Navigating the college application process without a breakdown

May 29, 2012

Applying to colleges is notoriously exhausting. It's hard enough to be a full-time high school student, but to search out schools and try your hardest to impress college admissions counselors while also producing essay after essay is a full-time job in itself.

No one would blame you for going a little manic and taking a few evenings off, but try your best to stay sane throughout the process. These eight most harried months of your life will lead right into the four best years of your life.

Still stressed? Keep these thoughts in mind.

1. You'll find a school for you. There are lots of schools out there, and while not each one is a perfect fit for you, there are a lot of them that are great matches. Shop around and consider each school carefully, but also know that the options open to you are vast, no matter your GPA or SAT scores.

2. Don't compare colleges. This seems like it should be a moot point, but it's not. College isn't about names, it's about education. If your goal major isn't well-supported at Harvard, then why would you apply? There's something to be said for name-brand schools, but there's a lot more to be said about a fuller education. As the acceptance letters begin rolling in among your friends, keep in mind that their matches aren't your matches.

3. Keep yourself organized. For some students, this is the hardest part. You will have a lot of paperwork going out and coming in from a number of schools. When it's all said and done, you can toss it all in the recycling. Until then, don't get it mixed up - this will save you many headaches.

4. Apply for college scholarships. Applying for scholarships now might seem like more stress, but take comfort in the fact that you are saving yourself trouble down the road and putting considerable money back into your pocket. Scholarships can also help you attend that college or university that might be just financially out of reach. Secure good financial aid for college and you will be securing a better education.

One of the most important goals of the application process should be to make it through without a breakdown. College is a blast and so are the final months of high school - once you're over the hump, it's smooth sailing. Stay relaxed, stretch, go for a jog, meditate, think about your bright future.

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