How to Beat Winter Stress Senior Year of High School

Student, Urbana High School

Feb   2016



The stretch between January and February can be one of the most stressful parts of high school. It’s the time to fill out the FAFSA and start looking for scholarships, along with the normal workload high school seniors have. The late nights and never-ending scholarship essays can become really burdensome to students who have to figure out how to pay for college while continuing to maintain their GPA. And it doesn’t help that many students are still waiting to see if they will be accepted into their dream school.

While senior year is about half over, high school is coming to a close, and the bright future students have heard so much about is quickly solidifying into an often stressful reality. The amount of work can make it difficult to persevere, but these months are also the time when wonderful things will begin to fall into place and dedication will pay off. Of course, in between, it may take a lot to stay sane…

How to beat…college acceptance decision stress

Waiting for those (hopefully) fat envelopes to come in is probably one of the most stressful things about your life right now. But even though you’ve heard this before, it’s helpful to remember that you’ve done all the hard work and now it’s time to let things play out how they will play out. No matter what happens, you will have options in the spring, and you’ll figure it out when the time comes. In the meanwhile, these 12 easy tips can help you overcome your stress.

Related: 5 Steps to Making Your Final College Decision 

How to beat…scholarship stress

With the rising cost of an education and the increasing necessity of one, affording college is often a huge source of stress. Research conducted by The Ohio State University finds that around 70% of students are worried about their finances and 60% worry about whether or not they will be able to pay for college. And though the National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 80%–85% of students in the US receive some form of financial aid, that doesn’t mean they’ll have all their aid covered.

All of this unfortunately means that there is a lot of competition for just about any scholarship, from the little local ones for a few hundred dollars to ones covering the entire cost of tuition. However, don’t let this turn you into a person that applies for every single scholarship. You need to search for scholarships you can actually win. There are many people at my school who will apply for scholarships they’re not eligible for, like ones intended for specific majors even though they are not going into the field. That’s just a huge waste of time, because they won’t even be considered for the scholarship! Instead, focus on scholarships you are eligible for. And don’t forget about the small ones; there is a lot less competition, and they can make a significant difference, especially towards an in-state public school. It may take some creativity, a little extra work, and maybe a search for a work-study job, but there are ways to afford college, and staying on top of your scholarship search this winter will be extremely helpful.

How to beat…senioritis stress

Of course, scholarships shouldn’t be the most important aspect of your life. Colleges can still revoke accepted applicants and cancel large scholarships if there is a major issue with academics or athletics. The infamous “senioritis” can strike just about anyone. Yes, it is good to take a night or two off each week, but when those nights become frequent you’re just setting yourself up for even more stressful nights later on.

Instead of going into senioritis vacation mode after submitting your college applications, it’s best to try to keep going on normally, with a little time for “college stuff” (like scholarships) worked into your schedule as needed. Occasionally, there will be times where college again gets all of your focus. The key, of course, is balance. Staying on top of your workload and making the most efficient use of time is the best way to ensure you get everything accomplished with a reasonable amount of sleep. Personally, now that I’m a second-semester senior, I no longer try to get the highest grade possible in every class, though I still aim for a good grade. Letting go a little bit frees up some time, and it really makes no difference in terms of GPA.

You’ve been hearing a lot about college, from a lot of people, for a long time, and it's all coming up very soon. Persevering until you get there is important, and finding the right balance is certainly the best way to keep up with the things that are important now, while also working on the things that will become important in the coming years. A little bit of time management goes a long way in reducing stress and creating more time to relax and get excited for all of the wonderful things to come.

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

About Leman Simpson

Hello, everyone. My name is Leman. I'm from a small town in west-central Ohio. Although I'm definitely not sure what I want to do in college, I definitely want to pursue my passion for science! Throughout the year I will be researching, visiting, and applying to small colleges in Ohio and the neighboring states.