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Help Students Avoid Procrastination with College Applications

written by: Julia Bodeeb • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 8/2/2012

Some students get stuck in the middle of the college application process because they are overwhelmed by the paperwork. Other students are so anxious they cannot even begin the applications. This articles provides helpful tips to get students to take action and finalize their college applications.

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    Apply For College Can Seem Overwhelming

    Teenagers get overwhelmed with anxiety quite easily when it comes to the college application process. They get disorganized and let the paperwork for applications pile up until it becomes unmanageable. Soon they will stop working on the applications altogether.

    Students benefit greatly from a bit of gentle questioning from teachers. Be proactive about helping your high school senior students stay on track with their college applications. There are ways to help motivate them to get applications in at least on time, if not early.

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    Getting Them Started

    Post Application Due Dates for In-State Colleges

    Go online and get information about the due dates for college applications at all colleges in the state. The guidance department most likely can help you with this information. Make a large poster listing the name of the college and the application due date. Refer to the dates as they start to get closer in time.Give students gentle reminders of the upcoming due dates for applications on a regular basis.

    Make a Board for College Acceptance Letters

    Create a bulletin board where you will post any copies of college acceptance letters that students would like to have posted. Create this board in the early fall and tell students what it is for. Let them know that once they have received a college acceptance letter you will be delighted to post it on the bulletin board in the classroom. This will motivate students to get their applications in and start the process of waiting for an acceptance letter.

    Be Available to Help Students

    Be in the library to help students on certain days. Let them know ahead of time that you will be in the library during lunch time or after school. Tell students that if they feel overwhelmed they can drop by and talk to you and that you will help them sort through the paperwork. For students who are the first in their family to go to college, sometimes the application process is very stressful; they don’t have anyone at home who feels comfortable helping them with the applications.

    Maintain Contact with the Guidance Department

    Talk to the guidance department about students who seem particularly overwhelmed or who are stalled in the application process. Ask guidance to set up meetings with students who need their assistance deciding where to apply to college or with the financial aid forms.

    Provide Books and Articles about the College Application Process

    Have a bookcase in the classroom devoted to materials about the college application process. Keep this share library stocked with books you find at book sales or the flea market. It is very helpful to students to read about tips to apply to colleges.You may also put piles of articles you found on this topic in the bookcase. Students will browse the library frequently looking for helpful information about the college application process.

    Talk to Parents

    Check in with parents of the students who are overwhelmed and procrastinating about college applications. Discuss the student’s progress with them and let them know they may contact you at any time to let you know if the student needs some help.