Getting Organized Can Make College Applications Less Stressful

Students who are starting the college application process can easily feel overwhelmed. It’s a stressful time for the whole family, and you don’t want college admission to become the only topic of conversation in the house. That just adds to the tension. Instead, try scheduling a weekly time to talk about college applications. Knowing that Sunday night at 7:00 is college time can help students stay on track while reassuring their parents that they will have regular updates.

Another way to reduce stress is to help your child get organized. Students should make a chart with each school’s application requirements (transcript, test scores, recommendation letters, essays, etc) and deadlines. Make sure to check each college for any priority deadlines for scholarship or honors program consideration. I have my students add a 2 week advance deadline for each college, so that they can plan to submit their applications well in advance of official deadlines, and they have a cushion in case they are overwhelmed with exams or papers around that time.

Once a student has finalized her college list, she can ask to have transcripts and test scores sent to all the schools. There’s no need to wait for applications to be submitted, as colleges will start a file with whatever information arrives first.

Scheduling one or two tasks a week will make the workload more manageable. Students can check off each requirement once they have completed it. This kind of chart will help them see the big picture and keep track of what they still need to do. It also helps them feel more in control of this often daunting process, and that makes things less stressful for everyone

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