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College Essay and Application Burnout: Causes and Solutions

college application

The college application and essay process is a lot of work for students. Many students spend hours crafting the perfect essay, tweaking their resumes, and going through rounds of interviews.

Sometimes all the work seems like too much and the pressure of it can lead to stress overload. This article will cover tips on how to overcome burnout issues while writing your application essay.

What is College Essay Burnout? 

College essay burnout is a feeling of exhaustion when writing college essays and application essays.

College Essay Burnout

It can be due to the stress of having to work harder than in high school, failing to meet expectations, or meeting too many expectations.

College essay burnout happens when students become too overwhelmed by the process of applying to college.

They then stop working on their applications.

Even though this seems like a good thing at first, it is not because college admissions officers cannot consider someone for admission if they don’t apply. 

In addition to this, colleges will sometimes rescind offers of admission if the student does not follow through with the application process.

Causes of College Application Burnout

1. Overworking 

One factor that can contribute to college application burnout is the constant writing of personal statements or essays.

Almost every college application requires an essay about why you want to go to that particular school or how you would contribute to one accepted. 

Students find themselves writing about the same topic over and over again for each application. They also have to write their essays while trying to keep them unique enough so they do not seem like they are all cut from the same cloth.

2. Lack of Prioritization

Essay Burnout

Students often apply to far too many schools (or take too many AP classes).

This can result in excessive amounts of time spent on each school, which makes applying to them seem much more daunting than it would have been had they focused their applications on fewer schools.

3. Over-Parenting

Some parents cannot help themselves from trying to micro-manage their children’s applications. The pressure this causes can become so intense that it negatively impacts their mental state.

4. Peer Pressure

Most students feel that they must apply to multiple “reach” schools to make themselves look good to others. This is a bad decision and can add a lot of stress to an already stressful process.

5. Perfectionism

Some students feel the need to make every aspect of their application perfect, which results in them spending far too much time on them than necessary. If you are spending over two hours on each application essay then you are spending too much time.

6. Lack of Sufficient Sleep and Nutrition

Students who do not get enough sleep or eat nutritious meals often feel tired and fatigued during the day. This can make it more difficult to complete tasks, such as college applications, which require a lot of energy and focus

7. Depression or Anxiety Disorder

stressed boy

Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental health problems that affect adolescents.

These conditions can affect your ability to concentrate and do well in school, making it more difficult to complete schoolwork or extracurricular that are necessary for college applications.

8. Stress from other Areas of Life

If you are having difficulties at home or in school, your stress levels may be high. When this happens, you can feel overburdened and unable to cope with additional stressors.

9. Uncertainty About the Future

College applications can be a source of anxiety because they are one of the first major life decisions that you have to make as an adolescent. Not knowing what will happen next can contribute to burnout as well.

How to Avoid College Application Burnout

In our article on the time taken to write an essay, we explained tips on writing normal essays. But today, we focus on college application essays. Here are the best ways to combat it is to take it one step at a time: 

1. Start Early

Starting the application process earlier rather than later gives students more time to complete each part of the application and have time to go back and revise it if necessary. It also allows for time for a parent or a teacher to review it as well. 

College admissions staff members also agree that starting early is beneficial to students because they can take their time with each piece of their application, which leads to a better result.

Better yet, you will have more time for your applications. Each student has a different approach to completing college applications, but for most, it takes time to complete them well.

It is impossible to write a great essay without spending multiple hours working on it, so why wait until the last minute?

Starting early allows you to take your time and produce an excellent essay that reflects well on your character while helping you stand out from other applicants.

2. Get Going

Make a plan for your essays, including where you can find inspiration and who can help you with edits. The Common App has short answer prompts on the Activities page.

Therefore, think about how you want to present yourself to an admissions committee through this section as well. Then, begin drafting your essays in August so you’ll have time for multiple drafts and revisions.

3. Proper Planning 

Proper Planning

To avoid college application burnout, make sure to take care of yourself. This is one of the college admission tips for students

Plan your own time and do what you need to do to stay happy and healthy.

This might include eating a healthy diet, meditating, getting enough sleep or exercise, and spending time with people who are important to you.

It also helps to set realistic goals. If you know that it takes time and effort for you, don’t accept deadlines that will be impossible for you to meet.

4. Keep Track of Deadlines and Dates in One Place

It may seem simple, but keeping a calendar with deadlines and dates can keep you on track. Instead of worrying about what need to do, you can simply look at your schedule and know exactly what you need to accomplish for each day.

To avoid college application burnout, other tips:

  • Do not work on more than two applications per day
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy meals and get some exercise.
  • Give yourself a break if you need one.