Looking for where you want to go to college while still in high school gets tough. Not only do you have to do research and work on essays, but you still also have to graduate high school on time.
Handling college search stress is a task every high school student deals with sooner or later; here are a few tips to make the process easier.
Start Searching Early
Give yourself plenty of time to create a routine.
You don’t have to know which school(s) you want to apply to immediately. The search process will take time and considerable thought. Give yourself the luxury of time by starting as early as possible.
During your sophomore year, if you already have a rough idea of some schools to apply to then:
- Go to their admissions website pages
- Check out the application deadlines
- Create a rough timeline of submission deadlines and materials
To make the process easier, set aside a set amount of time each week to do your research. Let’s say every Saturday afternoon from 1-3 pm you decide to collect admissions deadline info from two schools. In a month’s time, you’d already have almost 20 schools mapped out.
Drop Unnecessary Activities
Don’t burn yourself out by trying to juggle non-essential classes and activities.
Lots of kids think that they should tackle every AP class and club possible. The truth about that is:
- Admissions boards won’t care beyond a certain point
- You’ll mentally and physically burn out
Instead, focus on the clubs and classes that you’re genuinely passionate about taking. If there are only one or two AP classes that interest you and help boost the major you’re interested in taking, then focus on them alone.
Admissions officials want to see your passion and engagement over the long term versus tackling everything under the sun. Plus, you’ll free up enough time to conduct your college search easily.
Consider One Safety School
Consider applying to one school you’re sure you can get into as insurance.
Some people advise against safety schools, on the fear that you’ll end up limiting yourself. However, applying to one school you’re almost certain you can get into is a good idea:
- It brings peace of mind about getting into college at all
- That first acceptance letter will boost your confidence
The key though is to not treat this school poorly. Make sure that your safety school is one that you’d have no problem spending the next four years of life attending. If it isn’t, then don’t put your energy into it. You’ll regret it later on.
Make It A Game
If you don’t like doing research, then treat the process like a game.
One easy way to reduce college search stress is to gamify it. For example, try the following method:
- Make a list of factors that are important to your dream school having like:
- Campus Size
- Available Major(s)
- Scholarship Opportunities
- Student Housing Options
- Average Class Size
- When checking out school websites, look for that information and mark it on a spreadsheet that holds all of those factors
- Look over your finished sheet and see which school(s) have the most factors
Think of each factor as having a point value – whichever one has the most points wins.
Talk To Your Guidance Counselor
Your counselor is there to provide information, so use that resource.
If you need information or help, then hit up your guidance counselor. It is literally their job! They are there to help you search for the right school that best fits.
You can go over:
- Schools of Interest
- What To Submit
- Recommendation Letter Ideas
- Financial Aid Possibilities
- Remaining High School Course Requirements
The earlier you approach him or her with questions and make your intentions clear, the easier it’ll be for them to help you. They want to see you succeed, so don’t be afraid to get their help.
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