As the college application process comes to an end, I want to remind you of a few things, to make this period go as smoothly as possible.
- This can be a stressful time. Some seniors have been accepted to many schools by now while others just one or two (or maybe none). And many/most students have or will soon receive their fair share of rejection letters, depending on the selectiveness of the schools to which they apply.So remember that this isn’t easy for your students and now is a good time to talk about how they are feeling, before, during and after these letters arrive. Remind everyone involved (including yourself) that there are more schools than just one that would be a great fit and when a student is rejected, it is not a judgment of their worth as a person. In many cases, students who are rejected from a particular school would not have been successful – on many levels – had they been admitted. It may also just be a numbers game – too many qualified kids for too few spots.
Acknowledge their sad feelings but then, over the next few days, help them to move on and become excited about Plan B.
- Maintaining good grades is as important as ever. Although accepted, the offer is contingent upon maintaining a student’s current level of academic performance. Keeping grades up still matters.The second half of the year is also a time for students to figure out if there are still areas in which they struggle academically, whether that relates to content, organization, study skills, time management, etc., and to make a plan for addressing those over the coming months.
I recommend setting up a meeting with your child at this time to talk about this and to get input as needed from school personnel. Many students arrive at college unprepared for college level work. The second half of senior year is a good time to make sure that doesn’t happen.
- Encourage independence. College is a big step, both emotionally and socially. This is the final stretch for you, as a parent, to make sure you encourage independence by letting your child make more decisions and experience the ups, downs and consequences that result. Oversleeping, waiting too long to begin work on a paper, not keeping track of appointments, etc., are all things that are more easily experienced now, at home, while they have a strong support system.You are not doing your student any favors by always acting as a safety net. Recent stats show that two-thirds of students report feeling lonely or depressed in their first semester of college. The more accustomed students are to some adversity before leaving home, the more likely that they will weather those uncomfortable feelings and figure out what to do to feel better once in college.
This is the time to make sure these important issues are being addressed; there is not much time left once June rolls around!
So remember, while getting an acceptance letter is thrilling and a nice confirmation of your student’s hard work these past years, it is really just step one in the path to college success. Getting ready for this big transition is a long process and one to take seriously.
Finally, make sure to enjoy this last half year with your senior living at home. It will go quickly!