You may have all the qualifications and extra-curricular activities you need to have a great shot at your dream university, but come application time, it seems like all the confidence is drained out of you. It makes sense when you think about everything riding on that acceptance letter you will spend months waiting for. It’s not just your achievement; it’s also your family’s, which is why you may feel too much pressure and second-guess your own skills.
You may have heard the advice one too many times, but not letting the stress get to you sounds easier said than done. Still, it’s worth it to try to do the following instead of just beating yourself up.
Get Help with the Application
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the stress starts. Those whose parents graduated from ivy league schools expect great things from their offspring, especially if all their friends know they have someone who will be applying to their alma mater soon. Sometimes you feel like it’s not about you—it’s about your parents not feeling like their name has been sullied. Their high standards may make them the hardest people to open up to when you have your doubts, but that doesn’t mean you have to do things by yourself. College admissions counseling services can be the help you need.
Give Yourself Room to Breathe
The application to your dream university starts while you’re still in high school, on your senior year, specifically. Your transcript for the school years prior are considered, and you really can’t do anything about those. There is no point worrying about where you went wrong in the past or which subject you were weakest in. At the end of the day, universities will consider your overall performance and what you have to offer to their community. Legacy applicants may find it to their advantage to list their parents, especially if they proceeded to be successful in their profession. Even if you don’t have any immediate relatives who graduated from the same university, don’t think that your dreams are automatically crushed. You still have your grades and your essay, so focus on that and let everything fall into place.
Take a Day Off
Applying to a university sounds like a full-time job sometimes. It’s all you think about and you end each day feeling drained as if you served an eight-hour shift. You’re barely an adult yet everyone makes it seem like you have to get accepted or else your future is over. It’s way too much burden to place on your shoulders. Treat yourself better and take one full day where you just do what you want and try not to think of the application. A “day off” may help you with that essay you just can’t seem to figure out. Everyone will tell you to write something meaningful to you, but that’s hard to do when you’re one big ball of stress and cannot focus. You’ll find that after spending a day just indulging in your interests, the topic of your essay will be clearer.
Everything may rest upon your college application right now, but don’t let it run your life. Let yourself find ways to actually enjoy the college experience.