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Keeping Your Cool: 5 Tips for Staying Mentally Healthy During the College Admissions Process

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