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A: Can we all just acknowledge that the education system right now is far too stressful in general? I know that doesn’t change anything, but maybe it will help you to realize that your peers all over the country are in the same state. You are not alone.
The way I see it, application stress is made up of two separate anxiety points. First, we have you making a decision about where you want to spend the next 2-5 years. What factors are the most important? Location, cost, class schedules, where your friends are going, what institution has the best program for your major (if that is your major), etc. etc. And then there’s the part about getting into that school of choice: standing out from a pool of prospective students for an enrollment committee who are reviewing these applications at top speed.
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The truth is that no institution is perfect. There will be things that you don’t like about any school that you choose. Remind yourself that you’re going to make the most of whichever you attend and that this isn’t a scenario where there is an absolute right or wrong answer.
As for the applications themselves, I like to think of those committees as I would prospective dates. You do you. Write an essay you’re proud of. List your activities, tout your grades. In the end, it’s out of your hands. And just like in dating, why would you want a school that doesn’t want you? It’s their loss, frankly.
In any time of stress, self-care is so important. Make sure to take breaks, drink water, eat snacks, and get enough sleep. Your future alma mater wants the best you possible.
If you need advice, ask your question in the comments, and it may be featured in an upcoming column.
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