Getting ready for college is easy like a 1, 2, 3

How seniors can get prepared for college and reduce stress


Summer Campbell, Reporter

If you’re like me, you’ve been dreaming about college since fourth grade. Or you push away the thought of it and hold on to the now. No matter how you view college, or what kind of student you are, most of us have college as the next step into the long winding road of life. This road is full of many unknown things that can bring us joy, laughter, excitement, anxiety, and stress. Sadly, it is highly likely that college will bring you the last two as it tends to be something most of us stress over, even if we know we will be okay. 

The class of 2021 will experience getting ready and applying to colleges very differently than previous classes. Why? Due to Covid-19, most of us don’t get to go on the tour of our dream college or meet with our counselors face-to-face to discuss what exactly our next steps are. Kristyn Allgaier, a senior at Urbana, says that due to online school “it’s harder to get in touch with them [teachers and guidance counselors] and makes communicating difficult.”

SAT and ACT exams have been canceled and rescheduled, making it extremely difficult to schedule one close to you within a reasonable time frame. All of these factors, plus filling out your FAFSA and applying for scholarships and grants, can increase your anxiety and stress dramatically. “In a survey from The College Board and Seventeen magazine, 70 percent of graduating high school seniors said they were either always or often stressed about college applications,” says Today. 70% of the 2021 graduating seniors is about 321 students at Urbana High. That’s a lot of you prospective college students stressing over an application that dictates the next 2-4 years of your life. For some of you, not being at school has made it harder to complete your day to day classes, and now you need to worry about college applications too. Alex Rengen, soon to be a UHS graduate after taking on the IB program, says that he “feel[s] more disorganized and unprepared. It makes it hard for me to get a good understanding of what I need to do for college applications.” While this may seem even more daunting and scary, I’ve got you covered with ways to keep yourself on track for that deadline in November (or December or January), as well as ways to help calm you down so that you can still enjoy your senior year. 

First, creating a list of prospective colleges is a great way to get started. When doing this, make sure you think of yourself and what you want. Whether it’s a big university with a D1 football team or a small college near a lake that is surrounded with acres of land, you decide what kind of college you want to attend. Once you figure out what you like and what you want them to offer, find colleges that fit your academic criteria. This includes your SAT/ACT scores, GPA, etc. Feel free to apply to schools that may have a higher or lower score; in the end, it’s up to you! Once you narrow that down, this is when your parents mainly come in: the financial part. You and your family know what you can afford, so go with it. If you are concerned about this side, apply to as many scholarships and grants as you can. Now that you have the colleges that you want to apply to, mark the dates into your calendar. Whether you’re applying for early decision, early action, or regular admission, make sure to remember it. After these main things are done, it’s all about filling out your application. I suggest dedicating at least 1-3 days a week to work on a certain part of your application. Before you know it, deadline day will be here. 

At this point, your heart might be racing with sweaty palms and labored breathing. Take a deep breath. Everything will be okay. There are many ways to reduce stress and anxiety, trust me. I asked current seniors at Urbana High about ways they have been dealing with their stress amid Covid-19 and their impending college applications. Rachael Lee says that she likes to “sleep, run, and spend time with my dog” to help her during this time. A study by the American Psychological Association details how teens with low stress sleep more hours per night than do teens with high stress. In order to get this stress down so that you can get a good night’s rest, Healthline suggests: exercising, lighting a candle in your favorite scent, and spending time with your friends and family. Overall, doing things that help take your mind off of what you have to do will help reduce your stress. The major thing I suggest is doing daily affirmations, which is encouraging yourself. This not only will help build your confidence, but is a great way to remind yourself that you got this and no matter what, you are ready for this crazy thing called life. So have no fear, you will get through this, and I will be right there with you every step of the way. 



TodayShow. “How to Help High School Seniors Avoid This College Application Regret.”, 14 Aug. 2018, 

“Stress and Sleep.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 2013, 

Jennings, Kerri-Ann. “16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 28 Aug. 2018, 

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