It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and in light of the current COVID-19 crisis we are all facing, now is a perfect time to take a look at how we’re doing. No really, how are you doing?
Whether you’re a student or parent, the college admissions process can be overwhelming. And this year, COVID-19 and the subsequent changes to life as we know it have led the college admissions world into new territory. On top of families adjusting to completing the school year online, taking precautions to stay healthy, potentially losing jobs, and even losing loved ones, the changes to the college admissions process adds even more uncertainty, especially since many colleges don’t have a set plan and are still developing strategies to respond to the current crisis.
With all that said, it’s clear that taking care of yourself and managing your mental health through the college planning process is more important than ever right now. So here are some ways to keep yourself grounded and mentally healthy as you plan and prepare for college.
- Focus on what you can do. Yes, there’s likely an endless list of things you thought you would be doing right now that you can’t, like finishing out your year at school, taking standardized tests, participating in extracurricular activities, attending college visits, etc. However, rather than focusing on what you can’t do, shift your focus to the things in your control. For example, we’re not positive on how each college will change their admissions requirements for the fall, but they’ll still be reviewing transcripts, standardized test scores that are submitted, applications, and essays. Spend this time strengthening your application profile by completing your online school assignments, studying for the ACT or SAT to be prepared for when you can next take it, using online resources and our College Dream Builder program to build the perfect college list, and brainstorming essays. Worrying about what you don’t know will only cause more stress, so shift your energy to something more productive during this time.
- Focus on the facts. There is so much news pushed out each day with updates and predictions for how colleges are going to respond, but it’s not all facts. So instead of overloading your mind with articles and trying to decipher what’s true or not, limit your daily news intake and go directly to reputable sources. For example, the National Association for College Admission Counseling has developed a resource to search for many school’s updated policies and responses to COVID019. Or you can go directly to the official sites that you are seeking information on, whether it’s the official college websites or the official registration sites for the SAT and ACT.
- Take time to care for yourself. It’s great to use your extra time to prepare and plan for college, but I cannot stress enough how important and beneficial it is to take care of yourself! Make time for things that help you stay grounded, whether that’s going for a walk, doing an at home workout, reading leisurely, connecting with friends via phone calls or video chats, or anything else that brings you life. Take breaks throughout the day to check in with yourself and make sure you’re doing alright. And go easy on yourself – the college admissions process can be stressful and the current crisis just adds to it. So remember that it’s okay to not be okay, but make sure to be giving yourself what you need each day to stay healthy and reach out to your friends and family for support.
- Don’t do it alone. I know I just said this, but seriously, don’t go through this process alone. In the midst of the unknown, it can be hard to stay positive and know how to move forward and plan for the future. So take advantage of the people around you that love and care for you – they want you to succeed! So stay connected to others and ask questions, whether it’s with your parents, high school guidance counselors, admissions representatives, or even us here at College Dream Builder – we’d love to support you through your college admissions process!
Thankfully, the crisis we’re currently facing is temporary, but the effects of this season are already extending into the next admissions cycle. So again, we’re here to help you navigate the unknown and make sure you and your college applications are as prepared as possible to get into your dream college. And most importantly, remember to take care of your mental health through this time!
Until Next Time,
College Admissions Consultant