Applying to college can be one of the most anxious and exciting times for a high school student. While there’s the excitement of moving to a new city, or even state, there’s also the feeling of freedom after 18 years of living with your parents. But it’s not always so easy to apply. From costs to the waiting game, this time can be very overwhelming. Here are four things to consider during your application process:

Expectations

Analyze your expectations. Most students expect to apply to college and get accepted in a breeze. But there’s more to the process than meets the eye. There’s the possibility of not getting in, getting waitlisted, or even scaling back your choices due to finances. Have an honest conversation with yourself and your support system regarding your career goals, budget, and timeline to see how achievable your expectations and school of choice are.

Cost

While attending college itself will be filled with finances from paying for tuition and room and board, applying to get in will come with it’s own price tag as well. The cost of paying to take the college standardized tests, getting transcripts, and application fees can add up depending on how many colleges you plan to apply to. One study found that though over 80% of people spend less than $300 when applying to college, almost 15% were kept from applying to a college due to being unable to afford the application fee.

Location

Location and costs go hand-in-hand. Know that where you choose to go to college will have a direct impact on cost. If you want to attend a school that’s in a different state, your out-of-state tuition is going to be vastly more expensive than if you were to attend a school in your home state. Also consider how far away you’ll be from home and how often you plan to visit home once you’re gone. If you want to go home every weekend, you may want to choose a school that’s closer to home or just a few hours away at most.

Reality

Reality setting in can be a tough waiting game after applying. Did you apply to enough schools? Are they mostly reach schools? What are the odds of getting accepted? Did I apply to enough back up schools? A lot of self doubt and stress can happen during this time. Know that all of these feelings are normal and valid. This is a stressful time.

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