One of the bigenst stress for students is the fact that they may be usure of the right direction to take, the pressure to do the right think when they don’t know what that is, or want o make sure they are not going to be lost in the process. Help your child with managing a timeline that is not too crazy. Also, be sure to help with research schools, scholarships, and careers. Remember, in today’s society we are switching careers and changing focuses often. What is important is to make sure you find the right fit and can thrive at that school to make life changing opportunity. The rest is gravy.
Consider hiring a professional; you’re too close to the situation. What would your kid recommend if you were stressing out about your income taxes or a pending separation or divorce?
Stay organized with appropriate calendars and a binder for all of the paperwork!
The most important thing you can do as a parent to help your child manage the stress of the college application process is to keep your cool.
School research and application time can be very stressful for both students and parents. I’m a mother as well and here are some tips to help your child manage his/her stress.
MANAGING STRESS DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS
The application process is stressful and will be until the acceptances roll in. However, to minimize the stress encourage your student or you take the responsibility to create a spreadsheet with all of the colleges listed across the top and the components along the left margin and make a check off sheet when each colleges requirements are complete. There is nothing that relieves stress more than seeing (actually seeing) your accomplishments. So rather than just mentally carrying all of the strain choose to check it off and let it go. When each one is mailed your child will see that they are making positive progress and that will relieve much of the stress of the process.
Organization is really the best assistance that you can give your child in this process. There are so many pieces that can become a part of the process for an individual family that keeping it organized and all in one place can be a tremendous help. A calendar system can also be very useful. Laying out the complete college search and application process is critical. You want to pay attention and mark the key dates of testing, application and decision deadlines. Once you mark these into your calendar, you can back up from those dates to see home many weeks or months you have before those deadlines occur. Then you can decide what steps will be taken within each month. This will help your student to see the whole process and how each month has several necessary steps that need to be completed in order to keep it from getting overwhelming and a horrible experience. Always remind them that this process should be fun as they are playing a very active role in deciding where they will attend school for the next four years. Creating a search process that turns this into a grind results in poor decisions in the end. So, do yourself and them a favor and concentrate on this organized timeline and help them stick too it! You will all be thankful in the end.
Support your child’s burgeoning decision-making abilities by listening. The college applications process offers ample opportunities to foster discernment. For example, let your junior choose the destination of the family’s first college trip.
Each family is different and each member in a family deals with stress differently. What works for one child might not work for another. Here are some tips that can help parents:
-Help organize the process in a way that the student will respond well too. If the student uses lists and calendars to plan for class in high school, they may respond well to lists and calendars that you help create to keep them organized.
-Many families find it helpful to work with a college consultant to help the organization of the application process. Many students respond better to a consultant creating a calendar for them than their parent.
-Help the child prioritize what is more important. Do they need to be involved with as many extracurricular activities as they were in their junior year or can they be involved with less extracurricular so that they can spend more time on their grades and applications?
-Give grace to your children. They may need to have less household responsibilities and they many need to take some breaks to play with friends, watch a movie or exercise.
-Make sure they are not wasting time on applications for colleges they would never attend if they were accepted. Applications take a lot of time, so make sure the student is actually interested in attending the college before they take the time to apply.
-Make sure you have time with your child that does not involve only conversations about applications. They may start avoiding you if they only hear you asking questions about applications.
-As a consultant, I strongly recommend that a family work with a college consultant especially if the application process causes high stress in the family. By working with a consultant, you will have more quality time with your child and you will be relieved of much of the application stress.
The Common Application(CA) becomes available on August 1st. In addition, many of the large state applications come online over the summer as well. I urge my clients, even before their college lists are set, to complete their CA over the summer – before their senior year begins. That can be a huge accomplishment and a big stress reducer.
It’s my experience that high school kids have alot on their plate already. As they enter junior year with a schedule filled with AP and IB classes. Then their are the added responsibilities of SAT/ACT review classes and testing, college visiting, college list development, requesting recommendations, developing resumes and increasing their involvement; all add up to a very stressful time.
It’s my experience that high school kids have alot on their plate already as they enter junior year with a schedule filled with AP and IB classes. Then there are the added responsibilities of SAT/ACT review classes and testing, college visiting, college list development, requesting recommendations, developing resumes and increasing their involvement; all add up to a very stressful time.
First do no harm. Ask them if anything you are doing is adding stress, and if you cannot change what you are doing, you can explain why you are doing it. Having a greater understanding may be helpful for them. Also, do not try to talk about the application process every time you see them. Set up a schedule for checking in on their progress and thinking. Assure them that what you want is for them is to find schools that are good matches for their academic, and social interests and that they are excited about. Reinforce that there is not one school that will make them happy or provide the key to success. And definitely try not to gossip to others about where you son or daughter is applying.
1. Set a good example by remaining calm
2. Be honest about your concerns, especially financial. College is very expensive. Parents and student need to have a frank discussion about the financial parameters.
3. Ask how you can help rather than making suggestions.
4. Knowing that you are there to listen rather than to nag can be a huge help.
Try to help with keeping the process organized. Make a master calendar or ask your guidance counselor for one and keep it posted on the refrigerator so that no major deadlines are missed. Assist with organizing the college visits and then drive there. Try to establish realistic expectations. Keep communications open. Recognize that you might have different goals or expectations and try to discuss these ideas openly.
The college process does not need to be as stressful as people make it. Independent College Consultants can help relieve a lot of the stress because they answer the questions and help keep the student on track. Starting early is a big one. Not just with the search process, but with the application process. The student should start on the applications in the summer. The biggest part of the stress comes from waiting until the last minute. They look at the application and think it doesn’t look too long and won’t be too bad, but when they actually start it they realize it takes a lot more thought and effort than they expected.
Break it down into small pieces
One of the best solutions may be to hire an independent educational consultant. This professional will be able to map out a plan, create a timeline and serve as an impartial judge. There is no better time for you to find your sense of humor, offer up a smile or hug and demonstrate that unconditional love. Remember, this is a “first” for your child, so it comes with unknowns. The apron strings will soon be cut, so emotions may run high. Offer you assistance, but don’t be offended if it isn’t wanted. Your student is learning skills that are critical for college success, let him make some mistakes while you are still there to help. It is not “our” application, it needs to belong to your teenager.
Nothing adds to the pressure of the college application process more than parental pressure. There is no up side to establishing expectations for how their process should play out. We had our chance. It is their turn, and the best thing we can do is make sure they understand that we are there for them regardless of what happens. As parents we get no gold stars because our kid gets a “prestige” admit, but we can hurt them deeply if we let them think that it makes a difference. Offer love and support, and respect their ability to handle the process in a way that is right for them.
Start the application process early and break it down into small, manageable steps. Creating and sticking to a timeline is a tremendous help in preventing the stress that comes with procrastination. The summer following junior year of high school is often an ideal time to complete applications and write college essays.
There are no guarantees in life, so have a backup plan. Talk as a family about what the options are if no college acceptance letters arrive in the mail. Students can work, volunteer, take classes at a community college, or take a gap year. All of these things build both resumes and character and will likely give students a much better chance of getting into college the following year. Talking about and planning for the worst case scenario is imperative for reducing stress, should the worst actually happen.
One of the best ways to minimize organizational stress in any situation is to establish a clear plan of action with set dates when certain actions should be started, allowing a reasonable amount of time for the task to be completed successfully and effectively by a set deadline, while making sure to take time conflicts into account – both actual and potential. This procedure is effective in any kind of situation when deadlines must be met – in private life, work life, or, as in this case, when applying to higher education institutions.
Sit down as a family and talk about options, expectations, limitations, and so on, before applying to college. Discussing things after the fact creates stress, not to mention feelings of anger and resentment. Take the student who invests a great deal of time and energy into applying to a school in California that she really wants to go to, only to find out later that you, as parents, can’t afford the tuition or have no intention of letting her go that far from home. Discuss issues related to finances and travel restrictions proactively, and be honest with each other while keeping an open mind.
Maintain a healthy attitude about college. Colleges are like shoes – when you look in your closet, you generally have several pairs of shoes that you like and that fit you well. Sure, you might have your favorite pair, but if you left that pair at a friend’s house, you’d still be happy in any of your other shoes. With about 4,000 colleges in the United States, not to mention all of the international options, there are many, many schools that could be good fits for you. Putting all of your hopes into one school, particularly a reach school, is a very limiting and stressful course of action.
start early in the process, have a to do list, follow up with the check list, and try to work with the school’s counselor the best possible way.
Educational consultants are now very popular with high school students. It is like having your own private guidance counselor to do everything with you from figuring out what to major in to managing the stress of the application process and deadlines. College is one of the most expensive things a family will pay for (maybe the MOST!) and using an educational consultant is often more cost effective than getting the college decision wrong.
Kids WILL be stressed out about the application process. That’s a given. However, parents can be great role models for their kids if they can show them that the process is manageable with good time management, realistic expectations, and a calm demeanor.
If parents get hysterical or overwrought — then kids will respond in kind.
Throughout the child’s upbringing, the parent has hopefully been there to manage stress, whether the source is school, peers or family matters. The application process is no different. The parent should be involved, yet not overly involved, providing counsel and insight when appropriate. I used to combine college visits with pleasure trips to alleviate stress while on the road. If a parent senses that a student needs a counselor’s assistance, they should calmly recommend that the student seek help. (Sometimes a parent may need to initiate a call or meeting.) Most importantly, a parent needs to reassure the student that whatever the outcome of the process, he or she will still be there to provide love and advice. After all, the parent will be there before, during and after the student’s tenure as a college student.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.
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