September 21, 2009

“College Crunch” Time

You know that it is “college crunch” time when: 

  • You wear a college sweatshirt to school and everyone wants to know how you got in so early.
  • Friends that you’ve known since kindergarten won’t even tell you where they are applying.
  • The guidance office looks like the bakery before a holiday, and your usually placid counselor is on serious overload.
  • The girl who sits next to you in Physics is texting her college adviser for an emergency appointment.
  • Other seniors are joining clubs in which they have previously had no interest.
  • Your best friend smugly tells you that her applications are all in.  Actually, she smirks, she sent them out in August.
  • Your parents can’t get through a dinner table conversation without trying to be helpful about your school choices, your applications, and your essays.
  • Your mother is leaving you little reminder notes and keeps buying you folders and accordion envelopes to help you organize.
  • Your teachers are oblivious to the stress you’re under and are mercilessly piling on the work.
  • You are having anxiety attacks, bad dreams, and visions of spending next year working in an Alaskan canning factory.

What do you do?  It’s only September.  School has barely begun.  Is senior year of high school an illusion?  You can’t even enjoy Homecoming Weekend because you know that you have applications and essays spread all over the floor of your room, and you don’t even have a complete list of schools to which you want to apply.  And of course, you are still puzzling over the definitions of Early Decision, Early Action, Early Action Single Choice, Rolling Admissions, and then, just regular Regular.

The first thing to do, as difficult as it may seem, is to relax. Well, just enough to be able to stave off those panic attacks. Breathe deeply.  You can do this.  And there are people who can and will help you get through this process, if you need the help.  This website gives you lots of ideas, suggestions, the answers to many questions, and even a list of everything you need to know about navigating through the college admissions process.  You’ve also got your parents, your counselors, your older siblings, college advisers, and all of the books and websites that you would ever need.  Imagine:  Up until ten years ago, applicants had to write snail mail letters to schools, requesting catalogues and application forms.  Nothing was online.  Really.  The internet provides a tremendous advantage – as well as a tremendous overload of information.  But don’t let that daunt you!  You’re a senior!

So what should you do now?  If you haven’t made a list of schools, do it now.  Start with a list of everything that you do…and do not…want in a college.  Include size, location, Greek life, and majors, for starters. (I can provide a survey that might be helpful).  Look calmly through some of the books and websites. The Common Application website lists almost 400 schools that will take the same application form (although some will require supplements).

Once you have a working list (to which you can add for months), you are well on your way.

Contact us for more information!

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