Here Are 5 Tips on Surviving the College Application Season

Photo Courtesy to the Independent Institute

Photo Courtesy to the Independent Institute

The college application season is tedious, complicated, and stressful for all. With early action applications coming around the corner, Parkview’s graduating class must balance the unfamiliar college process with the rigors of AP classes, SATs, and more. Seniors are also grappling with another endemic: senioritis from being occupied with the CommonApp, FAFSA, and scholarships. Here are five tips on how to survive the college application season. 

Tip 1: Make a calendar… and stick to it. 

Although cramming in a 250-word supplemental essay the night before it’s due doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, colleges can recognize hastened writing when they read it. Therefore, even if you’re applying to one college, it is essential to maintain a comprehensive schedule of all deadlines and work towards them.

It doesn’t take a fancy app to keep yourself organized. Use a regular calendar or a Google Spreadsheet. Keep a drive or folder with all college-related material. By maintaining the discipline to dedicate a set amount of time to applications, you won’t find yourself at the last minute asking a friend to read over an essay or requesting a recommendation from a teacher. 

Tip 2: Be precise.

When it comes to a process this diligent, the more detailed you are, the better. When creating your calendar, narrow down all your tasks to the hour. Note down during which hours you plan on working on anything college-related. By doing this, you’ll also have time to keep up with schoolwork or extracurricular activities.  

Tip 3: Use your resources. 

Resources aren’t limited to your counselor or parents. College applications aren’t a new phenomenon; during this time of the year that “just Google it” comes in the handiest. In addition, several free online resources provide information on colleges, scholarships, and financial aid, including CollegeBoard’s BigFuture, Collegevine, Cappex, The College Essay Guy, GA Futures, and more. 

Having several resources at hand may seem overwhelming. However, if you keep note of all the resources you’re using and how they may aid you, you’ll find yourself more comfortable and confident with the application process. Finally, if online resources are too difficult to navigate, refer to a person who has recently gone through the process, such as a current college student. 

Tip 4: Have a good environment. 

Applications are hard work, and hard work requires a suitable environment. Find a workplace to keep yourself focused on your priorities. Changing your environment from time to time can also increase productivity. Work with friends if you believe you can help and motivate each other. 

Your environment isn’t limited to what’s around you, as it also includes how you approach work. For example, to avoid burning out, implement healthy study habits, including the Pomodoro Technique, which suggests working in time intervals—usually 25-minutes. This is especially helpful when writing essays. 

Tip 5: Do something else. 

The college application season shouldn’t entail one working on applications all day. Although prioritizing other aspects of your life seems insignificant, a lack of balance is detrimental to your physical and mental health. College is an important milestone for many, but it shouldn’t take precedence over everything. Instead, establish your limits and some time to do an activity you enjoy.