Five Ways to De-Stress During College Application Season | St. Lawrence University

Five Ways to De-Stress During College Application Season

Thursday, December 17, 2020

For high school seniors across the country, December is a month packed with holiday season excitement, end-of-semester papers and exams, and college applications. This year, managing it all on top of the added everyday stress of COVID-19 is no small feat. Not only do you deserve a break, you probably need one. 

With that in mind, here are a few ways to decompress during this stage of your college process so you feel refreshed and prepared to meet your February 1 application deadline with time to spare.

1. Make a plan that includes a generous breather

If you haven’t already circled, underlined, highlighted, and gold-starred “February 1” on your calendar, you’ve probably at least made a mental note. With a little time management, you can plan to hit that deadline while still giving yourself a generous break at the end of the year. Use a planner or make a checklist to stay on top of tasks and application materials, but plan to put it all away for the last week of December and return to it after January 1. 

2. Ask for help 

At this point, you’ve likely been immersed in the process for some time now, which means it’s a good time to step back and ask for help reviewing and proofing application materials. Be sure to give your reviewer--whether they’re a guidance counselor, teacher, or another trusted source--plenty of time to provide feedback. A fresh set of eyes can help give you the reset you need to power through.

3. Set boundaries with friends and family 

It’s tempting to compare application materials and requirements every time you talk to friends who are going through the same process, but it’s important to make time for conversations and activities with those close to you that don’t revolve around the college search. Everyone’s college journey is unique, and constant comparisons to those who may have a different path can be immensely stressful! 

The same goes for your family. It’s totally fine for parents, guardians, and loved ones to stay involved and updated on your application process. It’s also okay to gently remind them when you’re taking a mental break and suggest topics or activities that have nothing to do with your interviews, essays, test scores (if you’re submitting them), and interviews. 

4. Reach out to others in a meaningful way

There’s nothing quite like opening your mailbox to find a thoughtful, hand-written note. Maybe there’s someone you’ve been meaning to thank or a family member you’ll miss seeing this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Sending them some snail mail is sure to bring you both joy. 

5. Step away from the screen

Zoom fatigue is very, very real, especially when all or most of our in-person interactions have been replaced with virtual ones. Close your computer, put your phone on silent, and spend some time writing something other than short-answer responses or reading something other than college brochures. Plan and cook a meal with your family, arrange a socially-distant walk with a friend, tackle a puzzle, or invest time in a favorite hobby. 

If, before you put your application materials aside for a well-deserved break, you have any remaining questions on scholarships, financial aid, or upcoming deadlines, the St. Lawrence University Admissions team is ready to help. We know that taking a mental break is an important part of the college process, and giving yourself the time you need to rest and recharge can make your application stronger in the long run.