Take Control of Your College “Game”                       by Patti Brugman

         Recently, I saw Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Zach Johnson at the Chevron World Challenge. Their poise and performance reminded me of many of our wonderful students.  Not all are top performers, but when it comes to the college process, we see students with focus, ambition, and drive. As a high school student of any grade, you can take control of your college "game" right now. Everything is up to you and how you present yourself.

         The first step to improving your college "game," is to consider your attitude. Your outlook, as you deal with the difficulties that challenge you, will determine how others see you. Pretend you are a famous athlete and that the camera is always on you. What image are you projecting to your adoring public?

         This isn’t too far-fetched, because the college application process does have a public component. Strangers from outside your comfort zone will be looking at your application package and assessing your fit into their college. Every time you send an application, you’re going public with your image.  But, no need to stress.  Consider admissions committees as your adoring fans.  They want you to “win” admission to your best choice school.  They really do.

         Still, stress comes from everywhere.  Let's undo some of that anxiety by finding ways to control how you project yourself. First of all, find the athlete in you. Walk tall and purposeful. Feel like you have mighty shoulders and know you can make the shot, no matter the game. Let your physical confidence help your mental agility. Study with the same focus a golfer takes with a putt or a basketball player with a free throw. Stand tall, relax, and aim carefully. Let the feeling of success surge through you and make it happen.

         Smiling is another great way to handle the stress of the application season. Life brings on trouble for people of all ages, so try smiling occasionally and see if it helps. Some people start their day with online comics or the funny pages in the newspaper. Other people find humor in movies or everyday life. Whoever you are, know yourself and find healthy ways to enjoy life a little.

         Prepare your college applications as an athlete prepares to win the game. With poise, posture and laughter, your self-confidence and ability to focus will increase. And with a good attitude, you're already a winner.