‘Tis the season for candy canes, gift-giving, flavored lattes and college applications. College applications are just another part of the dreaded process that supports a multi-million dollar business: higher education. And now, they seem as integral to the holiday season as strung lights.
According to University Language Services, most regular decision college applications are due between Jan. 1 and Feb. 1. This means that come winter break, students looking to apply for regular decision have a little over a month at most to finalize their applications.
In an online school survey from Dec. 12 to Dec. 15, 44.2 percent of seniors plan on spending their time during holiday break to work on these college applications. Albeit necessary, this is another stressor that contributes to a month filled with inherent pressure.
According to a study reported by the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people in the United States are more susceptible to higher stress levels during the holidays. This stress, in combination with daunting college applications, creates a recipe for anxiety in high school seniors during winter break.
Though students are familiar with this anxiety already, New York University reported that 49 percent of high school students feel stress on a daily basis, with college preparation cited as the greatest source.
Despite this evident stress, working on college applications is still strongly encouraged during the holidays. Once the regular admission deadline is up, one’s options for applying are limited to rolling admission, and many selective schools do not offer this option.
That is the the problem with the vicious cycle of holidays, stress and college admissions: there is little one can do to avoid it.
Managing to succeed in the balancing act between college applications and holiday stress is a present on its own, and many high school seniors have no choice but to do that exactly.