Top 5 Ways to Deal With the Stress of the College Process

Senior year of high school is one of the most stressful periods in a young person’s life. The college process can seem never ending. In between visiting, applying to, and choosing a college, high school juniors and seniors must continue to finish their regular school work. If you are a high school senior, there is a good chance you've had a host of stress-filled moments in which you want to just fall asleep, or even die. Here are the top five ways to deal with the stress of the college process:

1) Paper Control. The sheer amount of paper included in this one year is astounding. Students receive a large share of important documents, including the all-important admission decision letters, financial aid packets andenough “we want you to come to our college” mail to satisfy an industrial-sized paper shredder's hunger. If there is one item that will make the college process just a little easier, it’s a three-ring binder labeled “COLLEGE.” Here, you’ll be able to save everything in an organized manner. And I mean everything, because you’ll want to keep the pre-paid envelopes some colleges provide you with to send back your admission decision. Here are the sections, separated by dividers, that you will need:

Applying: The application process is long and tedious. In this section, you should keep all of your college essay and supplemental drafts and your paper applications (If you’re applying to school that hasn’t yet turned to the web for their application process).

Admission: Keeping the letters that contain the admissions decision is very important. It’s not only important for memory sake, but also to confirm your admission into the college with your high school. Many schools will send you a folder-type package containing your admission decision and useless items such as maps of the location and the school’s bumper sticker to persuade you to enroll. It is crucial that only the documents containing your admission information are added to this section.

Finance: College is one of the biggest financial investments you will make in your lifetime.In this section, youshould keep track of your scholarships offers (usually come in the same package as admission letters) and financial aid packages. You can refer to these documents while making your enrollment decision, as you weigh the cost and benefit of each school.

Useless: Basically, put any paper in this section if it contains no useful information. You probably could throw these papers out, but it is a good idea to keep them for your records.

2) Don’t be late for a very important date. Deadlines for applications, scholarships, and financial aid will creep up very quickly. The best idea for keeping track of these very important dates is to use the old-fashioned calendar on the wall technique. The visual worth of the calendar on your wall is immense. I recommend, if you want to be VERY organized, to use a different colored marker for each school you are applying to or for each different phase in the college process. This way, you won’t mix up multiple schools and end up missing a do-or-die deadline for one of your top choices.

3) Everyone is on the same boat, USS Stress. One of the best ways to deal with stress is to vent to people who are going through the same process. Talk to your friends and acquaintances, as they are stressed too. Having large amounts of stress by yourself isn’t healthy, but with other people, you can laugh (and cry) about it together.

4) S.O.S. please someone help me. There are plenty of people willing to help you. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to talk to your parents, guidance counselors, or representatives from the colleges you’re interested in. It isn’t your fault that you don’t know exactly how to confront this enormous process. You have never done this before, so it is OK if you require some assistance to get you on the right track. Going through this process alone will only add to your stress.

5) Sit down. Never taking a break is one mistake many high school students make, resulting in a ballooning amount of stress. Too many students think they need to be saturated in the college process throughout the year. But, that isn’t necessary. Sit down, or go do a fun activity with your friends. If your brain can’t take a short hiatus from the stress, it will eventually melt under the pressure. Relieve the stress and enjoy your senior year!

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Elliot Friar

I just really enjoy politics and pop culture. Follow me: @elliot_friar.

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