The college admissions process can be a daunting task for many students. Everything you've worked so hard for since kindergarten gets summed up on a few college applications in hopes of getting into your dream school. It is no wonder that this process can often lead to stress and anxiety. However, there are ways to manage this stress and make the process more manageable. Here are four ways to achieve this:
Chunk Your Goals
A great way to feel exhausted before starting a daunting task is to obsess about the end result. Instead of focusing on the end goal, break it up into smaller pieces that feel more manageable so you can direct your attention to one step at a time. For example, let's say your application requires a college essay, SAT scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other odds and ends. What makes this less stressful is if you plan to focus on each thing individually, while also breaking them down into smaller parts. Think lists within lists, like this:
Pro tip: Putting a deadline on the first step is a great way to turn fantasy into reality!
Use Contingency Agreements
Setting and chunking clear goals is essential to getting off to a good start, but staying focused when everything else seems more appealing calls for another strategy. One of my favorite ways to push through those times of frustration and distraction is to use what I call 'contingency agreements', which are also known as 'when/can' statements or 'must do/may do' statements. This skill works by motivating you to finish the task at hand in order to access a more preferable activity. Think of rewards for reaching your short-term goals. Here are some examples to clarify this skill:
“When I finish my rough draft, then I can go on TikTok.”
“I must study for my SATs for an hour, then I may play my game.”
Pro tip: Use this skill in all areas of your life for a quick boost!
4 Ways to Manage Your Stress During
the College Admissions Process
Pick a general topic
Come up with 3-5 specific topics for paragraphs
Write rough draft
Proofread for mistakes
Schedule Time for Self-Care
You're on a roll! You're swiftly moving through your goals by chunking them and using contingency agreements when you need a boost. One thing that we tend to overlook with regard to productivity, though, is making time for ourselves. Scheduling self-care is just as important as scheduling when you're going to study for your SATs or when you're going to write the next draft of your college essay. Here are a few things you can build into your schedule to reset and recharge:
Pro tip: Choose something that’s simple and enjoyable to promote sustainability!
Seek Help From an Expert
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the college admissions process, seeking help from an expert can provide tailored services that take the stress out of the college admissions process. Experts like My Admissions Sherpa are ready to take the stress out of the college admissions process by offering a range of services that effectively guide you to the finish line. Whether you want to learn how to write a winning admissions essay, need help identifying good match and safety schools, or simply want a personalized guide for all of your needs, My Admission Sherpa brings years of experience and unmatched results to meet your unique needs.
In conclusion, chunking your goals, using contingency agreements, scheduling self-care, and seeking help from an expert are great ways to manage your stress during the college admissions process. Remember, this is a big step in your life and it's okay to feel stressed and overwhelmed. But with these strategies, you can make the process more manageable and even enjoyable.
About the author: Zack Kasabo is a certified school counselor in Delaware County, Pennsylvania who has over seven years of experience working with kids from k-12. He also owns Kasabo Coaching + Consulting which helps teens feel unstoppable and shows parents how to be compassionate without enabling.