If you are starting the college application process, congratulations! I’m not going to lie, it might seem like a long and stressful process, but it’s crazy exciting at the same time. Here are some tips for surviving it unscathed:
During the college application process, schools will want the same specific information that you’ll probably find yourself writing about over and over again. Keep a list of these documentations so they will be easily accessible when you need them: test scores from the SAT and ACT, your social security number, high school transcripts, your resume, and any honors or awards you have received.
Also create an accomplishments resume summarizing your achievements and any awards, interests, and activities. This will give you something to reference when you’re working on your applications, and you can give it to a teacher or mentor to help them write you a letter of recommendation.
Once you’ve started on your college essays, try to reuse what you write as much as possible on different applications. Be sure to adjust a few sentences or put in a paragraph to add customizations for each school you apply to, but this will save you lots of time.
Staying organized is a major key to get through this long process. Make sure you keep all of your paperwork and notes in order so you can easily get to them later on. This will also keep you stress-free (or, at least, slightly less stressed), so you won’t have to look through a pile of papers when you need something right away.
Save Your Work
Ctrl + S, Command + S, File + Save as, or whatever else you have to do - make sure you save your work! Just imagine how horrible it would be if all of your hard work was suddenly lost. Save all of your drafts, finished work, etc. Just like the paperwork, stay organized. Make a file for each school with all of your college application documents so you can easily access them.
It is important that you narrow down your college list to the top 10-12 schools that you’re interested in going to. You can do this by comparing the total estimated cost of attendance, the campus itself, the major you want to take up and if the school has a good program for that, as well as other aspects that are important to you. You should also look through the school’s website and call the admissions and financial aid office for more detailed information. Once you have your top schools, start applying!
Schedule Work Times
Completing college applications and searching for college scholarships requires a lot of time and dedication. Plan out a specific time during the day to conduct the search and to start the application process. Once you have a set time, stick to it so it can become a habit. If it helps you stay focused, try to set different times during the day to space out your work sessions.
Filling out application after application can cause a lot of stress, exhaustion, and frustration. And your brain isn’t the only thing that’s fried - staring at a screen can cause discomfort and stress on the eyes, too. It is good to step away from the computer to rejuvenate yourself before starting up again. Don’t keep working if you are tired and unfocused, because you won’t be giving your best effort.
Give Your Parents a Break
From my experience, my mom spent a lot of time helping me get through my college applications. So, not only was it stressful for me, it was for her too! If your parents are like mine, and dedicate their time to helping you, give them a break and take over for a while. Go to them only when you have questions or concerns, and don’t forget to show them your appreciation.
Filling out college applications is hard, but you must stay positive throughout the process. Google other people’s success stories to keep you motivated. Just think about how good you’ll feel when you get accepted into your dream school!