Juggle Homework and College Apps without Going Insane

college appsQuick! How many plates does your teen have spinning in the air? Between homework, extracurriculars, and a social life it can be stressful to keep up. Add in one more spinning plate in the form of college applications and it all just might come crashing down.

But with some planning, it is possible to add one more element to that already long to-do list without losing your mind. Tell your teen “You can do it!” and share these tips:

  1. Make a list. Check it twice. Has your teen created a checklist of everything they need for their college applications? From recommendations to essays now is the time to do it. Take into account all the deadlines and plot them on a chart that shows when each is due. Assigning dates can make it all seem more real and definite. (Thinking early admission? Better get going!)
  2. Overlay that chart with your short- and long-term studying needs. Add in everything coming up in the next few weeks, from the mundane weekly French vocabulary quizzes to the monumental 5-page history essay.
  3. See where your pressure points are – and plan for them. Do a key college application due date and major chem exam fall on the same day? Avoid a head-on collision by finishing up your application early. You can’t study too far in advance, but you can get your college app done anytime.
  4. Start early. This will save you from scrambling at the last minute. For example, request teacher recommendations now. You’ll avoid chasing them on deadline since teachers get overloaded right before the holidays. And for essays, we all know that everyone’s writing is better when it’s been put away and reviewed over, and over, and over again.
  5. Take advantage of little pockets of time. How often do we waste 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there? Create a list of tasks you can do in 10 minutes, like making flash cards or outlining an essay. Even if you can’t finish it, you’ll feel a surge of energy when you re-open a document and see that something is already there…instead of a blank page.
  6. Cross stuff off. It’s a fact – crossing something off just feels inspiring! Break your big projects into little ones. It’s easier to plan and every task you get done helps you feel more accomplished.
  7. Leave time for the unexpected. One trick is to look at the actual due date and mark it down one day before. Sometimes things go awry and you need that last day. But if you don’t, just sit back and smile while everyone else runs around stressing.
  8. Just say no. Accept the limits on your time and realize there might be a weekend when you have to say no to the extra babysitting job, to hanging out at your BFF’s house, or to running mom’s errands (just don’t tell anyone we said that).
  9. Ask for help. Call on Tutor.com for a brain boost when you’re running low. We can help you understand that challenging concept in calculus or give an extra polish to your college essay.
  10. This, too, shall pass. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it comes with the whoosh of the “send” button. Schoolwork will go on all year, but the college application season, mercifully, has an end in sight!

It may seem like a circus trying to jump through all the hoops required to keep your grades up while rocking your college apps. But with these tips, you can tame the craziness!


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