• Lauren Schapiro, LMSW

5 Ways to Navigate the College Application Process


5 Ways to Navigate the College Application Process

The summer is coming to an end soon and back to school is quickly approaching. Starting a new year at school can be a stressful time for students as they begin to think about the upcoming year ahead.


This can be an especially difficult time for the rising senior class. These students are in the midst of applying to colleges. While many college applications will receive acceptance letters, some will receive rejection letters. This article offers tips to navigate the college application process.


There are several things to keep in mind as you or your teen heads into this process.


1. Allow Yourself to Feel Your Feelings

It is okay to feel whatever it is you are feeling when you get accepted or rejected from a school. Give yourself time to process these emotions. If you ignore those feelings of disappointment, it is possible that they will last even longer. Some coping skills that might help could be writing in a journal, reaching out to a trusted friend, crying, or doing a hobby that you enjoy.


2. Practice Being Kind to Yourself

This process can bring out negative self-talk. Often it feels like personalizing the rejection and thinking something is wrong with you or that you are not good enough. None of this is true. The college application process is not black and white and it is extremely important to interrupt these negative thoughts. Try keeping track of thoise negative thoughts and replace them with alternative thoughts that may be more accurate in regard to the situation.


3. Pay Attention to Your Strengths

No matter which school you end up going to, you are still you! You will still be able to succeed and enjoy your time. Try to remind yourself of the characteristics of the schools you enjoy and you will notice that you can find them at more than one school. You can have a positive experience at a school even if it isn’t your first choice!


4. Try to Have Multiple Perspectives

It is not fun to experience rejection, but in the future, being rejected from a school will not feel as big of a deal as it does at the moment. It takes strength to put yourself out there. Getting into college is not always easy. Try to be vulnerable in this process. Remember that even if it does not work out with one particular school, it will be okay. You will find your place.


5. This is Part of Life

Learning to cope with rejection is a huge life skill. This is not to say you have to feel happy if things don’t work out with applications. This just means that it is a life skill to learn how to cope with things that may not work out how you want them to. This skill will be useful later on in life with jobs, graduate school, friendships, dating, etc.


This is an emotional, high-stress time for those thinking about going to college. We know it can be difficult to navigate being told no. If you’re looking for more support in managing the college application process, we’re here to help. Please reach out to Liz Morrison Therapy to meet with one of our social workers.