What You Can Do NOW to Ease the Pressure of Applying to Colleges

Applying to colleges can be stressful, particularly as this fall will be stressful for rising high school seniors as they find your way through the application process.

While it is true that all students go through this trying time, yet not many know that there are ways of dealing with the stress it causes.

Here are some proven ways of managing college application stress:

Manage college application stress
Manage college application stress

1. Don't underestimate the time to start filling out forms:

The point here is not to assume that you still have a lot of time to apply for colleges. Believe that you don't have much time on your side and start early.

Once you begin and start getting things out of your way, you'll feel much better for it.

The supplemental essays and short answers also take a good amount of time to finish, so don't dawdle anymore.

And yes, you don't need to wait till August 1 to fill out the Common Application form, so start as early as you can.

2. Be organized:

If you're disorganized with your communication and forms for college you're applying to, you'll be in a complete mess and getting out of it will be time-consuming.

So, as recommended by Megan Starling, Associate Director of Admissions, Rhodes College, save time by creating folders for each school on your list and file all replies and correspondence appropriately in these files. Also, make a schedule of deadlines and dates for exams and other important dates related to each college you apply to. This makes it easier to tackle on a day-to-day basis.

3. Make your resume:

Create a resume of all your achievements and activities and place it one folder so that it's easy to locate as you work on your applications. Keep your resume succinct and clear. Use help from a resume writing service if you are not confident about drafting an effective resume.

4. Hook up with admission counselors:

Find out all the admission counselors of each of the colleges you're making applications to and send them letters of introduction by email. Though they shouldn't tell them your life story, yet your letters can tell these counselors how upbeat you are about attending the colleges on your list. Besides, it helps to a great extent to make one human contact in important places. Besides, when you meet them in the fall, it becomes easy for them to match your name with your face. The connection is faster and an important link in the application chain.

5. Request your teachers for letters of recommendation:

Talk to your tutors and request them for letters of recommendation that say the right things about you that will add weight to your application documents. Also, in keeping with having all your application-related documents with you early on, it helps also to have these letters of recommendation early enough so that your entire application file is ready and complete. Do not assume that your high school guidance counselor will send the college the recommendation letter or your score sheet themselves. You need to take the initiative to approach them.

6. Give a lot of thought to your essay before you write it:

Students always feel that by dashing off an essay in the first draft, they've accomplished most of their assignment. However, the truth is that it's only by going over it several times that a really good essay is crafted. This naturally requires a lot of time, so if you start early, you get the benefit of it. However, if you don't, it can be very stressful for you. So, spend as much time as you can, trying to write out an impressive but nicely worded essay, marrying fact with good language and a dollop of sincerity.

If you are sure about how effective your admission essay will be, ask yourself, "Am I confident about submitting an essay that will get accepted the very first time, or do I need someone to help me do my essay?" If you find yourself choosing the latter, look for counselors or professional writing services that help with admission essays.

There are many companies that either give you trainings or send you written essays that you can use as a study tool.

7. Learn quick hacks to save time

You need to master a few skills to save time and make the whole process of applying to colleges faster, especially if you are applying to multiple colleges. Improve your typing skills and get comfortable with typing fast on the keyboard. This will help you even in college when you will have to write many essays and term papers.

Get proficient in using Microsoft Word and learn easy tricks that will help you format your document quickly. Learn tips like how to use headings, spacing, alignment and more efficiently so that you can complete multiple essays in a short turnaround.

8. Have back-up plans

Strategize and put things into perspective. Don't depend overly on one choice. Make alternate plans taking into account the possibility of things not working out with plan A. Check your finances and take into account all costs including tuition fees, dorm fees, cost of food and any other expenses.

Discuss the costs with your family and take into account your student loan and any scholarships you may be getting.

9. Send in your acceptance without much delays

Most colleges start sending in acceptance letters by mid of March. The National Candidates Reply Date is 1 May, and so make sure you send in your acceptance of the admission or declining, as the case may be, before that.

If you are an international student and struggle with writing in English well, you can take a quick 1 hours English lesson from a native tutor at Native Monks and learn how to write a well written acceptance letter yourself.

10. Lastly, don't stress about the college

It is true that choosing the right college is a key decision in your life, but what matters more is how much you accomplish in that college. A recent study conducted by Leonard et al. found that students from premier and competitive schools were more prone to chronic stress, which could lead up to depression and substance abuse.

The reason is these affluent schools set high expectations from students including academic rigor, advanced courses and high caliber teachers. So, while you must endeavor to choose a good college, remember to not do so the expense of your physical and mental health.

These few pointers can help you save time, navigate through the application process with confidence and steadfastness, achieving all the requisites of each college. Though the months before the application period can be trying, yet they are an exciting phase of your life, so be positive about it and come out victorious.

Be persistent and you will see you improve with every application you send it.
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