The Real Deal with Senior Year and All That “College Stuff”

by Alana Willsey

Your SAT/ACT Scores Matter, but They’re Nothing to Stress Over

Take it from someone who stayed up more than one night obsessing and stressing over her SATs. Sometimes we get so caught up with everyone else’s college process, that we lose touch with reality. The reality is that you can only do your best on the SATs, and there is no magic trick to boost your score 900 points. So my first piece of advice is to keep your expectations realistic. Set a goal for yourself, a score that would satisfy you and mean you didn’t have to take the test again. Studies show that your score may increase up to 300 points with consistent and effective studying. And keep in mind anyone who says they scored a 2300 without any studying is lying. The SATs are a very specific type of standardized test and are impossible to ace without any studying. You must familiarize yourself with the sections and questions that will appear on the test. You do not want the test day to be the first day you look at an SAT math or reading comprehension section. With all of this in mind, don’t forget to relax. No seriously, relax. Your SAT scores are an important aspect of your admission into a college, but they are by no means the only aspect. You are so much more than your SAT scores. Remember that.

Forget What Everyone Else is Doing. Focus on YOU!

It is inevitable that lunchtime conversations will revolve around college for at least a few months when you begin your senior fall. Do not let this impact your college process. Your college process is exactly that. It’s YOURS. Everyone has their own individual criteria that impact their college search, but stick to what you want. Just because your best friend thinks that warm weather is the most important characteristic of a school, does not mean that this has to be anywhere on your radar. Focus on what matters to you. Is it the size of the school? Is it the campus? The location? Do not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. And especially don’t feel like you have to follow everyone else’s timeline. There is no ‘right’ time to visit schools, begin writing essays, or finish taking the SATs. These are all things that should be determined by you and when you feel ready.

There is No Right Time to Start Tackling College Essays and Applications…But There is a Way to Limit Some of the Stress

Avoid the unnecessary stress that comes with putting of essays and applications. Begin these crucial aspects of the application process as soon as you can. Senior fall is a stressful and chaotic time for everyone. Students are trying to raise their GPAs by putting extra hours of studying in, taking extra AP courses, and filling their schedule with extra help meetings. Do not wait until you go back to school to start writing essays and filling out applications. Even if you do not find the time to finish any essays or applications during the summer, begin jotting down ideas and bullet points. This will give you a place to start in the fall, so you don’t feel as if you are starting from nothing. Getting ahead will only make the process easier in the long run. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about. Making the college process as easy and stress-free as possible.

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