Applying to college can be a bit of a scary endeavor. However, it doesn't have to be! Here are a few tips to help make your college application process a little less stressful.
- Start the process early! You should begin thinking about what colleges you are interested in attending during your second to last year in secondary school. Then, during the summer before your last year in school, do your research and pick the schools you are interested in applying to.
- When considering where to apply, be critical and narrow down your list before you apply to too many schools. I applied to 16 colleges and it felt like way too many deadlines, and supplemental essays to keep track of.
- Mark the deadlines for each college on a calendar that you have easy access to. Not all schools have the same deadlines.
- Plan to complete your applications a couple of days before the deadline so that you have time to review them and submit them without the pressure of missing the deadline.
- When writing your essays, try to tell the admissions officers something about yourself that they can't find elsewhere in your application. They want to know who you are, so if you write about how someone else affected your life, remember to always bring it back to you. But most importantly, remember to remain as genuine and honest as possible! There is no need to try to make it seem like you're perfect, or that you are something you're not.
- When it comes to listing you extracurricular activities, remember that extracurricular activities are really whatever you do when you're not asleep or at school. For some, it may be a club, or a sport, or a hobby. For others, it may be a job or looking after younger siblings. It’s really just about how you spend your free time.
- Remember to take breaks during this process! If things become stressful, take an hour to just relax and do something fun, then go back to work.
- For more official advice, check out the Harvard College Admissions 'Application Tips' guide.
- If you have any questions during the process, do not hesitate to reach out to ask for clarification. Many colleges have student employees in the admissions office who are trained to answer the questions of prospective students.