The Dread of Applying to School
As many of us prepare for the summer ahead, those of you who are applying to college or graduate school may not feel like you have much of break. There is a lot of anxiety that comes from the application process so we have some tips to help you prepare!
Tips for Applying to School
Where to start
In general: staying organized is the most important thing to remember as you apply. Try to keep a checklist with due dates for each school for the overall application, along with each item within it. Break down each task into the smallest possible steps. This can help you overcome the fear of taking the first step! If you struggle with procrastination, difficulty concentrating, or ADHD, there are additional tools we can help with.
To start, do some research about the schools you may want to apply to, and what the average GPA and standardized test scores are. Remember that since these are averages, some candidates scored lower or had lower overall GPAs.
If you feel your GPA or your grades in certain courses aren’t as high as you’d like, consider taking classes at you state school over the summer in the areas you plan to study if accepted.
Standardize testing can be the bane of most of our existences and yet we have to face it so here are some tips. If you have test anxiety, we can also help!
Register for your standardized test right away so that you know your test date. Before scheduling, ensure you are giving yourself ample study time while allowing room to take the test again if you’d like to try and increase your scores.
Make a study schedule after scheduling your test and create positive incentives to stick with it. Set up mini weekly goals for yourself for specific milestones to reach within your study materials.
Many of us have a lot of negative thoughts about test taking. Try and catch your negative thoughts like “I am going to fail” and evaluate the evidence for and against this thought. Ask yourself, ‘what advice would I tell a friend who was thinking this same thing?’ Our perceptions are really powerful but that doesn’t make them true.
Recommendation letters and transcripts
Asking for recommendations can feel daunting. You may have fears that people won’t want to do it, that you’re a burden, that the teacher won’t do a good job. The good news is that these are all automatic thoughts that we want to evaluate. By assessing these thoughts and finding a more helpful way of thinking about it, we can focus on taking the action we need. Try asking yourself, ‘what would I say to a friend who was thinking these thoughts?’ I probably may say that most teachers know this is coming and if you have a relationship with a teacher, it will likely not be too much of an ask!
Reach out to the individuals you’d like to write your recommendation letters as early as possible in your application journey. Often, people wait until the month before when professor’s email inboxes are full of other candidates making similar requests. Asking earlier avoids the stressful time crunch that many individuals experience.
Once you’ve submitted your applications, the long wait begins. Many individuals report that waiting to hear from schools can be the most stressful part of the application process. The uncertainty about the future creates anxiety, but this can be managed using adaptive coping skills and reminding ourselves that once we know the outcome, we will be able to make an informed choice.
Plan a trip with friends for once you’ve finished your applications or plan a relaxing day for yourself. Introduce daily meditation for at least 3 to 5 minutes a day. Additionally, spend the time applying for financial aid so you know your financial options once you hear from schools. Lastly, refrain from checking your email more than once a day, as this is a safety behavior that can actually increase anxiety.
Using these easy guidelines can help keep your application process smooth and successful! Reach out today to learn more about how therapy can help you tackle these issues!