College applications take a lot of time and effort. From researching the different programs on offer to writing your personal statement, there’s a lot you need to do to stand a good chance of getting accepted. Yet in all likelihood, you’ve probably found yourself procrastinating instead of simply cracking on with the task. Don’t panic though! This post will take you through some top tips and tricks you can use to help break your bad habits and get your applications in well before the deadline.
What is procrastination?
As every student will know, procrastination is that frustrating tendency to delay or avoid doing a task until the last minute (or even after the deadline has passed). It doesn’t always mean that you’re being lazy – for example, cleaning your room instead of writing your personal statement still counts as procrastination. What it does mean is that you’re risking potentially negative consequences for reasons that are unnecessary, irrational or counterproductive.
Reasons why you might be procrastinating on your applications
There are a whole host of reasons why students procrastinate on college applications, and if you can understand the cause of your own procrastination, this might help you to better overcome it. For example, perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work involved and don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re worried that you’ll never be able to write a personal essay that’s good enough to get you into your dream program. Whatever the reason is, the following advice should be of some use in pushing through it and getting those applications completed.
Tips for beating the urge to procrastinate
There are lots of techniques you can try to stop yourself from procrastinating. Depending on your personality and the reasons behind your procrastination, you may find some of them more effective than others. So, take some time to figure out what’s most helpful for you personally and you’ll be submitting your college applications before you know it!
Eliminate distractions by putting your cellphone in a drawer on silent, and blocking access to social media on your computer for a specified amount of time
Break up the daunting task of ‘do my college applications’ into smaller and more manageable ones, such as ‘check entry requirements on CampusReel’ and ‘draw up a list of colleges to apply to’
Allow yourself a small reward once you tick off one of these mini tasks.
Declutter your desk and get some noise-canceling headphones to help you concentrate when writing your personal statement. Alternatively, work in your school library or a coffee shop – having other people around can reduce the chances of you procrastinating.
Team up with a friend who is also working on college applications, to help keep each other motivated (ideally choose someone who is driven and productive).
Try out the Pomodoro Technique, where you work solidly for 25 minutes and then allow yourself a five-minute break.
If you get writer’s block when working on your personal statement, don’t simply sit there staring at a blank page. Instead, go for a short walk in nature to clear your head and boost your creativity.