Managing College Applications

TeenStressNow that the admissions season is in full swing here at Green Ivy, we thought it might be helpful to share some suggestions and strategies on managing what can easily become an overwhelming process. While most of what we offer here is aimed at students, there are some tips that parents might find helpful as well.

1. Start early. That is, start working on your applications this weekend if you haven’t already! Right now, deadlines like November 30th (for UC applications) or January 1st (the bulk of private schools) might seem an incredibly long time from now, trust us, they aren’t. Especially not with a senior year course load to manage, not to mention any retaking of the SAT or ACT.

2. Start often. Schedule in 3-5 hours a week to work on your applications, and prioritize according to deadlines. For instance, letters of recommendation questionnaires for are due long before the applications themselves are, so begin with those.

3. Create a timeline. Compile all the due dates for recommendation letters, personal statements and supplements and then break down your work into weekly goals from now until mid-December. This way each piece of the process is represented and all your tasks are in one place.

4. Do what you can to not get caught up in other people’s stress or concern about your applications. It’s important to remember that this is your individual journey and process, not anyone else’s. In that spirit, resist the temptation to share your personal statements with too many people. Give them to one or two readers that you trust, who know you well, as opposed to a committee of friends and family.

5. Remember to take things one step at a time. If a supplement or particular personal statement isn’t coming together, put it aside for a day or two and then go back to it. Or, work on something a little less labor-intensive, like filling out forms for the Common, UC or Cal State University applications.keep_calm

6. Stop and breathe as much as you can. For that matter, stop and then run! Work out, eat some protein or complex carbohydrates; go ahead and take a nap if you need to. This is hard work, and breaks are vital.

7. Put together the best application you can, and then let it go. There is some amount of luck in the application process, and there is no way of knowing what the application pool looks like, and this is a big part of what you can’t control. All you can do is put your best work forward and know that in the end, it really does all work out the way it’s supposed to. We promise.

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