What you can do now to ease the pressure of applying to college

It’s college applications time and you, like most others around you, are finding yourself overwhelmed by how much there is that needs to get done. One of the biggest mistakes you can make at this stage is to launch straight into filling out college applications without first doing your homework. Students often panic and end up doing far more work than they realistically need to and only because they failed to a little digging around before getting right into it.

So, let’s talk a little about how to take a focused and strategic approach towards college admissions.

Student writing college application essay

Prioritize your college subjects

For starters, make sure you have a clear idea of what program and subjects you are interested in. It’s OK to have two or even three options but make sure to prioritize them. There should be one that tops your list while others act as back-up. Going into the applications stage without having sorted this out will leave you terribly confused. If you’re sensing a lack of clarity, it would be a great idea to seek out an education counselor and get them to offer suggestions. Also, try talking to your teachers for guidance.

Shortlist the institutes / colleges

Once you’ve done this, round up a list of the institutes that offer your chosen program. If you’re open to it, do consider international ones as well. Take into account a variety of parameters such as academics, faculty, specialisms, campus, extra-curriculars, funding and placements. Sort the colleges as safeties, good matches and reaches. Make sure to include a healthy mix of top-tier schools and above average ones. As a safety net, include one middling-level school that you simply can’t miss. This isn’t a pessimistic move. It’s just you being realistic and having a contingency plan for the worst case scenario.

Practice your college application essay

Now, as I’m sure you’re aware, the college applications themselves can be quite complex. You’ll need to organize personal documents, school transcripts, letters of recommendation. You will also need to prepare personal statements and admissions essays. The latter can be quite intimidating, especially if you feel diffident about your writing skills. The best way to overcome this fear is to start practicing in advance. Find sample essay questions online and attempt a few. Request a teacher to go through one or two of your best ones and offer their critique. Once you get to the stage of actually writing out your college application essays, this practice will hold you in good stead.

It’s understandable that you may still feel worried about the quality of your essay. After all, it’s one of the main factors that determines whether or not you get accepted to a school of your choice. In such instances, consider seeking help from professional essay writers that offer affordable paper help. They will be able to help you refine your draft or prepare the research you need to base your essay on.

Find out about extra-curriculars from the college

Another area to focus on is extracurriculars. Colleges look at far more than just grades. It is important to be aware of this so that you can start paying attention to extracurriculars if you haven’t already. Whatever your strengths are, be it athletics, sports or music, build on them and make sure you participate in any events that your school organizes. These experiences will not only boost your college application, they’ll also help you build confidence and pick up healthy habits and skills that’ll serve you well for the rest of your life.

Get creative: Send a digital portfolio to the college

Some of you may even have to put together portfolios of past work. Do you research to find out what format of portfolio the college expects and remember to follow it carefully. If you’ve been asked to submit a digital portfolio, you’re in luck, especially if your work features a lot of photography or digital art. However, more traditional media or three dimensional works can be difficult to capture faithfully in the digital format and you will have to start working on this well in advance. For useful tips, try looking at some helpful and inspiring instructional videos online. Try to get help from a professional for best results. Remember that the contents of your portfolio are very important but that if you cannot present them in a compelling manner, they may fail to get the attention they deserve. It will help you to check out some beautiful digital portfolios made by other college students and get inspiration ideas, but don’t copy.

When you get to work on building up these aspects of your application well in advance, you’ll find that you’re more than well prepared for it when the time arrives. You won’t be as stressed as your friends who haven’t given a thought to what schools they want to apply to or, generally, what they’d like to do with their lives.

The key is to build up to it all gradually and over time rather than diving in without a clue and hoping for a wonderful outcome. Take time to think things through while selecting colleges and put in your heart to send in a perfect college application essay. These steps will make it much easier and stress-free for you to get into the college of your dreams.

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