The best, and worst, places to write college applications


Lindsey Layton

BSM senior grinds out her college applications in the library.

It’s time for seniors to start working on their college applications. Seniors are attempting to finish anywhere from four to thirteen college applications. Students’ stress levels are rising as they struggle to finish their daily schoolwork while still trying to find time to fill out applications. But what is the best environment to do them? At home? Coffee shops? Library? Restaurants? I wrote one application at each location to figure out the pros and cons of each location.

At Home

Being at home can be either extremely productive or extremely distracting. It appears to me that it is dependent on the location of your home. Sitting in bed does not make me productive, but sitting at my kitchen island does because I am in a chair and can converse with people coming and going from the kitchen, which is a common occurrence in my home. Being free to dress in your most comfortable attire also makes you feel more at ease. Because of the tranquil and familiar surroundings, I completed four of my college applications at home.

Coffee Shops

I love the ambiance of coffee shops because it gives me inspiration by being surrounded by other productive people. I went to Fairgrounds Coffee, which forced me to be more efficient with my time because I wasn’t somewhere where I could linger for an extended period of time. Having background noises also helps me because being in complete silence can increase anxiety and cause me to become distracted. I completed my college application in two hours, which allowed me to make the most of the rest of my day.


I didn’t like doing my college application in a library because it was too quiet for me. Every time there was a noise, it drew my attention away from the task at hand and made me reach for my phone. It was a good location to edit my work, but writing my supplemental essays was difficult. Some people are really productive in libraries, but this was not the case for me.


The convenience of going to a restaurant is unmatched. Fueling up on food and drink makes the process worthwhile. Doing certain parts of your Common App and then rewarding yourself with a break to eat what you’ve ordered is part of the experience of going to a restaurant. Though the constant sounds of machines and people may seem distracting, it gives a surrounding that allows you to be in a mindset of productivity without being completely alone.

If you like complete silence, a library would be ideal. If you prefer a loud setting, restaurants would be ideal. If you prefer a familiar and comfortable environment, you should do your applications at home. There are many different environments in which to do college applications, but I find that coffee shops provide the finest environment for productivity.