How to Decrease High School Stress While Increasing College Readiness

Taking the time to prepare for college while you’re still managing your high school responsibilities can be difficult to do. Especially for seniors trying to balance college prep and completing their high school degree, stress levels can run high. Senior year is certainly an interesting time in a young person’s life. They become comfortable in their routines and are now preparing to move on to the next step. To effectively prepare for the high school to college transition, here are some ways to make the experience less stressful while still feeling ready to move on after graduation.

Rocks stacked on top of each other with a bamboo grove in the background.

Prioritize Your Extracurricular Activities

A lot of stress in high school stems from after school activities that students are involved in. It is widely believed that the more extra-curricular activities one does, the better their chances are of getting into a good college. However, in this case, quantity does not necessarily equal quality. Sure, playing sports, being in choir, dance, musical and student government can make for a great college application. But, odds are that if a student is doing multiple activities during a semester while still trying to maintain good grades, their stress level is likely fairly high.

Keep in mind that stretching yourself thin solely to list activities on college applications may not be totally worth it. It is equally as important to be able to explain what you gained from these experiences and how they have helped you grow as a person. (And besides, admissions officers would rather see you dedicated to a few extracurricular activities rather than just dabbling in many).

To reduce your stress and still be prepared for college, consider nixing some of the activities that you don’t feel as drawn to or interested in. For example, you are team captain for the soccer team and are also on the student council officer board. But, you don’t enjoy playing soccer that much. It may be better, then, to focus on student council for the year. In doing so, you can decrease soccer team-induced stress and gain a richer, more meaningful experience within student government.

Practice Time Management to Reduce School Stress

Time management is a valuable skill that you will need for the rest of your life. Why not start practicing it in high school? If you are a busy senior who still needs to apply to colleges, make sure to cut out time to see your guidance counselor and send in your applications. Planning out everything you have to do for the college transition process will reduce stress during your senior year. You will feel prepared to graduate and move on to the next chapter of your life.

Stay on Top of Deadlines

Paying attention to deadlines is important for both college applications and your coursework throughout the school year. By your senior year, you are probably aware of the stress that procrastination causes. Use a student planner to write down when everything is due so that you know how far out in advance you need to begin an assignment, essay or application. Taking the time out to write in and refer to a planner will make your life easier and prevent falling behind in classes or in the college application process.

Do Your Research

For many seniors, the school year goes by very quickly. One minute, you’re at the first football game of the season. The next, you’re walking across the stage at your graduation ceremony. If you find yourself unsure of your next step and you’re nearing deadlines, you will feel more behind and stressed out than you anticipated. To avoid feeling rushed when selecting a college, do your research early in the year to schedule visit days, learn about which schools you want to apply to and know when the deadlines are for each of them.

Still trying to decide which college to attend? Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid from schools around the US—all for FREE!

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