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4 Ways to Ace College Applications Stress-Free


It takes time to collect the materials they need to put their best foot forward and impress schools – especially letters of recommendation and transcripts – so it’s smart to have a generous head start.

For high school seniors, it is officially that time of year: college application season. Those crucial few months they’ve spent their entire high school career preparing for have arrived, and the pressure is on.

There is a lot on seniors’ plates: challenging coursework, leadership roles in campus clubs, crafting a stellar college essay, meeting application deadlines, and more. But this doesn’t mean senior year has to fly by in a frantic blur; it’s important – for them, and for you as parents – that they be able to enjoy their last year. The best way to do that is to manage stress effectively.

So, take a deep breath together, and make sure they’re following these 4 tips for staying calm and cool during the college applications process:

  • Balance Time. While applications are the priority, it’s crucial to create a balance that allows for personal time. It’s easy for seniors to overbook themselves. Therefore, it’s a great idea to encourage your student to allot their time intentionally; build specific times for applications and schoolwork into their schedule and hold themselves to that plan by working only during specific, designated times.
  • Stay Organized. Lack of organization can be a huge stressor when there are seemingly infinite deadlines to meet. Seniors can avoid this pitfall by using these simple and helpful tools:
    • A Calendar. Dedicate a physical/digital calendar to tracking important dates like application deadlines, scholarship closing dates, and college talks/fairs.
    • A Spreadsheet. Use this to organize the application requirements for each school they’re applying to and make sure nothing is missed. The Common App provides a useful “application requirements” grid to get started.
  • Start Early. Time is everything when due dates are fast approaching. The best thing your student can do to avoid a last-minute time crunch is to start now! It takes time to collect the materials they need to put their best foot forward and impress schools – especially letters of recommendation and transcripts – so it’s smart to have a generous head start.
  • Use Community. Seniors need to remember that they are far from alone! According to the Princeton Review 2022 College Hopes and Worries Survey, 76% of college applicants report high stress about applications. If they find themselves a part of this frazzled majority, it’s time to rely on you and others who make up their “people.”
    • Talk to friends and mentors who are familiar with the process and will be able to empathize.
    • Stay in touch with the school guidance counselor. They’ll be happy to lend a helping hand; it’s their job to guide graduating seniors through times like these!

With these 4 tips in mind, we have no doubt that your senior will crush their college applications with a level head. By handling stress like a pro, they’re one step closer to success!

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