"March Madness: A Student's Guide to Navigating Standardized Tests and College Applications"

You’ve probably heard the saying “March Madness”[1] – a phrase often used to describe the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the NCAA college basketball tournament. [2]However, there is a lot of madness that goes into this selection process as well.

As you gear up for this whirlwind of college applications, standardized tests, and extracurricular activities, knowing that you can (and should!) take charge of the process is helpful. By learning strategies to manage the stress that surrounds these crucial milestones, you’ll set yourself up for success every step of the way. Read on to learn more about how you can harness the power of March Madness to your advantage!

One of the advantages of participating in high school sports is the opportunity to compete in postseason tournaments. While the games themselves are certainly important, the experience gained by competing on a bigger stage can lead to great personal and academic benefits. As an educational consultant, I know firsthand that high school students participating in these tournaments can be stressful and time-consuming. However, by preparing ahead of time and learning to manage your time wisely, you can maximize your athletic experience and ensure that your academic work doesn’t suffer as a result. Here are a few tips for making the most of your high school sports experience while avoiding burnout along the way: 

  1. Learn the importance of balance.

Balancing school and athletics can be difficult at times[3], but it’s important to remember that you can’t focus on both without missing one! After all, school is your number one priority – so you should always put academics first. You should also make time for extracurricular activities because they not only help you make new friends and gain valuable life skills, but they also look good on a college application! Just remember to maintain a good balance between sports and school so you don’t sacrifice either one in the process.

  1. Don’t try to do everything.

It’s important to remember why you’re participating in athletics in the first place – to have fun and enjoy yourself! If you’re just going through the motions for the sake of playing in the tournament, you’re probably doing more harm than good in the long run. Instead, focus on performing well in your sport and being the best you can be. This will help you stay motivated and keep you grounded when things get tough.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you have trouble managing your time and completing assignments on time, it’s OK to reach out for help. Most teachers will be happy to help if you let them know what’s going on.[4] Plus, your school likely has resources available that can help you manage your workload and make better use of your time. For example, your school may offer a study hall or tutorial program that can help you stay on track with your schoolwork. And if you need some additional support outside of school, you can always hire a tutor to help you prepare for important exams or work on challenging homework assignments. 

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t perform as well as you had hoped.[5]

Let’s face it – sometimes things just don’t go as planned. But rather than letting this discourage you, view it as an opportunity to learn from the experience and improve in the future. Always strive to be your best self and never allow setbacks to keep you from reaching your goals. Remember that failure isn’t the end – it’s just the beginning!


  1. What is March Madness: The NCAA tournament explained 
  2. Factors Influencing College Selection by NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Players – Link
  3. Student-Athletes: Balancing School & Sports – Shark Attack
  4. A Study of the Role of Strategy in Foreign Language Learning – Link
  5. Stop Being So Hard on Yourself – Harvard Business Review


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