College Applications: The Right Mindset For A Stress-Free Experience

The season of college applications can be one of the most stressful times in a teenager’s high school career. Every year, students struggle through the tedious paperwork, the hard choice of which schools to apply to, and the pressure to meet deadlines, all the while having to keep up with their regular day-to-day activities.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed but not absolutely necessary. With the right perspective and good time management skills, the experience can be relatively stress free. Here are some things to keep in mind before diving in:

1) Applying to colleges is already a step in the right direction.

If you’re worried about application deadlines and your personal essay, it means that you intend to pursue higher education, which is an important first step in ensuring your future success. College is a time of personal growth and a great place to figure out what you want to do. It provides you with amazing opportunities from internships to study abroad programs to academic seminars.

Instead of regarding your applications as daunting work, you can see them as the key to opening doors to a life-changing experience. This season is ultimately something to celebrate as the start of the next stage of your adult life.

2) You’re not in this alone.

The biggest source of stress for students applying to colleges comes from thinking that they need to do everything by themselves. As the first person in my family to attend college in the United States, I couldn’t rely on older siblings or my parents to guide me through the process. However, there were plenty of resources for me to use that made things a lot easier for me.

Start by contacting your school counselor. They have access to both your academic records and information about colleges, which helps them give you the most beneficial information. Don’t hesitate to contact the universities that you’re applying to with any questions you have about their requirements. If you’re unsure about the quality of your personal essay, have someone who knows you well read it over, as well as someone who has good writing or editing skills. There are people out there willing and able to help you, you just need to ask.

3) It’s all about checking things off.

In order to not be completely overwhelmed by everything you have to do, I strongly recommend making a checklist for yourself and checking things off one-by-one as you complete them. Write down all major deadlines and set goals for yourself. Categorize your tasks into those that are urgent, those that are important, and those that can wait until later.

Establishing a clear timeline for yourself will make your responsibilities much more manageable and reduce the chance of you getting caught off guard with unanticipated deadlines and/or tasks.

Having a right mindset in regards the application process will get you a long way. Good luck!

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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6 Responses to “College Applications: The Right Mindset For A Stress-Free Experience”

  • PEN on March 9, 2012

    Nice article for all those who are struggling in order to be accepted in a college. Be free in mind, stop wondering, manage your time as well as possible, and don’t forget abouth your relatives, for they can bring you such a help.
    Good Miss Nonga. I like this.

  • Alain Nguiffo on March 9, 2012

    Hi Pamela,

    Very good article, I’m proud of you, the next time we should see your article in the Wall Street Journal.

    Take Care


  • Paulette Nonga on March 9, 2012

    I am very very very proud of you. I completely agree with you. Very helpful insights. Indeed it takes planning, focus, determination and every single assistance one can get to make this process more joyful than a nightmare. By the way, I sent the link to friends and family members whose children are in High School.
    Good job and to God be the Glory

  • Susie Watts on March 11, 2012

    As an independent college counselor, I think you have written an informative article for high school students and their families. The right mindset can make a difference. Starting early enough, doing the necessary research, and keeping yourself organized are definitely beneficial to a less stressful college admissions experience. I think, however, that some of the stress is hard to avoid. When students have met all of their application deadlines, applied for financial aid and scholarships, and requested all the supplementary information such as teacher recommendations, test scores, etc., there is still the waiting to see where they will be accepted.

  • Chantal Vivier on April 15, 2012

    Pamela, great article! Looking forward to reading more from you.


  • Victor Nonga on May 14, 2012


    Not bad, not bad at all! Look forward to more.

    Your Brother,

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