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To the Seniors: College Applications and Stress Management | Carson McCloskey

Starting a new school year entirely online during the middle of a global pandemic is stressful for any student of any age. Throw college applications into the mix and you have got yourself a recipe for overwhelming amounts of stress and pressure.It’s easy to let college applications get the best of you, and being on top of them seems impossible during today’s times. Sure, colleges and universities have been lenient this year, with the majority of institutions making the submission of ACT and SAT scores optional, and some even going test blind, like a few of the UC’s (lucky for us California students). But even with accommodations, college applications are still the most stressful part of any student’s high school experience.

Staying on top of college applications can feel very challenging. The constant thoughts of “did I turn in my FERPA on time?”, or “is my essay good enough?”, and “did I take enough AP’s?” can be overwhelming. There are many, many ways to alleviate the stress of college apps. One of the best ways to feel in control of your college application process is to stay on top of them.

One of the most important things you can do to stay on top of your college applications is stay organized. Keeping a planner or calendar of all your deadlines will help you maintain a steady pace with college apps. Having all of your deadlines in one place will allow you to be ready and prepared and create a process where a deadline won’t be able to sneak up on you, especially if you check that planner daily.

Aside from your planner, you should also keep track of all of your usernames and passwords, as well as the websites they apply to, all in one place. The amount of accounts a senior has to make to apply to schools is absurd. Storing them all in one place will eliminate the fear and panic when you can’t remember your common app login information and your USC application is due in five minutes. On top of that, the UC school system requires you to have a different login for every UC campus you apply to, so having your login information in one place will keep you organized and on top of your applications.

Once you are actually ready to submit your application, you should have a parent, sibling, grandparent, or anyone who you trust to view your application thoroughly and proofread your essays. Many times, seniors can ignore mistakes in their essays (not on purpose, of course), but because we’ve been staring at the essay for hours on end every day, that our eyes merely skip through mistakes in our work. Having a fresh pair of eyes reading our essays helps to eliminate mistakes that our eyes could have missed. Also, having someone proofread the rest of the application will also help avoid mistakes.

Working on college applications is arguably the most stressful time during high school, but it’s also the most important. Everything we have ever done in school has led up to this moment, so let’s make it count and keep our eyes on the prize, and keep on top of college applications. We don’t have to sacrifice our mental health just to get into the college of our dreams. Good luck seniors, we can do this.

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