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While the holidays are a time of happiness and reconnecting with family, as well as winter vacation, we all know that they can sometimes be stressful, too. And when students are in the midst of applying to college, the stress can be even worse. Here are some common stressors about college during the holiday season and how to deal with them.

Stress about relatives constantly asking about college applications

Remember, relatives who ask about college applications mean well and are showing interest in students’ lives. Still, it can be stressful to constantly field questions about college applications all the time when all a student wants to do is get away from the applications.

Students probably already have a standard response to such questions, and they should feel free to use it. They should be polite and make sure that they let their family members know that they appreciate their interest, but can also tell prying relatives that they have been thinking non-stop about applications for the better part of three months (or longer!) and can guide the discussion elsewhere.

They can share what they want to with family members about college apps (the subject, of course, is likely to come up) and then move on to tell relatives about what else is going on in other aspects of their lives.

If family members persist in asking questions, politely telling them that discussing applications right now causes a lot of anxiety and that talking about college applications makes it worse can help put a stop to the questions.

Stress about getting the last of the applications done

College application season will be over soon, but students may still feel stressed about the last applications. They should make sure to get their applications done and set a schedule for working on those last minute applications as well as time for relaxation.

Reminding themselves that they completed other applications while school and extracurricular activities were still in session should help students realize that they have more available time during the break, which may help them de-stress a little bit.

That said, it is hard to be on vacation and working on applications; the school year can be stressful and students understandably want to relax. For that reason, they should make sure to budget their time so that they can finish up the last of their applications as well as enjoy time to hang out with their friends, veg out on the couch, sleep in, or whatever they want to do with their downtime.

Waiting till the last possible moment to do applications will not make students feel less stressed, so avoid procrastination and manage time wisely.

Finally, students should think of the relief that being done with applications will bring, and make a plan to celebrate being done with the applications afterwards! Finishing up a dozen college applications is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Stress about getting into college

Remember that fit is the single most important factor in determining which college is right for a student. Famous colleges may sound good, but in the end students are best served by universities that match their interests, their needs and their strengths. Ultimately, students will get out of their college experience what they put into it, which means that they control the quality of their education and can be happy and successful wherever they end up attending. By researching colleges and carefully deciding where to apply, students have guaranteed themselves a good fit. Students should take comfort in knowing this.

Taking some time to think about what is exciting about college and the new opportunities that it presents can be a good antidote to stressing over applications. When students are in the midst of writing essay after essay, they can lose track of why they are putting themselves through the college application process in the first place. By remembering that college is a time of new experiences, new friends and a new phase in their lives, students can reinvigorate themselves by thinking about all they have to look forward to next fall!