College prep is stressful for the college-bound and their parents but there are ways to ease the stress. Students and parents can make some New Year’s resolutions to enjoy the college process and resolve to make their college dreams come true.
There are many ways to reduce stress including laughter, relaxing and having fun. They combat anxiety and worry by refreshing and restoring balance to hectic and stressed lives. However, these are not usually associated with college prep.
The eve of the new year of 2013 is the perfect time for the college-bound and their parents to resolve to find the fun and start enjoying college prep.
The college process consists of three steps: finding colleges, applying to colleges and figuring out how to pay for college.
A college search is stressful because it is time consuming and the number of choices can be overwhelming. There are a couple of thousand options including two and four year schools. Some are public universities and others are private institutions. The goal is to find colleges that are a right fit for the student academically and socially that will lead to a successful future. This can be done through research in the library and online, attending college fairs and by visiting schools. Factors to consider include academics (majors/minors offered, degrees offered), location (rural, suburban or urban campus), number of students (less than 100 – over 50,000) and cost (colleges set their own tuition rates, fees). It’s enough to make a parent and student’s head swim.
Students decide which colleges to apply to based on their college list. Stress comes from the admission application process. Colleges choose the process that may require students to submit lengthy applications, essays and application fees ($25 – $100 per application). Schools may also want to interview the student. Schools may have different admission programs (Early Decision, Early Action, Regular, Rolling) and each program may have a different application and deadline. Consider the college application process as stressful as a job hunt in a difficult economy. There are many candidates looking for the same position: student.
The financial cost of higher education can be higher than the purchase of a family home. The cost of a four-year private college for two students can easily top $340,000. Add in the cost of graduate school and the sticker price can soar to half a million dollars or more. No wonder stressed students and their families are searching for help to pay for college. There are government, state, institution and private sources of financial aid. Each source has its own application process including forms and deadlines. A thorough scholarship search can be done in the library and online.
5 College prep stress-reducing new year’s resolutions
1. Get organized. The college process is complicated. Students can collect a massive amount of college information from college search, college admission and financial aid processes. Cut stress by creating a filing system for hard copies and spreadsheets for paperless data. Make it easy to find and compare information by organizing according to college and subdividing topics.
2. Manage time. Organization is the first step and time management comes next. Create a calendar based on a to do list. Reduce stress further by posting deadlines a few days in advance to give a time buffer.
3. Take 5. College prep takes time and concentration. Take a break to refocus. A few deep breaths and a walk can refresh to get back on track. After a task is completed, celebrate each success with a favorite activity like listening to a favorite song, playing a quick game, chatting with family and friends.
4. Laugh. Laughter chases away stress. Watch a comedy, surf the web for humor and share jokes with family and friends.
5. Plan for fun. When there is so much to do and little time to do it all, time for fun may have to be planned. Mark the calendar with family, friends and alone down time to reduce stress. Include time for a “collegecation” (POCSmom’s term for a fun blend of college visit and family vacation) for students to visit colleges on their list. Many schools offer concerts, theatre, sporting events and museums. After the college tour, plan to enjoy the campus and its free and low cost activities open to the public.
Relieve stress in 2013 with some college prep stress reducing new year’s resolutions to get the job done, have some fun and enjoy the college process.
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