Top Ten Ways to Survive the College Application Process
Posted 01/19/2018 05:00PM

Survive the College Application Process

Ekaterina Plotnikova ’18, who previously explored the many joys of being an IB student and shared some tongue-in-cheek strategies for coping with the stress of a heavy workload, now offers a bit of humorous advice to the many seniors who are struggling to balance their normal academic responsibilities with the daunting task of completing all their college applications.

By Ekaterina Plotnikova ’18

Do not procrastinate on your college essays. Everything you do now will pay off, and everything that you do not do now will haunt you until you die. This regards all the college essays you need to write. And honestly, just follow the questions that will guide you to write the best essay for the desired university. Be careful with time, and you’ll want to make sure someone else reads your essay and points out all the grammatical and stylistic mistakes. It is easy to manage your time—just use different tools that plan all the tasks that need to be completed. Be careful not to find yourself spending too much time selecting the best-designed tools either.

Get into your dream school. And even if you don’t, have a couple of dream schools. That way you will always have a backup plan, regardless of what your path will look like in a couple of months. And don’t exaggerate; it won’t be the end of the world if you have to accept your second or third college choice. It happens. Just make sure you are doing your best. That way you will never feel disappointed.


Breathe and relax. Sometimes you need a break. During the breaks feel free to eat something junky—just make sure your personal statement isn’t junky! Again, just be focused and do your best!


Lemon water is good for you. Water in general is a good hydration source and will help you relax and be productive during the process. Small sips will let you stay focused and on top of your writing game!


Look out the window. Many people have no idea what you are up to, so stop screaming about how tired you are, how much you have to do, and how everything overwhelms you. Everyone is in the same position, and you aren’t the star of the universe. It’s also not encouraging to whine all the time. It definitely doesn’t motivate anyone at all.


Search for the requirements. Achieve your goals by setting them. And don’t be afraid to lose—remember, you don’t win without losing or sacrificing. Maybe one day you will understand why this is important right now, or maybe one day you will think it’s a waste of time and college is useless (just kidding, it’s really not)

Motivate yourself with everything you have already done, and not with everything you will have to do.


Do what you need to do when you need to do it, so you can do what you want to do when you want to do it.


Don’t spend too much time on social media. It’s time-consuming and doesn’t help you succeed. Every 20 minutes have a break and look at something 20 feet away to give your eyes a rest, but don’t spend that little break surfing on your phone.


Start your applications early and end before the deadline. Colleges want to see how focused you are on all your assignments. The deadline for applying is automated, so you either submit the documents or you don’t apply at all. Make sure you organize everything beforehand.


Set reasonable goals, don’t overload yourself with impossible amounts of work, be thoughtful, and be encouraged. Motivate yourself with everything you have already done, and not with everything you will have to do. And, honestly, it’s really not about the top schools. You can get an awesome undergraduate degree outside the Ivy League, as long as you like your major and the geographic position of the university. And if not, you can always transfer to another place and make new friends and see new things. However, you might have to go through the whole application process again. But you will survive because it’s you, and no one can be you better than you!

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