5 Ways to Make It Through College Application Season

This is the time of year when high school seniors start to feel like it's impossible to get everything done for their college applications. They know that in between studying to take the ACTs or SATs one more time, maintaining their grades, and trying to keep up with their extracurricular activities, they usually need to fill out multiple applications and write dozens of essays to fulfill all of the upcoming deadlines. It's like tax season for a kid.

I can relate. Two weeks ago, I was having my own "senior moment."

I had to be in Philadelphia to meet with a student and her parents on the Thursday before Labor Day Weekend. I knew it was going to be a crazy week to make a house call, but I love this family and I wanted to make it work. I had seven essays to edit, a call with my inaugural Application Nation Facebook group, and a back-to-school night at my oldest child's school. I couldn't imagine squeezing in one more thing.

As I finally reached the parking garage a block away from my appointment, my phone rang. My executive director started screaming into the phone, "DID YOU SEE THE EMAIL?!" 
 
No, I hadn't seen the email! I was late to my appointment. And, I was convinced that my SUV was too tall to survive the low-hanging ceiling of this narrow garage in Center City Philadelphia. Before I lost my signal in the dungeons of the garage, I was able to make out that CNBC wanted me to appear as a guest on their show, "Power Lunch," that day. 
 
No time to prepare. No time to spare. Yet, no reason to say anything but "YES!"
 
I met with the student and her parents. Re-applied my make-up in a taxi. And walked into an NBC-affiliate studio ten minutes before appearing on live TV
 
It was a big break. Mind you, I have been working four straight years to have that chance. I didn't even remember what I said in the segment. But as soon as I finished, my phone blew up. Friends, family members, and complete strangers called, texted, and emailed me. I couldn't believe I had pulled it off. 
 
Watching the segment on my desktop with my husband and kids surrounding me that night was one of the best moments of my life. It reminded me of the incredible experience when a student gets admitted to their first college or even their dream school. You just keep viewing it again and again to make sure it really happened. Just like my CNBC break, a college acceptance is the result of four straight years of hard work.
 

Watch my segment on CNBC's Power Lunch to hear my thoughts on the current lawsuit against Harvard University and the Asian bias in college admissions.



As I logged onto my computer the following morning, I was well aware of the insane amount of work on my plate, but I knew that there would be a surge of pride and relief when it was completed. I also recognized the indelible parallel between my moment and the incredible successes coming for our high school seniors.
 

So in these weeks and months leading up to application deadlines, here are a few gentle reminders for me and those seniors: 

1. Take one day at a time.
Get as much done as you can, and start your next day ready to tackle more.

2. Lean on others.
Moms, dads, and teachers are incredibly supportive when you need to bounce ideas off of them or just simply vent.
 
3. Say "yes" to those things that allow you to grow even when it's stressful.
You will thank yourself for saying "yes."
 
4. The reward of seeing all of your hard work pay off is simply priceless.
 
5. Have fun with this.
It is momentous and spectacular. You will remember this forever.
 

Say "yes" to those things that allow you to grow even when it's stressful.
You will thank yourself for saying "yes." TWEET THIS