The college admissions process can be a stressful time for high school students and their families. With so much riding on the outcome of their applications, it's no wonder that many students experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues during this time. However, there are steps students and families can take to manage stress during this period. Here are 5 tips for staying mentally healthy during the college admissions process.
1. Keep Communication Lines Open
During this time, it's important for families to keep communication channels open. This means being willing to discuss fears and anxieties that arise during this period. For example, a student might express their concern about not getting into the colleges they want to attend, or worry that they are not good enough. In such situations, it's crucial for family members to show sensitivity and receptiveness to their concerns. Starting the conversation early can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
In addition to discussing fears and anxieties, families should also talk about finances as part of the conversation. Early planning can help families make more informed decisions about which colleges to apply to and attend. When discussing finances, families should approach the conversation with sensitivity and understanding. Working together to explore different options and develop a plan that works for everyone can alleviate stress and uncertainty. For example, exploring potential financial aid or scholarship opportunities can be a great way to reduce the cost of attending college. Additionally, families can create a budget for college expenses such as tuition, room and board, textbooks, and transportation, to stay within their means.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
While every student hopes to get into their dream school, it's essential to remember that the decision-making process is complex and involves many factors. Admissions are competitive and are based on grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, and personal essays, to name a few. While it's crucial to aim high, it's equally important to set realistic expectations about one's chances of getting into certain schools.
Students should be encouraged to apply to a broad range of schools, including "safety" schools that they would be happy to attend. This will help alleviate some of the pressure associated with the desire to attend a specific school and ensure that they have more options and control during the process.
At the same time, parents need to adjust their expectations as well. While it's natural to want the best for one's child, it's important to remember that they have their own goals and dreams. Every student is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all path to success. Parents should support their children's choices, even if it means encouraging options that don't align with their own. By creating an environment where students feel supported and empowered in their decision-making process, they will be better equipped to make informed decisions and achieve their academic goals.
3. Seek Support
If you or your child is struggling with mental health issues during the college admissions process, it's important to seek support. Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength and not weakness, and mental health concerns are common during high stress times. Encourage your child to take advantage of mental health resources available at their school or connect with friends and family members who can offer support and perspective.
Many high schools offer counseling services to students, including guidance counselors, school psychologists, and social workers. These professionals can provide individual counseling, group therapy sessions, and connect students with resources in the community for ongoing support. Some schools have even developed virtual wellness rooms that offer relaxation exercises, virtual counseling, and information on a variety of topics.
Similarly, parents should remember to also take care of themselves and connect with others for support. They can reach out to other parents going through the same process or seek the help of a mental health professional.
4. Celebrate the Small Victories
It's important to celebrate the small victories during the college admissions process. Whether it's getting a good grade on a test, receiving an acceptance letter from a safety school, or simply completing a college application, taking time to acknowledge and celebrate these milestones can help boost your child’s confidence and motivation. As a family, you can celebrate these milestones by planning a special dinner or outing together. Another way to celebrate is to keep a record of the achievements. Create a chart or journal that tracks progress and celebrate when a milestone is reached. Remember that the college admissions process is a marathon, not a sprint, and that
every step forward is worth celebrating.
5. Empower Yourself with Knowledge
The college admissions process can be a stressful and overwhelming time for both students and families. Fortunately, numerous tools and resources are available to help guide students and support them on this journey so that they feel more in control, prepared, and informed which, in turn, can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
At Uprooted Academy, we provide students with a comprehensive student app that offers guidance and support for every step of the college admissions process. But our resources don’t stop there. We also offer resources to find and apply for scholarships and financial aid, mindfulness videos for managing stress, and free workshops on the college admissions process for both students and parents.
By providing these tools and resources, we aim to help students feel more confident, informed, and empowered as they navigate the college admissions process, and to alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that can be associated with this important life transition. Start by enrolling in our FREE Step-by-Step College Advising Video Course, and let's figure this out together.!