How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

Stay organized with appropriate calendars and a binder for all of the paperwork!

Eric Scheele

How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

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.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

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?

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

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. During the time that students are applying to college/university, they also still have a lot of important academic and extracurricular commitments, so it's easy for stress to set in. Parents can help their children to manage this stress by assisting them in setting up a coherent plan of action. This would best be done by sitting down with the student when there is plenty of time for a fruitful discussion, discussing what needs to be done, and coming to a mutual agreement as to a workable plan which will then be entered onto a calendar that has been designated especially for this purpose. The parent should not make the plan him/herself and present it to the student. That would probably be a source of more stress! The optimum time to start this process is early in the 11th Grade. A college admissions Plan of Action would include: - Preparation time for in-school assignments and testing (Grades have to be kept up, after all.) - Scheduling college admission standardized testing preparation and test dates - Research of colleges/universities of interest - Visits to schools of interest, if possible - Applying for scholarships independent of specific universities, if that is the student's intention - Writing the college admissions essay(s) (This is often a stumbling block for students.) - Submitting college applications and related support material - Making sure that standardized test results are forwarded to relevant institutions when those decisions have been made - Making contact with coaches, music directors, etc. at specific institutions, if the student has outstanding skills in a particular area (This may include submitting videos of the student's performance in his/her area of expertise. Submitting a portfolio or auditioning may be required if a student is applying into the Arts.) - Attending to financial aid applications - Approaching teachers and guidance counselors for recommendations early enough to allow them craft effective references - Considering and responding to acceptances from institutions once they have been received Some institutions recommend or require interviews, so when setting up the Plan of Action, arranging for the interviews should be taken into consideration, as well. (If something is "recommended", I like to think of that as "required", so a student would be well-advised to act on any of the "recommended" suggestions. It will add an element of further depth to his/her application.) As you can see, there is a lot to attend to, so it's not hard to understand how a student and his parents can become stressed. Have an open ear when your child wants to discuss various areas of the process or bring up the subject yourself if it seems appropriate, but make an effort to keep the conversation on a productive, not a nagging, level. As a parent, you don't want to become the major source of stress for your child in this process. Be respectful of your child's further study interests and encourage him/her to discuss them freely with you. Remember that your child is NOT you, and make every effort not to be manipulative. (I know from experience that it can be really hard not to try to "pull the strings") Your child will be trying to find the way that is best for his/her own life course. Be there to support him/her through that process.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

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.

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

How can I help my kid manage the stress of the application process?

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.