Manage the College Application Process Sanely
You remember the feeling. The anxiety. The pressure. The dread that is the college application process.
Nowadays, the stresses on high school students are even greater, with increasingly larger numbers of qualified students applying to schools, which means fewer potential spots open for them. When you factor in requirements like SAT tests, AP exams, essays, financial aid, not to mention keeping up your G.P.A., it can get downright overwhelming. As if being is high school wasn’t hard enough already! Parent of students going through this process tend to get just as caught up in the madness and mayhem as their children, if not more, which only leads to more stress on everyone. Fortunately, there are some ways to smooth this potentially obstacle-riddled path to college. And, no, you won’t be tested on this.
Alicia on ‘Timetables’
‘Most of the stress from the college application process stems from deadlines. With everything seemingly due on the same day, those last few days and hours are usually spent scribbling essays, collecting recommendations, writing checks, and running to the post office. It is a classic case of procrastination, one that is easily remedied with some simple organization. Granted, the eye-rolling teen in the house will scoff at the idea of structured organization, but as deadlines approach, it will all be worth it.’
Sarah on ‘The Perfect Fit’
‘With more than 4,000 colleges and universities to choose from, the process of finding the right school for your child is a daunting one. Nobody likes to get rejected either, so the tendency is to apply to a large a number of schools in order to increase the odds of acceptance. While this tactic is certainly understandable, it isn’t efficient. With time being as tight as it is, helping your child focus on their top choices will increase the quality of the applications, while decreasing the amount of last minute stress.’
As the application process hits its peak, here are a few tips for keeping those last minute freak-outs to a minimum.
#1. The Top 5
At this point, your child has probably looked at brochures, visited campuses, and heard from advisors, all telling them where they should go. By sitting down with them and narrowing their school choices down to a manageable number of five, they can focus on creating the best applications possible for those specific schools. If they finish those five applications and have time for others, that’s great. At least they’ve done a thorough job on the ones that really matter.
#2. Help, Don’t Hover
There are plenty of ways to assist your child’s application process while not giving the impression like you’re micro-managing. Talk with them about all the different activities they have going on in their life (schoolwork, extra-curricular activities) and together make a calendar of when different applications are due, and how that will fit into the schedule. By focusing on the most important responsibilities, and eliminating any unnecessary tasks, they’ll stay focused without feeling pressured.
#3. Take a Break
Sometimes, the best way to relieve stress is to simply get away from the environment that’s causing it. When your child’s life seems about to be swallowed whole by the applications, take a weekend off to do nothing related at all to college. When it’s been drummed into their heads that where you go to college will affect the rest of their lives, going on a camping trip, or spending the day seeing movies, always helps to get some perspective on the matter at hand.