3 Ways to Avoid Overloading Your Junior and Senior Schedules

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Each year in high school, your classes are likely to grow more complex, and as you become more involved in extracurriculars, your schedule is probably going to quickly fill up. Naturally, your junior and senior years are probably going to be even busier, as in addition to everything you've already got on your plate (homework, studying and extracurriculars) you'll now be adding everything that getting into college entails (research, applications and essays). With your hands that full, the last thing you want is to become too bogged down with unnecessary work. Here are three ways to avoid overloading your schedule the last two years of high school.

1. Start Earlier Than You Think You Should

This may be the piece of advice I give most often when talking about the college admissions process. Whether it's researching colleges, crafting your application essays or asking for letters of recommendation, there is no such thing as starting too early. Doing so will save you from scrambling at the last minute.

If you've heard that before, here's another spin on it: Even if you know that you will not need all that extra time to make your college decisions, there are still aspects of this whole process that do not rely on you. Take those recommendation letters, for example. The bulk of that work doesn't even fall on your plate since your teachers, coaches or bosses are the ones writing them! The earlier you start, the less likely it is that you'll have to chase them on a deadline later when they're overloaded.

2. Use a Calendar to Track Deadline

Plenty of people have been in your shoes before, and they'll all tell you the same thing: You're going to have a lot on your plate during these two years. That may not be ideal, but it is undoubtedly the truth! To help combat any stress that brings with it, you'll want to create (and maintain!) a calendar that tracks all of your application-related deadlines.

To take things to the next level, you can use the calendar to track anything that may interfere with those application deadlines. That includes any big projects for your high school classes or important dates for your extracurriculars. Having all of these dates side-by-side will help you avoid conflicts, finish projects on time, and more.

3. Just Say No

You don't want to be stressed about how you're going to pay for college while you're thinking about what to wear for prom or homecoming, and you don't want to always have to bail on your friends because you've got other tasks to complete.

Still, it's imperative to accept the limits of your time, which means also accepting that it's okay to decline invitations every now and then. Depending on your schedule, you might have to make a few social sacrifices. You might even have to push back on your parents if you feel they're asking you to do too many chores (but tread lightly here, this process is stressful on them, too!).

Above all, prioritize your sanity and do whatever you can to avoid stress. And often that can mean recognizing when you need a little assistance. Here's a little good news for you on that front! From college rankings to help find your dream school to expert admissions counselors who can help hone your applications, we have resources to help you out no matter where you are in the process.

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