For students, Thanksgiving and the upcoming December holidays can be a nice break and a time to relax with family. Gatherings with friends and family are even more special these days as many extended families could not get together in person in recent years.
But for seniors, it can be particularly stressful, as they may have already applied to schools and are waiting to hear – or have not yet applied and have that hanging over them.
Since some students are already starting to hear that they are accepted (or not) to their dream school, it can raise the stress level even higher. Keep that in mind as the relatives assemble in person or on family calls. If the tension level is already high, you may want to ask Uncle Fred ahead of time to leave the subject of college out of his questions for your teen.
It’s important to talk to your child and let them know that it will all work out fine, even if they don’t get into a school(s) that they had their heart set on. Try not to let yourself get too attached either to the idea of a particular school. That will come across to your child and will make it even harder if things do not go their way.
Overall, we need to encourage our kids to work as hard as they can in school, spend time making decisions to apply to schools that are a good fit, and then know that it will all work out for the best.
It may be helpful (when the time is right) to share a story about yourself or another who didn’t get their first choice in buying a house, landing a job, or getting accepted into the school of their choice … but who looked back later, only to realize that their second choice was a better fit.
If your child gets disappointing news, it is good to empathize and let them have a chance to be sad. Then they may need some support to begin feeling good about Plan B. There are numerous great schools that will be a good fit for all of our kids, and it will be easier once your child begins to get excited about the next school on the list.
Most important, our kids should hear loud and clear that a rejection letter is not a commentary on them as a person. It is an opinion based on a paper record of their achievements. As wonderful as we all know our children to be, they simply may not have been what a particular school was looking for in rounding out its class in the coming year. And hopefully everyone is aware of how much more selective some colleges have become in recent years.
This is a good time to let our kids know that we think they are great, no matter where they go to college or whatever they choose to do after high school.
All the best for an enjoyable, healthy, and relaxing break with your family over the holidays this year.