The college application process is a stressful time for students and their families. There are many important decisions to make, and the stakes are high.  As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to support your child and help them reach their goals. As a student, it can be overwhelming trying to balance these important decisions. Especially while they try to juggle school work and extracurricular activities. There are a few things that you both can do to make the process a little easier. This blog post will help parents figure out where some of those pressures come from and then outline some tips for students on managing stress during the college application process. 

The Pressures of Applications 

It’s no secret that applying to colleges can be a stressful process. The pressure to get into a good school can weigh heavy on students. Oftentimes it leads to feelings of  anxiety and even depression. But where do these pressures come from? 

young adult searching on their computer

One source of pressure is societal expectations. Society places value on certain institutions, leading to the idea that getting into a good school is the mark of success. This pressure can come from peers, family members, and even teachers.  It’s important to remember that there is no one “right” school for everyone. Each student has different goals, needs, and aspirations. The most important thing is finding a school that is a good fit for your child. It does not need to be the one with the highest ranking or prestige. 

Another source of pressure is personal. Students may feel a sense of pressure to live up to the expectations of their parents. They also may feel the need to achieve certain goals that they have set for themselves. It is crucial to understand that getting into a specific school or making a certain career choice does not define one’s worth or determine their future success. Instead, it is important to focus on finding a school or career path that aligns with their personal interests and values. They will be the one attending the school and pursuing the career, not their parents or peers. 

How to manage stress and pressure 

These pressures can make navigating the college application process overwhelming. Here are some tips for students managing stress during this time: 

  • Take a step back and remind yourself that this is just one part of your life. It’s important, but it’s not worth sacrificing your well-being. 
  • Create a realistic plan and timeline for completing the applications. This will help you stay organized and avoid last-minute scrambling. 
  • Give yourself breaks. Take some time to relax and do things that you enjoy outside of schoolwork. 
  • Talk to someone about the stressors in your life. A trusted friend or family member can offer support and advice during this time. 

It’s also important to remember that the college application process is not the only path to success. With many different paths to achieve your goals, getting into a specific school will not determine their future success. 

Getting Organized 

teen getting organized

When it comes to keeping track of applications, organization is key. Developing a system for keeping track of deadlines and requirements can save you a lot of stress. There are a few different ways to do this. Some people prefer to use physical planners, and cross off tasks as they’re completed. You can start by writing down due dates, essay requirements, the cost of the application, and any other important information. This way everything is in one place and it is easy to track progress. Other options include using digital tools, such as calendar apps or to-do lists. No matter what system you want to use, the important thing is that it works for you. Once there is a system in place, be sure to stick to it. Checking the planner on a regular basis will help you stay on top of any important deadlines. 

Taking Breaks 

You may think skipping breaks during a time when there’s so much pressure to succeed is the way to go. But it’s important for you to remember to take care of yourself. Breaks can help recharge and refocus your energy. Taking a short walk, talking to a friend, or trying relaxation techniques can be beneficial. You shouldn’t be afraid to step away from your applications for a few minutes and give yourself some time to decompress. 

Seeking Support 

teen seeking support from a parent

During the college application process, it’s important to have a support system. Talking to someone you can trust about the pressures you may be feeling can be a significant help. This could be a parent, counselor, teacher, or friend. They can offer emotional support and practical advice during this time. It’s also helpful to connect with fellow students going through the same experience. They may understand what you’re going through and can offer support and advice as well. 

Remembering Your Worth 

It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure of getting into a certain school or achieving a specific goal. But it’s important to remember that this is just one part of life, and it does not define your worth. It’s important you are setting realistic expectations for yourself. The stress should not consume you – take care of yourself and remember that you are capable and worthy. No matter what happens with the applications. 

As a parent, it can be hard to see your child go through the stress of the college application process. But remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help both you and your child navigate this time. The most important thing is to stay positive and supportive, no matter what happens. As a student, take the application process seriously but remember to take care of yourself first. There are many paths to success and getting into a certain school does not determine your future. Stay organized, take breaks, and remember your worth throughout this process. Good luck! 

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