Get motivated to start your college applications

Get motivated to start your college applications

Applying to colleges on its own is difficult

Classes and friends and sports teams and music groups make it a different beast.

Are you overwhelmed?

I know I was. I never knew where to start. Some nights, I just sat in front of a blank page, trying to write. Needless to say, the thoughts didn’t come, the motivation didn’t appear.

I felt pressure to complete my applications but I couldn’t give myself a reason to work.

Applications–later. Essays–later. Scholarships–later. It always seems like you have more time.


keyboard and notebook on desk


The year before, I had committed myself to starting the writing process over the summer. I waited until September.

It would have been much easier if I had started in July.


You need to find time

Summer is busy, but it’s rarely as busy as the school year. Setting aside an hour or two a week to work on applications should be pretty easy.

During the school year, finding time is more difficult, but also more important.


sunglasses on beach

Sit on the beach, or work on your essays…?


But what exactly do you do with that time?

You could read up on colleges to apply to, you could apply for scholarships, you could start an essay, etc. The list goes on too long and becomes unuseful. It gets overwhelming. It gets stressful.

We flee from stress.

Rather than spending that hour working, we waste it watching TV. Not that I’ve got anything against having fun, but at some point, you have to get stuff done.


tv and computer


Learn from my mistakes

When I first started applying to colleges, I went in blind. Even when I blocked out time to work on “college applications” nothing got done.

I needed help, but did I seek it out? No, I watched TV or… watched TV.

I missed out on applying early and almost missed out on a scholarship that saved me thousands.

It’s easy to let the process get the better of you. Applying is a commitment we get forced into but one we’re not always ready for.




If you want to use your time well:

  • Set aside time at least once a week.
  • Make a list of everything you need to do.
  • Focus on one thing at a time until you finish everything.


Another trap

We all struggle to motivate ourselves. With a strong focus on the present, we tend to seek short-term solutions and to avoid work.

It’s wired within us, which makes it difficult to change. But if you want to, you can.

To change work ethic, you must start shifting perspectives. Focus a little more on where you want to be rather than where you are.

It all starts with one question: what do you want your life to be like? In other words, what do you want your future to be? No matter where you see yourself now’s the time to step up. Only you can provide self-motivation.


do something great


The college you choose affects your future friends, personality, career, goals, ambition. It can change your life for the better.

If you don’t take control of your applications, you may not be happy where you end up.

I challenge you to start taking some responsibility for the decision. You may not want to, you may think you’re able to, but you must find a way.


You’re not alone

You have plenty of resources around you: colleges, parents, counselors, teachers, and friends.

If you have questions then reach out to them. Don’t expect people to know what you’re struggling with before you explain it to them. Expect them to help after you confront them.


friends jumping


Your school counselor and college admissions counselors are paid to help you. It’s their job, help them do it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re too busy or get scared of setting up an appointment.

You’re a contact away from all the answers you need.


Photos by Lukas Blazek, Sai Kiran Anagani, Oliur Rahman, NeONBRAND, Clark Tibbs, Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

Sam Burian

The founder of Study Forth. Sam graduated top 10 in his class and is attending St. Olaf College to major in economics. Sam strives to help himself and others be the best they can. He hopes to motivate other high schoolers and give them the resources they need to thrive.