Students looking over an essay.

College application season can be tough. People expect you to write essays, build résumés, find teachers to write recommendation letters, still maintain your grades, play a sport, run a club, and have a social life—without having a pre-quarter-life crisis. When life gets hectic, it can be easy for the application process to become a blur. Your adrenaline will kick in and at some point. You’ll become so focused on pressing “submit” that you’ll forget to slow down and take it all in.

So here are four things to remember before submitting your applications. (And by default, to help you avoid rushing through the college application process.)

Remember to Ask Yourself: Would I Even Go Here if Admitted?

When applying to schools, it’s easy to push off refining your college list until decisions come out. But, realistically, the sooner you make those tough choices, the better.

Why? Well, college applications take time and money. And in all honesty, there are probably not that many schools that you can truly imagine yourself attending.

So, before submitting or starting your applications, ask yourself: Would I go here if I got in? Is this a place that could feel like home? Can I be myself here? If no is the answer, stop the application. Instead, dedicate that time, energy, and money toward a school that feels more like you. You’ll also be doing other applicants a favor since you won’t possibly be taking a spot from someone who really does want to go there.

Remember to Read Your Writing Out Loud

That adrenaline rush and desire to hit “submit” that I mentioned earlier? Yes, it’s also going to strike you when working on your written portions. You’ll want to finish and upload them so you can feel a sense of accomplishment. But before submitting your application, read them out loud to catch any errors that may be lingering.

It may seem silly, but when you have to speak what’s written, you’ll notice errors that your brain would typically correct on its own. Maybe it’s a missing word or a jumbled sentence that trips you up. Perhaps you’ve misspelled something or there’s a paragraph that seems to run on forever. Regardless, speaking your sentences out loud will help you ensure that they have a good grammatical flow. Whether you read it to your mom or recite it alone at 2:00 a.m., this trick can also help improve the writing in your activities section!

Remember to Breathe

Applying to college can be a lot to handle, so don’t let it consume you. Before submitting your applications, make sure you make some time for yourself. At the end of the day, you are still human. So find ways to de-stress, breathe, and have fun. Hang out with friends, go to the big football game, read a book, or take a nap. Whatever it may be, make sure there’s still time for it. 🙂

Remember That a Negative Decision Won’t Ruin Your Life

When applying to college, most students think an unfavorable decision means their self-worth as a person and a student will decrease. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I know it all sounds cliché, but I really do mean it. You have worked incredibly hard to get where you are now, and no matter where you end up, you’ll thrive. Your success is not dependent on where you go. Instead, you determine your own success based on how you choose to approach your undergraduate years. So before submitting your application, remind yourself that this is your journey and only you can decide to make it a bad one. But, hopefully, you’ll choose to make it a good one, even if you get some unwanted news.

I’m Ryan, a senior in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration on the intersections of Photography and Themes of Justice and a minor in Print Journalism. On campus, I’m an Admissions Ambassador, a resident assistant in Brittany Hall, and have an internship! Outside of class, I love exploring the city with friends and grabbing waffles at brunch. Most importantly though, above all else, I’m a military kid who’s moved every two years and lived worldwide!