Photo credit: Caleb Woods, 

Congratulations! You’re a senior in high school. But before you gloriously walk off the stage, you have to complete your college applications. For some of you, it’s not a big deal and you may have already pressed the “send” button. For others, it can be a painstaking ordeal, complete with parents who wanted it done yesterday. Let’s look at some ways in which you can make the process easier and less stressful.

First of all, ask yourself, How do I want to approach this?”

You can choose to have a positive and enthusiastic attitude, or you can greet this journey with complaints, dread, and procrastination. Which choice sounds better to you? How would those around you respond to each choice?  The important word here is choice! How you “show up” is 100 percent your decision.

Secondly, communicate!

Be honest about your ideas and feelings with your parents regarding your future goals and the schools you believe best fit your personality. Many teenagers confide in me that their choice for college is different than their parents’ choice. This understandably creates conflict and tension. A college counselor can help you and your parents navigate this decision if needed. Remember though, your attitude is something that you can control.

Next, set reachable goals.

Create a schedule in which you set goals for how many applications you want to complete in a certain time period. (Make sure this coincides with the application deadlines.) Share your goal-setting and progress with your parents. They want to be included! If you show them that you have this under control by making weekly progress, they’re more likely to allow you some freedom in this process.

Finally, relax and be creative.

Constructing essays that catch an admissions counselor’s attention requires you to feel free to show them who you are and how you would be a great fit for their university. Creativity matters as much as a solid writing style.

This is your time to shine! How you “show up” and begin your future is your choice completely.

Arlene is an MSW and Certified Life Coach. She has one son who is a college junior and another son who is a high school senior. Please visit her website at: