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Ways to Manage College Application Stress

There’s an enormous amount of pressure associated with getting into college. And this doesn’t just apply to an Ivy League school like Yale or Brown. According to a recent study, the income gap between someone who has a college diploma and someone who has a high school diploma can be as much as $17,500 per year.

When you consider how often parents talk up getting into colleges like Harvard and Vassar and learn that none of these prestigious schools have an acceptance rate higher than 13 percent, it’s understandable why so many teens burn out before they even set foot in college.

Like any prolonged amount of stress, the pressure put on a teen by college application processes can be debilitating. It’s essential to know how to manage this stress to avoid any significant negative impacts on physical and psychological health.

  1. Don’t Talk about It All the Time

If you or a teenager you know is in the throes of a college application, it’s probably taking over their life. They might be spending every free minute studying up for tests or working on their essays. Their parents and friends might always be asking them about their progress, their GPAs, and which schools have responded to them.

Don’t contribute any more than necessary to this deluge. Talk to them about other things. Ask them about their day, discuss popular culture, or bring up your emotions and other personal news. Focusing on other things can help alleviate some of the stress and give them a much-mental break.

  1. Consider Deferring

Are you or your teenaged child applying for college but feel they’re not ready for it yet? Don’t worry. You’re aren’t alone. According to a survey of approximately 165,00 students, only 45 percent feel like that can handle college or a career.

If you feel like you’re not ready to go to college, you can avoid the stress of applying until you are prepared. This gives you time to focus on what you really want to do in life and whether college is the place for you after high school. Consider entering paid programs for gap-year students in other countries like Australia or Thailand as a way to find yourself and experience other cultures.

  1. Choose Colleges Carefully

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As much as you should believe in yourself or someone else, genuine introspection means understanding your limits. And sometimes those limits include which colleges you can realistically expect admission to. Managing your expectations is an enormous part of managing your stress.

How can you narrow down these colleges? Instead of choosing them because of their reputation or because someone in your family has “always gone there,” find out what you want to do. Is it something technical? Artistic? Once you determine your future career, whittle your school choices to those that specialize in that field. Then take a closer look at your academic performance, capabilities, and finances. Use that information to whittle down choices further until you have a handful where you have a larger chance of getting accepted.

  1. Get Organized

Part of the stress involved in any process is having to locate files, arrange meetings, or submit paperwork. The stress form these minor inconveniences tends to pile up and could even complicate matters further. Don’t take any chances and organize everything that has to do with your application.

Put files in neatly labeled binders that go into their own storage. Create folders and directories for softcopies of submission letters, essays, and name them correctly. Schedule your application processes weeks in advance. By organizing carefully, you smooth your application and allow yourself to focus on essential things.

Getting into a college might be important, but your well-being is more vital. Taking care of yourself should be your primary concern, even during the throes of academic processes. Hopefully, these management tips can make getting into your school of choice easier on your mind.

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