Stress and anxiety are a normal part of college admissions. Choosing where to apply, writing your essays, completing your applications and preparing for interviews can all bring about stress.

Consider these five tips to streamline the process, stay organized and make the college admissions process less stressful:

  • Start early! For juniors and rising seniors, it’s never too early to start preparing for your college applications. Begin by exploring different majors and researching different colleges; start creating a balanced list of universities for you to visit and apply to. 
  • Make a schedule and set realistic goals. Plan out a timeline for your essays and application completion. Give yourself adequate time to complete each step of the application, as it almost always takes more time than you think. If you are a rising senior, write your main essay the summer before school starts. It’s okay not to finish all of your essays over the summer, but getting a good head start on any (or all) of your essays will make your life much easier in the fall.
  • Set aside time. Be sure to establish certain times of each week to discuss the college application process with your family. College applications can quickly become the main focus of every conversation; but by setting aside time for weekly discussions, you will make space for other equally important areas of your life.
  • Take breaks for your favorite activities. If you enjoy playing sports, don’t stop now. Love to play games with your family? Keep up those traditions as well. Do you relax by playing music or creating art? Any of these activities will keep your stress levels low. Whenever your stress gets high, get outside and take a walk. The fresh air will help you feel better.
  • Hire a college consultant. The college admissions process can be very daunting and very complicated. Should you submit your standardized test scores if the university is test-optional? Should you apply Early Action or Early Decision or both? Which question should you answer on the Common Application? How do you explain a B- grade in junior year? An experienced college admissions consultant can answer all of these questions – and any others you have! A consultant will also provide support, boost your confidence and act as a neutral sounding board.

Take a deep breath. You got this!

About the author
Emily Sheldrake

Emily received a BA from Middlebury College and an M.S.Ed. in higher education from University of Pennsylvania. Emily has more than six years of admissions and advising experience at several institutions, including Swarthmore College, Temple University and Penn, where she evaluated applicants for the Wharton School. Emily manages a caseload of clients as well as a team of AcceptU counselors. Emily is an IECA Associate Member.

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