<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=155486331574868&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

    Why Colleges Want You to Sleep More

    2 Minutes Read


    April is stress awareness month. During the pandemic, we have all had the challenge of maintaining our mental health, but it's been especially difficult for high school students

    Selective colleges are looking for students that demonstrate they value their mental health. Savvy applicants practice self-care in a number of ways, including getting regular exercise and eating healthy, but two others stand out:



    The first is sleep. It's so good for your creativity, memory, and immune system. It's what allows you to be your best self and colleges respect this—a lot. Imagine a student who wrote on their activity sheet that they slept 55-65 hours a week. What would a college admissions officer think?

    Given that they are reading fast (sometimes an application gets just 8 minutes), it would probably make them slow down and read more carefully. And since few students list this as an activity it would stand out. They would say to themselves, "this is interesting!"

    Most admissions officers at selective colleges are painfully aware that there is an epidemic of sleep deprivation among teenagers. This is part of the reason why they appreciate and respect students who focus on a few rather than many activities. The Common App has 10 spaces, but you don't need to use them all! 

    Your Motivation

    After they did a double take, they would be interested in your motivation for highlighting your sleep. "Is this a ploy?" If your explanation was that you believed sleep was a priority for good reasons, like you had been curious about the science of the health benefits and decided to make it an experiment, that would certainly be positive. 

    If your belief in the importance of health was complemented in other activities and places on the application (maybe you had discussed your interest with a science teacher and it was mentioned in a Letter of Rec, or maybe it came up in an application essay or a conversation in a college interview)  it would be even more compelling. 



    A second key to self-care is mindfulness. Mindfulness practice can take many different forms, but learning to observe, name, control, and use your emotions intentionally is truly a superpower! 

    Our minds are really good at shuttling between past and future, driven by our fears and desires, memories and imagination. Our minds habitually go from reflecting on the past one moment to worrying about the future at the next moment, with less time spent on the present.
    This disconnection with our present reality has become even more severe with the advent of smartphones and the high levels of stress in our modern-day lives.
    What is Mindfulness
    Mindfulness is the practice of filling our minds with the present, moment by moment. When we are mindful, we are more present; when we are more fully present, we listen rather than just hear, we perceive rather than just see. And, as a result, we become more self-aware.
    Self-awareness is how an individual consciously knows and understands their own character, feelings, motives, and desires. It affects everything we do, and impacts every interaction we have with others. 

    For me, it's a combination of yoga and meditation that helps. If you're interested, there are many yoga classes available online including this free series of beginner classes. For meditation, I have long been a daily user of the app, Headspace. I encourage everyone to check out their explanation of neuroscience on Netflix.

    While it shouldn't be the main motivation, this type of activity could definitely be a strong part of your college application.

    Thanks for reading!

    If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our weekly Savvy Applicant Newsletter. It's a weekly email where we share important news and actionable guidance on the selective college admissions process. Subscribe Here.

    If you're already subscribed, we appreciate it if you recommend it to a couple of friends that might get value as well. Send them this link and then let us know so we can properly thank you. 🙏

    If you are interested in more personalized 1-to-1 guidance on how to manage the college planning and preparation process, PCC is here for you. To get in touch you can reply directly to this email or fill out our form.  

    You can also follow us and say hello on your favorite social channel. We're on all the usual suspects.