If you are currently a senior in high school, I would first like to congratulate you on your upcoming graduation! Many of you will soon be on your way towards one of the most defining and exciting periods of your life: college. April is the month when most high school students around the country hear back from the universities they have applied to. During this month, emotions will run high, whether students have been accepted, rejected, or waitlisted. Waiting to hear back from different schools can be a major source of anxiety and it can have a large impact on your last few months of high school. What is meant to be an exciting time can quickly become a nerve-wracking and stressful rollercoaster. If you’re looking for some helpful strategies to help overcome admissions anxiety, I have put together a list of tips on how to more effectively deal with the increased stress levels you are facing.
You’ve poured hours, days, weeks, and months of your life building up the right extracurricular activities, studying for and taking ACT and SAT prep courses, meticulously crafting the perfect essay… and once you submit it, all you can do is wait. Yes, that nerve-wracking feeling in the pit of your stomach could be called stress, but it can help to think of it as something else, like investment. It may be an uncomfortable state of mind, but feeling this way just means you are extremely committed to this next big step in your life. Your concern comes from your inner drive to challenge yourself and succeed.
While going to a prestigious university can be beneficial, make sure to keep in mind that prestige isn’t everything when it comes to choosing a college to attend. You should instead be focusing on what school you think is a good fit for you! Today, we have become particularly worried about what kind of school we are getting into. Whether it is an Ivy League, a state school, or a community college, we stress so much about what will look best on our resume and what will propel us forward ahead of our competition. A good education is important, but so is the opportunity to learn, grow, and experience new things. The best approach is to focus on what will be the ideal path for you and your particular needs as both a student and a person. Rather than making a decision based on what society has deemed is a “prestigious education”, choose a school where you will be able to learn best, apply your skills, and gain the best education and overall experience for you!
At the end of the day, take a deep breath and remind yourself that no matter where you end up, you will thrive. College can be an amazing time in your life, full of growth and learning. Even if you don’t get into your top choice university, you’re going to end up somewhere that you love. And if you don’t love it, you are not stuck there either. Whether it means taking a gap year or transferring to a school that is a better fit, ultimately you will find the right place for you.
Once you have submitted your college applications, the ultimate decision of acceptance is now in the hands of the admissions advisors. With the work completed and everything taken care of on your part, you have two options: you can either allow your anxiety to continue, or you can focus on enjoying your last few months of a very important time of your life, high school! College is going to be an exhilarating time, full of new experiences, new places, new people, and branching out of your comfort zone. That is why now is the time to soak up all of the things that are special and familiar. Spend time with your high school friends, take walks through your neighborhood, and do all of those little things that give you comfort and that you will be saying goodbye to in the coming months.
Hopefully you have found some of these pointers helpful in easing your worries about getting into college. No matter how worried you may be now, you are soon going to enjoy what many consider to be the best time in their lives. If you or your graduating child needs someone to talk to, feel free to contact me. As an experienced South Bay therapist for teens and young adults, I have helped many students just like you deal with their admission anxiety in a healthy way. Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you!