Minimize Personal Pressure During College Application Process

Plan Ahead To Help Minimize Stress Burden

Upcoming high school juniors and seniors may soon start feeling college admissions pressure. While juniors have some time to get things together and prepare themselves, seniors may suddenly feel overwhelmed by the amount there is to do in a short period of time. Some pressure is self-inflicted because important actions were put off way too long.

While many have a general idea of testing, application, scholarship and financial aid deadlines, others are surprised to discover all that is involved for each step of the process.

The more they procrastinate, the more pressure there is. The best way to minimize stress is to take control of the process. Here are some suggestions that can help beat the college crunch feeling:

  • Information: If this is the first time that parents have sent a child to college, there are many unknown factors. The best offense in this situation is to take time right now and gather as much information as possible. Help your student develop a list of possible colleges, narrow it down to the top ten, find out the application requirements, learn about testing dates, and research scholarship opportunities.
  • Organization: Right now it seems like a lot of unmanageable information, so start sorting it out by the various categories. Then start finding official deadlines and backtrack by at least a week for each of them to set your personal deadline, so you won’t have any last-minute scrambles. List out the requirements for each task and estimate the amount of time that will be required, so you can establish a starting point for each.
  • Preparation: Set aside a separate area of the house for college work, and develop a system for filing written information as it is received. Put a calendar on the wall or set up computer task lists to remind you of what needs to be done every day. As you collect information for one purpose, think about whether you will need it for another task. If so, make copies or cut and paste it into that computer file. For example, you may be gathering information for your financial aid application, but you might also need the same data for certain scholarship applications. Make two copies right off the bat, and keep the original in a master file so you won’t waste time searching for documents.
  • Calculation: Find out now how much each school costs, and try to get a reasonable estimate of the amount of financial aid you can anticipate. Learn about student loans, and set a budget as to how much you think you can reasonably borrow. If a college is out of reach financially, make that decision now instead of waiting until the last minute and dealing with a lot of unnecessary drama.
  • Dedication: This is a process that is going to take a lot of dedicated effort. Schedule time each week to attack various activities in small bites. This will help keep you on track, while keeping you from feeling like it’s just too much to do.

The student also has to think about the upcoming academic year. You want to have reasonable classes that challenge your mind and show progress to the admission officers, but don’t want to overextend yourself by taking too many challenge courses. Include a reasonable amount of extracurricular activities to show a well-rounded character. It looks like a lot, but take heart. Today’s college graduates were facing the very same challenges just a few short years ago. If they made it through, so can you!