I’ve written several blog posts recently about the stress involved in the college application process. I’ve discussed how problems with the Common Application are adding to students’ stress, offered tips for reducing stress, and shared humorous stories in an attempt to ease stress.
In the November 17 edition of The Denver Post, guest columnist Tessa Finley, a high school senior, also tackled the subject of college application stress. (To read her article, click here.) Using a tongue-in-cheek approach, Tessa argues that many students are unnecessarily stressing themselves out, and in doing so, they’re failing to take full advantage of and to enjoy their high school years.
Tessa also suggests that much of the pressure students feel comes from their competitiveness with each other, and this is an excellent point. When I was applying to college, I compared notes with my friends and classmates, but my ability to discuss the process with students outside my school was limited. Now, with the Internet, students are connecting with people all over the country — people they don’t even know, but with whom they’re competing for those precious college acceptances. And while some of those connections might provide support, others can make individuals feel really badly about themselves.
Tessa advises students to avoid the online forums in which applicants are talking to each other. I’d take it a step further and try to keep your conversations about college with your friends to a minimum. If you do talk about it, approach the topic in a way that is supportive, rather than antagonistic. You’ll feel better, and your friends probably will, too.