Top Tips For Staying Motivated When Applying To College

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The process of applying to college can last a long time and require a lot of effort. At least, it does if you do it right! From researching programs and institutions to writing essays, there’s plenty of work to be done. This means that staying motivated throughout the process is key to being successful at it.

Motivation can often feel like an elusive concept that’s hard to grab hold of, yet it’s vital if you want to achieve your goals. Here’s some advice on how to harness yours.

What is motivation?

To begin with, let’s look more closely at what motivation actually is. Motivation can be described as the drive that keeps you pushing forward to achieve your dreams regardless of the obstacles that stand in your way. It’s the force that helps you to overcome challenges and excel in your chosen field or complete more personal goals – whether that’s getting good grades, teaching yourself to play the piano, going to the gym every day, or moving to a different country and starting a whole new life.

Top tips for keeping your motivation levels high

Despite its importance, motivation is something that almost everyone struggles with from time to time. Luckily, however, there are certain psychological tips and tactics you can use to help you boost yours. Below are just a few of the most effective. Remember that different techniques will work better for you than others, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t all work. Keep working your way through the list until you find one that does!

  • Break your main goal of ‘applying to college’ into smaller, more manageable ones. This might be ‘brainstorm ideas for my personal statement’ or ‘check www.campusreel.org to see what my chances of acceptance to Boston University are’. Then tick each one off as you complete it to give yourself a sense of progress and achievement.
  • Harness the power of positive reinforcement by allowing yourself a small reward each time you achieve one of your mini goals. This will motivate you to move straight on and work on the next one.
  • Make a Ulysses Pact with yourself. This is a commitment device that limits your future choices to ensure you do what you currently want yourself to do. For example, you could block access to social media for a specific amount of time to ensure that you write your personal statement. Alternatively, you could promise to give a friend $20 if you don’t complete it by a given deadline.
  • Create a vision board full of images that inspire you and remind you why you’re applying to college in the first place. These could be beautiful campus buildings, atmospheric libraries, a group of friends hanging out at a college coffee shop, or a graduation photo. Every time you feel your motivation wane, have a look at it and visualize yourself achieving your goal of getting into college.
  • Surround yourself with positive and motivated people so that their attitude rubs off on you. You could also find a specific accountability buddy and help each other stay on track with your college applications.