The life of a high school senior is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you bask in the glory of your previous achievements in school as your juniors look up to you, and teachers give you increased respect and responsibilities. You have been there and done that – and wish to enjoy your day in the sun. However, it also brings with it the stress of college applications, standardised tests, those dreaded essays, coaching for competitive exams, deadlines, et al. Just as you decide to take it easy and enjoy the last year of high school, you are thrust in the vortex of the application process.
But remember that it is in your hands and you can control the stress you face, and the things you do. It is important to avoid certain pitfalls and ensure you stay on the path you have set out on. Here is a very quick look at some things you can do to make the process smoother.
Manage your time – we all have 24 hours every day but some people always manage to extract more productive output than others. Learn to prioritise your tasks and work and ensure you do not fall behind.
Balance your commitments – it is great to have many things to do, but remember to balance your studies, work, and activities. I have seen many students commit so much time to one thing that they neglect their other interests or commitments.
Be Yourself – remember that you are a unique individual with your particular set of skills and abilities. Avoid comparisons with others and stay true to your own passions. Trying to be someone you are not will only lead you to apply to colleges that may not be right for you. Embrace who you are and show your individuality in your applications.
Manage your social media – yes, you have had some interesting parties with friends and wish to share the pictures with the world. But resist the temptation until after the college application process. Some colleges do take a look at your social media and you do not want them to access any potentially embarrassing posts you have put up.
Plan your college essays ahead – this is often the most dreaded part of the college application process and many students put it off till the last minute. On the contrary, you should start as early as possible and plan your essays so that you can complete them well ahead of the deadlines. Remember that you may need several revisions and as well as inputs from others.
Treat the college application process as a revealing experience that enables you to reflect within and understand who you really are, what you value, and what you wish to achieve in life. It can be a stressful if not approached in a planned and calm manner, but it also prepares you for the rigours of life ahead – both in college, and beyond. So take control of your year, work proactively, do not fall behind, and most importantly, enjoy the journey!