How to finish your college applications without freaking out

Ah yes, fall is now officially here and with it comes college application season. It's one of those unique experiences that can be both anxiety-producing and thrilling at the same time.

It's common to start the college application process with all sorts of energy and excitement. Fast forward a few months to when you're really in the middle of it, and it can feel so overwhelming.

There's so much to do. Writing essays, getting letters of recommendation, campus visits, interviews, and adding to your college pro-con list.... any Rory Gilmores out there?

If you're feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone.

It's common to feel this way, and there are things you can do to help yourself.

How to Finish Your College Applications Without Freaking Out

Set aside small chunks of time

Trying to tackle everything all in a couple marathon sessions just adds to the anxiety. Make a list of what you think can get done in a short amount of time- like 30 minutes. Keep the list lean- the good thing about having shorter sessions is that you can have more of them. Whatever doesn't fit into today, you can do tomorrow.

Visualize yourself successfully completing all the applications.

Visualization is powerful, and helps make things seem more manageable. Also, try visualize yourself actually at these colleges. Imagine yourself studying on campus and living in a dorm (if that's what you choose to do). Notice any feelings that come up while you're doing this. 

Prioritize your free time.

Think about what's really, truly important to you right now. College applications are high on the priority list, same with your regular homework and studying. What are you doing in your free time? Is it helping you relax and enjoy your life? Or is it adding to your stress? It's important that your down time serves you. It'll be different for everyone, but some quick ideas might be taking 20-minute naps (great for concentration!), hanging out with your pet, journaling, listening to relaxing music, or exploring a new part of town.

When the anxiety is too much

If the anxiety is so overwhelming that you're having trouble in school, in your relationships, or you've noticed you are irritated by more things than usual- it might be time to see a counselor. Counseling gives you time to focus on your life, your thoughts, your feelings and process everything that's happening. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help make this time in your life more manageable.