Asian man sitting in library surrounded by open books with face in hands

3 Ways to Manage Stress During Your College Search

Are your college plans looming over your head and starting to feel overwhelming? Here are some ways to manage your stress during this important time.

Homework, extracurricular activities, sports, college applications: there are a lot of stressful things on a high school student’s plate. Sometimes stress is a good thing; it braces your body for challenges up ahead. Sometimes...not so much. With your future plans looming over you, here are some ways to manage that stress, and possibly even shape it into something productive instead of letting it overwhelm you.

1. Drop activities and electives you’re not passionate about

Some people take on every club and AP class out there thinking it will look good on college applications, but that’s a surefire way to burn you out. If you’re overworked, you can’t give your best. This doesn’t mean you should push and challenge yourself, but colleges would rather see you excel and spend more time in a club you’re passionate about than just see your name on a club roster. As for AP or dual-credit classes, take the ones that will give you a boost in the major you’re thinking of applying for. If you’re unsure, take the classes that most interest you. Doing things you are passionate about will help your future more than doing them just to pad your college application and/or résumé.

Related: How to Discover (and Pursue) Your Passion

2. Take a seat, make a plan

Lots of high school students (all?) stress over the fact that they’ll be graduating soon and have no idea what to do next. Then they get blindsided by application deadlines or standardized test dates, and it adds more stress. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan. It not only helps relieve stress but it helps you reach your goals and make the best of the opportunities available to you.

Sit down and list everything you need to do—everything you’re stressed out about—and break it down into manageable pieces as well as a schedule. Dedicate time to college research, to figuring out what major you’re interested in, to taking practice tests, and go from there. Figure out what subjects need the most study time. Are AP tests coming up soon? Maybe they take precedence. Plan months or even a year ahead. Having everything written down in a schedule makes you feel more in control of your future.

Related: Time Management and Study Skills

3. Use a reward system

You’re still a teenager. School is important, and the future might seem nerve-racking, but you should still enjoy your life. Burn out is real, but you can get back on track and indulge in a little self-care. If you spent an hour or two studying, it’s okay to go out with your friends for a night. Treat yourself after accomplishing an item off your to-do list. Focusing on schoolwork 24/7 will definitely stress you out and leave you no time to relax and de-stress. No matter what you or others might say, you are not the Energizer bunny—you can’t keep on going and going and going without a break! Having a day off once a week will refresh you and keep you from being overwhelmed.

Related: 4 Interesting Podcasts to Listen to on Your Study Breaks

These are just a few ways to manage your stressful student life. Stress is normal, but it shouldn’t cripple you. Everyone can overcome stress with just a few minor changes in their routine. And if you find you’re having trouble getting your stress under control, reach out to friends, family, and school counselors for help—that’s what they’re there for!

We have tips and tricks aplenty when it comes to student stress—check it out now.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
college applications college search finding a college stress management

About Therese Castro

Therese is a high school student from Texas who loves writing—all kinds of writing—more than anything. She believes that opinions and advice should be shared and that important social topics should be talked about.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Laura Wallace

Laura Wallace

High School Class of 2019

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is that it features student writers so I get an inside perspective from students slightly older and farther along than me. I realize that other college websites also utilize student writers; however, I relate the most to the college writers that I read articles from on CollegeXpress.

Hailey Riddile

Hailey Riddile

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships to apply for and look into more colleges. While there are many websites similar to CollegeXpress, every website is different, and I've found a lot of good insight on this website. Receiving emails from CollegeXpress about scholarships is extremely useful, and getting insight about colleges near, far, and anywhere in between helps me narrow down my choices to what I want, which is also super helpful. The articles are always really good reads, and I can't stress enough how helpful this website has been to me. Anything related to college is beneficial to me as a senior, and I have learned lots of useful things to help me on my college journey this year.

Wendy Thompson

Wendy Thompson

Owner, Westport Educational Consulting

I just discovered your site and LOVE it—fun, interesting, full of incredible information you can’t find anywhere else, and a godsend for those of us in the college counseling business. I am a fan!

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.

Melanie Kajy

Melanie Kajy

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously during my senior year of high school. I started off using the college search to find more information about the universities I was interested in. Just this tool alone gave me so much information about a particular school. It was my one-stop shop to learn about college. I was able to find information about college tuition, school rank, majors, and so much more that I can't list it all. The college search tool has helped me narrow down which college I want to attend, and it made a stressful process surprisingly not so stressful. I then moved to the scholarship search tool to find scholarships to apply for because I can't afford to pay for tuition myself. The search tool helped me find scholarships that I was eligible for. The tool gave me all the information I could ever need about a particular scholarship that was being offered. The CollegeXpress scholarship search tool is so much better than other tools offered, like the Chegg scholarship search. Thanks to CollegeXpress, I was able to apply to tons of scholarships in a relatively easy way!

College Matches