How to Deal with the Added Stress of College Applications


By Rena Keyes

Ring ring. Your alarm goes off at six am and it’s time to get up. So you drag yourself out of bed, get dressed and head to school. After school, you’ve got homework and chores. Then you’re off to sports, work, and other extracurriculars. After your long day, you come home to a site full of overwhelming college applications with various deadlines and requirements. When do you see your friends? Hang out with your family? Or simply… go to bed? This is the reality for many seniors at San Marcos High School right now. 

Mrs. Paul, a counselor for many of our seniors on campus, says the first semester of senior year can be one of the most stressful times for students. 

“You’re used to being in your AP classes, you’re used to being in your extracurriculars, some of you now have jobs, and now we’re throwing these college applications on you.”

Lexi Worley and Stella McDowell, two seniors on campus involved in a variety of extracurriculars, AP classes, and have jobs are feeling the stress of applying and are finding ways to help themselves get through the chaos. 

“I try to spend maybe like an hour every day on applications so I have time to do homework for other classes and my extracurriculars,” says Lexi. Lexi finds that she has plenty of time for her many extracurriculars if she’s smart about her scheduling and creates an hour in her day to sit down and work to prevent falling behind.

Mrs Paul agrees with Lexi, her top advice being, “Do not procrastinate. I think that doing a little bit each day even if it’s 20 minutes or half an hour I think that will get you in a much better place than rushing and waiting until the last second.” 

Stella takes a little bit of a different, but also similar approach. Instead of creating an hour a day, she organizes her college applications by scheduling time out of her week to work. She creates separate due dates for herself to stay motivated and on track to get her applications submitted. Stella suggests “scheduling and writing things down. Giving myself mini due dates helps me stay on top of things.”

Don’t get the wrong idea, Stella and Lexi are on the ball, but they are still experiencing the “extra stress of senior year.” The girls show up to all extracurriculars and jobs, but Stella just wishes she had “more time for sleep.” 

It’s no secret that college applications bring a lot of stress into senior year, as there is so much to process and a lot of change on the way. Although there isn’t a clear way to eliminate the stress, following Mrs, Paul, Lexi and Stella’s suggestions can help you pace yourself and keep time for all your other activities.