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PART 4: Five Ways to Stay Grounded During the College Process

By now I’m guessing many of your email boxes are being inundated with college emails and possibly even some paper materials in the old fashioned mailbox too. Either way it is coming at you, it can become overwhelming. Mail from every direction usually hits about this time every year because PSAT scores were just released for many students in December and if they checked the box on their registration form that they wanted college information about scholarships, etc. you’ve now made the list!

According to my students, “email is for old people” (and colleges know this) so now colleges are trying EVERY method possible to reach more students. Are you feeling overwhelmed just thinking about all the mail you’ve received recently? Some of the information is very good but the hard part is managing it all.

So, now we’ve identified the challenge, let’s discuss the 4th way to stay grounded during the college process. This is where a good life lesson comes into play. Let’s face it, email isn’t going away any time soon. My students have been saying it’s for “old people” for over 10 years! We need to learn how to manage it. This is just laying the groundwork for when students are seniors and have to start tracking applications, deadlines, essays, and so much more.

Here are my tips:

  • Create one place to put everything college related. Minimize the clutter. (This can be a box, bin, drawer, file, whatever! But agree to ONE place and stick with it.)

  • Set up email filters to help keep the inbox somewhat clear and organized. Email filters can save you time by automatically sorting, labeling or deleting messages as soon as they arrive in your inbox. You can create filters for a specific sender, subject or even specific words contained in the body of the email or the subject line. Visit the help section of your email provider for details about setting up filters.

  • During the busy application season, create a calendar that students and parents can see at all times which includes application deadlines or other important dates. This eliminates nagging, eye rolling, and (hopefully) keeps the peace. I recommend making deadlines just a few days earlier than the actual deadline so there aren’t any last minute emergencies trying to get an application submitted. Waiting until the last minute creates unnecessary stress and is not fun for anyone.

The hardest part of managing the chaos is creating a simple plan and sticking to it. While I haven’t provided a detailed plan, the tips above should help eliminate a little bit of the chaos as you move through your college process.

Coming up in a few weeks, the 5th way of staying grounded during the college process is Bring Peace. And if you've missed parts 1-3, you can catch up here.


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