A High Schooler’s Guide to University
The transition from high school to university can be exciting yet overwhelming at the same time. How will you make new friends? What will the courses be like? Have I chosen the right program? Will I be able to cook decent meals when I’m homesick? And, of course, the dreaded Freshman 15.
Families and soon to be high school graduates can find themselves reeling from the stress of planning, managing deadlines, and fulfilling the requirements of the various programs. It can get stressful; however, with proper planning, you can find ways to tide over this period. Here, Aakanksha Tangri, Founder of Re:Set provides her guide to the university transition.
Take a break
While it’s easy to get caught up in the process of trying to do everything on your admissions check-list, it can seem intimidating if done without a break. A hiatus can help you reboot and Re:Set. It can also give you a chance to reflect and allow you to approach your to-do list with a fresh perspective. Perhaps you missed that spelling mistake during the first round of edits! Create a schedule with important deadlines, such as financial aid applications and, early admission, but most importantly don’t forget to schedule some time off, no matter how busy your weeks might seem.
Talk to others in your network
Tap into your circle and speak to those who’ve already gone through the process. They might have tips and tricks to help you. Reach out to former students, current students, professors and guidance counselors for your queries. They’ll all have invaluable insight to help you through the process, such as whether you have enough letters of recommendation or constructive notes for your essay. Keep an eye out for open days to visit the campus to get a feel of where you are planning to attend. Sometimes a school visit is all it takes to realize whether it’s the right place for you.
Research is your best friend
The internet is your best friend in this scenario. There are countless resources online such as Facebook groups, online forums and Reddit threads that offer clarity on undergraduate programs and the things you need to know in terms of university rankings, the quality of the programs on offer, faculty members and their strengths, inclusion and disability services, and job prospects post-graduation. Also, take a look at what extracurricular activities you might want to join and which school has the best options. Creating a list of pros and cons is a great tool to help whittle down options.
Spend more time together and be mindful
For parents and their kids going through the university process, one of the best ways to combat stress during this time is by simply being with each other and communicating regularly about any doubts, anxieties, nagging thoughts or anything else that might be on the mind. Find ways to momentarily distract yourself when you feel your stress levels are sky-rocketing and prioritize your downtime. Focus on your breath, go for a short walk or listen to some music when you find yourself overwhelmed. It’s also important families are on the same page about how to go about the decision making the process. It’s also crucial to devise a method to move ahead when you disagree. What are negotiable and non-negotiable points such as living within driving distance of the family home or finding a part-time job to help assist with tuition.
Do something simple like going to a movie or playing board games, any activity that will have everyone focusing on having a good time. It’s also crucial to avoid comparisons with other students and parents. This isn’t a race, and it’s completely fine to follow the application process at a pace that suits you – it is not a competition.
While the application period and transition can feel overwhelming and never-ending, a few mindful actions, a little bit of research and empathy can go a long way in making this process less arduous and stressful. And remember, it will all be worth it in the end!
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