By Christopher Parsons | March 28, 2024, at 10:00 a.m.

As your high schooler prepares for college, the admissions process may seem daunting.

However, with a proactive and optimistic approach, this pivotal phase can be transformed into a journey of self-discovery and growth.

As an experienced college admissions specialist, I’ve seen students flourish when they tackle the process with strategies and a can-do attitude.

Here are some steps to make the process less stressful:

How Parents Can Help

1. Foster Open Communication

Encourage open and honest communication about the college admissions process.

Make it clear that you’re there to listen and support, not to judge or dictate.

Discuss expectations, hopes, and any anxieties.

This open dialogue can help students feel supported and understood, reducing feelings of isolation or pressure.

2. Help with Organization

Assist your child in staying organized.

You can help by setting up a shared calendar for deadlines, creating a checklist of tasks, or simply providing a listening ear as they articulate their plan.

Your experience can be invaluable in helping them keep track of everything without feeling overwhelmed.

3. Encourage Breaks and Self-Care

Remind your child of the importance of breaks and self-care.

Encourage them to engage in activities they enjoy, whether it’s spending time with friends, pursuing a hobby, or simply relaxing.

Stress can be consuming, and students need to recharge and maintain balance.

4. Provide A Positive Mindset

Help your child keep a positive mindset in the college admissions process.

Remind them that while college is important, it is just one step in their life journey.

There are many paths to success and fulfillment.

It can help reduce the fear of failure and the pressure to be perfect.

5. Offer Practical Support

Whether it’s visiting colleges, reviewing essays, or researching scholarship opportunities, offer practical support based on your child’s needs and your capacity.

This involvement shows your commitment to their journey and can make the process more manageable.

6. Model Stress Management

Demonstrate healthy stress management techniques.

Your approach to handling stress can serve as a model for your child.

Whether it’s through exercise, mindfulness, or seeking out social support, showing how to manage stress in healthy ways can be incredibly beneficial.

7. Celebrate Their Efforts

Recognize and celebrate your child’s effort in this process, regardless of the outcome. 

Acknowledging their hard work, resilience, and dedication reinforces their self-worth and confidence beyond the college admissions results.

As you guide your child through their high school years, it’s crucial to understand the complexities of the college admissions journey ahead.

While undoubtedly daunting, this process also presents opportunities for growth and self-discovery.

Encourage your child to stay organized, seek support, and maintain a positive outlook.

Remind them that this journey isn’t solely about gaining college admission but also about better understanding themselves and their aspirations.

Support them with wisdom and encouragement; you can help them embrace this journey with confidence and determination.

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