Help I’m a Senior! Survival Tips for College Applicants

College Application season is upon us and it can be incredibly overwhelming to know where to begin. It is way too easy to get lost in the details. The minutiae overpowers any sense of direction and before you know it, you’re exhausted and not even halfway through the process. NOT TOO WORRY. Do the following and you’ll be a-okay…oh and remember…take a breathe, it IS going to be okay.

Create simple goals to keep the big picture in mind

If anything you’re reading, doing, or stressing about doesn’t contribute to the greater goal, don’t waste your time. Example goals (remember these should be simple and you should create only a few of them):

  • Create and apply to a balanced list of colleges
  • Know and meet my deadlines
  • Prioritize, organize and write multiple drafts of my college essay
  • Attend a four-year institution So this would be one of your larger goals, but in theory, it’s always nice to remember what you’re working towards!

Organize and prioritize based off of your goals. 

  • Create and apply to a balanced list of colleges Give yourself options. Why? Because you’ll feel confident that you’ll get into a university that fits you! 
    • Resources for a Well-Balanced College List .
    • How to search for new colleges online? Read THIS PAST POST.
    • Remember, EVERY college on your list should be a fit and get you excited.
      1. A school that matches your needs (programs, majors, financial aid, etc.)
      2. A school that matches your wants (environment, clubs, sports, activities, social scene)
      3. A school that matches your abilities (academically you are set up for success!)
  • Know and meet my deadlines
    • Once you have more of a set college list it’s time to create a document, excel spreadsheet or write down in a notebook when each college is due, whether it’s a rolling, early or regular deadline.
    • Also check for
      1. Priority scholarship deadlines
      2. FAFSA opening October 1, 2017
      3. CSS Profile
      4. Letter of recommendation (dates you need to ask your teachers/counselors for and how to request them) 
      5. Portfolio/audition/supplemental materials
      6. Submitting transcripts, test scores, etc. 
    • To learn more about what deadlines mean and more college lingo, check out CollegeBoard’s College Admission Glossary article.
  • Prioritize, organize and write multiple drafts of my college essay
    • How many prompts do you need to write? UC Application? Common Application? The colleges’ supplemental essays? Add these to your excel spreadsheet and know each university’s required essays so you know when to start.
    • Allow time for MULTIPLE drafts.
    • Starting to write is the hardest part….START! 🙂
  • Attend a four-year institution
    • Remind yourself of your larger goal. Put it on your cell-phone as a reminder, write in on a post-it and put it where you can see it daily.

One last important piece

SELF CARE: What is one thing that you do that helps clear your mind? Taking a walk, turning off your cell-phone, zoning out to music, going for a run, dancing? Write down what works best for you and remember to use self-care throughout your week. Even if it’s only two minutes. It will help.

One response to “Help I’m a Senior! Survival Tips for College Applicants”

  1. Good job Casey, much needed information for young people.


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