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15 ways to manage stress during the application process

Applying to college can be overwhelming. You face big decisions, deadlines, and uncertainty about the future. However, you're not alone. 

We've made a list of 15 ways to help you stay calm and focused when you're applying to college. Setting good habits early in the college admissions process will put you on the road to a successful college career. 

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1. Create a schedule

Create a schedule that outlines the application deadlines and when you’ll work on each one. This will help you stay organized and on track. Organize your applications by deadline.

Set aside a little time each day to work on your applications. You will keep deadlines from piling up at the last minute. 

2. Practice self-care

Being good to yourself will go a long way in the admissions process. Make sure to take breaks, exercise, eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep.

Take time to do something nice for yourself. Spend time with friends – leave the house. This will help you recharge your batteries and will help you think more clearly about the process. 

3. Attend college fairs

Attend college fairs to learn more about different schools. This will help you make informed decisions and relieve stress. Go with friends and family – they know you well and will help you find the best fit for you. 

4. Seek help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from teachers, counselors or other professionals if you feel overwhelmed or stressed.

Build a supportive team with the people who can help you make informed decisions about where you want to go. 

5. Talk to friends and family

Talking to others is a good way to think clearly about what you want out of your college experience. Friends and family can help you talk through how you're feeling. It also helps frame your perspective in a way that makes it easier to make decisions. 

6. Take breaks

You want to present yourself at your best to the colleges you are applying to. Take regular breaks while applying to college to rest your brain and prevent burnout.

Taking a break every so often helps you to refresh and remember why you’re applying to college. You want to grow as an individual and put yourself on a fast track to a career you love. 

7. Practice mindfulness

Techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety.  As little as five or 10 minutes a day can have serious positive benefits. 

8. Listen to music

Music can reduce anxiety and lower your blood pressure. Listen to calming music to reduce stress and improve your mood. Put on your favorite band or artist while filling out applications.

This is a time to be happy and joyful about your future. Don’t be afraid to sing along!

9. Avoid procrastination

As tempting as it may be, avoid waiting until the last minute to apply to college. Procrastination can lead to added stress and the quality of your work may suffer.

Make a checklist of the different tasks you want to accomplish on your applications. Make time for yourself to complete them a little at a time each day. 

10. Focus on your goals

You are applying to college for an important reason – you want to accomplish big things in your life. Remember your long-term goals and focus on why you’re applying to college. This can help you stay motivated.

11. Reach out to alumni

You’re not doing this alone – millions of people apply and successfully go to college each year. You can use them as a resource when applying for college.

Reach out to alumni from the colleges and universities to get a better understanding of what it’s like to attend.

12. Take a mental health day

It’s OK to take breaks when you’re applying for college. Take a day off from the college application process to focus on your mental health and well-being.

Be good to yourself. Celebrate the work you’ve done already while making time to take on the tasks you still need to complete.

13. Create a support group

Remember that you’re not the only one applying for college. By connecting with other high school students who are also applying to college, you can support each other and answer each other's questions. 

14. Take breaks from social media

It’s easy to scroll endlessly and compare yourself to others, but social media can fuel anxiety, depression, and isolation. Unplug. Take breaks from social media to avoid comparing yourself to others. 

15. Prioritize self-reflection

Self-reflection means taking time to consider your thoughts and motives. Doing so is a good way to get a better view of why you are applying to college. Take time to reflect on your accomplishments, strengths, and weaknesses.



The college application process can be stressful. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are ways to manage stress.

Central Michigan University is here to make applying to college as stress-free as possible. Reach out to one of our admissions reps. We’re here to help. 


Blog: All Things Higher Ed posted | Last Modified: | Categories: University Communications
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