How to handle the stress of waiting for college acceptance letters

How to handle the stress of waiting for college acceptance letters


Are you checking your email every moment for word back from the college you applied to? Are you looking online at forums to see if college acceptance letters were sent out yet? Are you talking with your friends or family constantly about whether you’ll get into your first choice, second choice or even back-up school?

If this sounds like you, then you’re just like every other college-bound high school senior. And to help you with the wait and stay focused on the important things, we’ve compiled a list of five ways to handle the stress of waiting for your college application letters.

1. Use the stress of waiting for your college acceptance letters to start an exercise routine.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to deal with stress! It’s commonly said that exercise releases endorphins, but did you know that exercise also produces a neuromodulator called norepinephrine? It helps the brain deal with stress more efficiently, according to the American Psychological Association. Moderate exercise goes a long way towards improving your body’s response to stress. Go for a run, play some tennis, swim — whatever gets you going — and invite some other high school seniors who are also waiting on college decisions to join you.

2. Spend time with some pets when you get anxious about your college acceptance letters.

We have a special relationship with our pets, don’t we? They’re not just man’s best friend — they can also be one of your biggest stress relievers. Science is proving that pets can help you deal with anxiety and stress, and schools are catching up to the wellness benefits that Fido can provide. Marymount brings in therapy dogs to help students deal with academic stress, and students are reporting they’re happier and calmer after spending time with some furry companions. Don’t have a pet? Volunteer at your local animal welfare league and feel even better about helping shelter animals!

3. A good diet can help with high school and college stress.

Eating healthy is directly linked to feeling better and handling stress throughout the day. Mayo Clinic recommends starting your day with a breakfast rich in protein to give you energy. Complex carbohydrates like whole grain oatmeal, quinoa, cereals and breads increase serotonin and have a calming effect on your mind and body. And, as always, limit caffeine and sugary foods and drink lots of water. You’ll have more energy to focus on academic success instead of feeling worried and stressed.

4. Having a hobby can help you combat the stress of transitioning to college.

Hobbies have a great way of channeling nervous energy and pouring it into something positive. The Society of Behavioral Medicine discovered that hobbies improve your mood, well-being or life satisfaction. They also beat a depressed mood and give you better stress-coping skills as you wait on those college acceptance letters. Playing cards, painting a picture, journaling — any hobby works as long as you enjoy it! Not to mention, it’ll help you productively pass the time as you wait on those college decisions.

5. Don’t let waiting on your college acceptance letters keep you from relaxing.

You may have a lot on your schedule with school, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs and more. On top of that, those college admissions letters could arrive any minute. The American Heart Association recommends that you take time out of your busy day to relax. Put down the smartphone, turn off the TV, take a study break and spend 5-10 minutes closing your eyes and breathing. Shutting out the distractions and centering yourself is proven to lower your heart rate and reduce stress. And, you’ll feel better after taking a break from the college admission worries that might fill your head throughout the day!

Applying to college is no joke, and it’s hard to wait on acceptance letters. The thought of not knowing what the future holds for the next four years can be overwhelming. But here at Marymount, we understand the struggle of the transition from high school senior to college first-year student, and we hope these five ways will give you some good ideas on how to ease the worry and stress of waiting.