Whether you’re applying to undergrad or graduate school, it’s hard not to feel stressed. The waiting period feels like it lasts for a millennium and the nervousness that comes along with it is extreme. According to Ming Chen and Ashley White, Admissions Counselors at Augusta University, admissions anxiety is a very real thing, and people experience it every day. However, there are steps to deal with and address these anxieties.
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Spending time thinking about your test scores and your application isn’t going to change your application. Don’t go back and read your essays or compare your test scores. No one’s application is 100% perfect, and yours isn’t either. And that is OKAY!!! Feel encouraged that you took the first step by applying. Ashley says, “Use the check status tool and make sure it says complete and ready for review. If it says that, fill your day with something else. Do something fun!”
2. Accept and ask for help.
Stress and anxiety have very negative effects on your health and well-being. Instead of trying to cope with how you are feeling alone, talk to someone. Having a strong support system, whether that includes family, friends, or admissions/guidance counselors, these people are really important when you’re going through a major life change. Ming says, “Ask your Admissions Counselors for help! As long as you ask questions and express what you’re struggling with, they will tell you the answers you need.” If they don’t know what you’re feeling, they can’t know how to help.
3. Keep up with your work and have fun.
Just because you’ve applied, doesn’t mean your life is on pause. Keep yourself busy with homework and your studies and learn as much as you can. If you’re already in the workforce, keep working! Ming and Ashley agree, “Don’t let stress keep you from having fun with your friends! If you’re still in high school, you’re never going to have another last home football game so go enjoy it and have fun.” If you’re applying for grad school, enjoy your free time because you’re in for a huge change once graduate school starts.
One extremely common method of dealing with stress is to hit the gym. Exercise is one of the most recommended stress-reducing techniques by health care professionals. Not only does it keep your mind busy and distracted, but it also gives your body an outlet for the stress and puts your energy into something positive.
5. Prestige isn’t everything.
Though most of us want to strive for the top schools out there, most colleges accept over 50% of applicants. So if your first few choices don’t work out, don’t give up! Every college/graduate program is different and there are incredible opportunities out there. You just have to look! Look deeper than the name of a college and whether or not it will be recognized, look for a place that will truly feel like home.
6. Do as much research as you can.
When you do get accepted, research will help you make an informed decision about where you want to spend your next years. Knowing about the school or program you plan to join only makes the decision easier when the time comes. This also keeps you busy which helps with the stress. Also, don’t forget that even though you haven’t been accepted yet, you can still visit the campus, research scholarships, housing information, etc. while you’re waiting! This way, you have more time to do these things instead of rushing after you receive your admissions response.
Not knowing when you will get a response is usually the most stressful part of applying somewhere. Try to remember that even if you don’t get in, it isn’t the end of the world! There are other options that may work better for you. Relax, have fun, and know that as long as you have turned everything in you will be fine!
At Augusta University, our Admissions Counselors are here to help you throughout the entire admissions process. Ashley says, “if you don’t get accepted after sending in your application, you can resubmit supporting documents if the requirements aren’t met. Talk to an Admissions Counselor and they will tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your application. You don’t even have to resubmit an application or pay the application fee again!” They are not only here to help, but they also are passionate and WANT to help, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask as many questions as you need to. The Admissions Counselors here at AU suggest that you apply for early admissions, so if you don’t get in, there’s plenty of time to work on improving your application. If it still doesn’t work out, there are other opportunities. For example, for undergrad students, you could apply to East GA (still on the AU campus), and transfer later.
Our Admissions Counselors stress that “You should reach out to them and express your struggles so they can help you as best as they can, YOU are what they’re here for.”