3. Find Someone to Proofread Your Applications for You
It can be frustrating, time-consuming and inefficient to write your applications and essays and then try to proofread and edit your own work. Instead, find someone to help you!
Lucy Cruz, a junior at the University of Florida, had her mother and brother read over her college applications, essay supplements, college-related emails and scholarship applications. “Having my family there to help me with all of my application materials was incredibly useful,” she says. “I was able to work on other applications while they edited, and then I would go back and read over their suggestions and corrections.”
Lucy also explains that having a “team” to help her with her application process helped her turn in higher-quality applications. “I remember the first time I gave my mom a college essay to read, I was stunned at how many typos and usage errors I’d made and never caught,” she says. “How could I have read all of those essays so many times and never found some of those blatant errors? It was crazy!”
Are you stumped trying to figure out who could look over your work? Feinstein has some suggestions. “The two best resources are your English teachers, who aren't afraid to pull out a red pen or two, and your guidance counselors, who are swamped but read enough essays to know what works and what doesn't,” she says. “Other great resources are your friends who graduated [high school] last year who are good writers.”
4. Work in Different Places
When Lucy first started working on her college applications, she typed up everything exclusively at her room. However, when the December rush rolled around, she became weary of her baby-blue walls. “I really needed a change,” she says. “But I also needed somewhere that was relatively quiet, so I started hitting up this empty café in town.”
Soon, Lucy had transformed the café into her workspace. When she wanted to get her college apps done, she’d make the short drive over, buy a latte and get to work. “It was a nice change of pace, and I was also able to focus on my college applications without the distractions of my family, friends or pets,” she explains.
In addition, there was an added bonus to working this is particular space: It had no Wi-Fi. “I’m such an Internet addict!” Lucy says. “Working on my applications at home was almost impossible after a while. I’d try to turn off the Internet or use SelfControl, but nothing worked; I’d just find myself back on the World Wide Web.” Being by herself in a different space and without the distractions of electronics gave Lucy the ability to power through her applications.
5. Take a Break and Find a Support System
Think of how many friends and classmates you know who are going through the same exact process. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could all sit down and talk about how stressful the admissions game is? It turns out that doing so can be highly beneficial to you!
During the last four weeks until her college application deadlines, Kate went out to lunch or dinner with her friends once a week to catch up and decompress. “It was so nice to feel like I wasn’t trapped in my room all the time working on applications,” she says. “It was also helpful to take these small social breaks to recharge. A lot of times I’d come back to my applications feeling refreshed and ready to work!”
Feinstein agrees that it’s easy and vital to take a little time for yourself. “Even though you may feel like you're in a time crunch, you need to stretch your legs and take a few deep breaths every 30 minutes or so,” she says. “Go take a walk or do five minutes of yoga. Every few hours, go out and take a real break. Focusing your mind on something else will help you get your brain back on track.”
You’ve Got This!
Don’t find yourself in a tizzy; plan out your month, and stick to it! Find an environment where you can get everything done as well as people who can help support you and look out for you when you’re completing your apps. Your entire support system is there; you just have to find it!