finals to deciding where to go to school and then having to wait for that acceptance, there are a lot of stressors that occur during this period of time. We've put together some tips on how to remain stress-free despite college applications and results.
Anyone who is looking at colleges knows the stress. First, you have to decide which ones you'd even like to apply to. Then there are the applications, many of which require essays, which means extra work, all while keeping up with your homework and schoolwork because that final GPA is exceptionally important. With our tips on how to remain stress-free despite college applications and results, you will hopefully still be able to enjoy your senior year, without too much stress.
Start your applications early
You may just be starting the summer before your senior year or just beginning the school year, but it's important to start your applications early. You'll save yourself time and energy, and can really take time to decide which schools are best for you to apply to without feeling rushed or pressured if you have a deadline looming.
Ask teachers for letters of recommendation early on
It may be tempting to wait until the last minute, but keep in mind these teachers are writing several of these letters, so the sooner you ask the better. Also, make sure to ask teachers who really had a chance to get to know you and work with you during the year, rather than one that is more well-known, but doesn't really know you as well. Colleges don't know what teachers are popular at the high school and they don't care, they want to know about you, and a teacher who got to know you will provide more information with that recommendation than someone with vague knowledge of you.
Think about your essay before writing it
If you aren't someone who can just sit down and crank out an essay, take your time with it. Think about your life and what makes you stand out and why this college will benefit from you attending and vice versa. Don't make the mistake of trying to be what you think they want. That's not going to help and can hinder your essay and application. Instead, take time to think about how you can express yourself and your life's achievements in a letter.
Don't ask around to see where everyone else is with the process or if they've heard back yet
Not all acceptance letters are sent out on the same day and there is no need to unnecessarily stress yourself out by asking your friends if they got their acceptance yet when yours hasn't appeared. You all may get into the exact same school but at different times.
Sit down and talk things through with your family
Communicating your anxieties, stressors, and hopes for the future can really help you to determine not only where to go, but how to afford it, and where you will live. It may seem like a difficult conversation to start, but once you get into it, you'll find that you likely feel much better after sharing some of those fears and nerves you may have. It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious while planning for your future, but your family can help ease those nerves and reassure you that while it seems like a huge decision, it's not going to make or break your life.
Don't be afraid to apply to several different schools
Apply for a few that you know you will get into, then some you are confident you'll get into, and finally, some that are a bit more of a reach. You never know if you don't try, and the more you apply to, the more opportunities you'll have to choose the best college to fit your personality.
Make time to not think about applications
Your senior year is supposed to be fun, so make sure you still are making time to have movie nights with your friends, and go out bowling or to football games. The applications will still be there, but you need to make sure you're not focusing completely on them to the point where they are consuming your life. That won't help with your stress, and will only make it worse. Give yourself some breaks to just relax and enjoy the last year of high school.