Hello Fellow Parent, and Welcome!
On the college admissions calendar this month we have three events colliding that create, for many, a giant storm cloud darkening the holiday season. Whatever you celebrate, I will not let that happen for you! Continue lighting candles and wrapping gifts, and I’ll provide the umbrellas and snow boots (and in some cases, a generator).
- Early Decision and Early Action Notifications came in.
Sometimes, the college’s decision is exactly what the student had hoped for, and you will hear all about it.
More often, the notification is a disappointment, and you’ll likely hear crickets. If it’s your own kid who received a denial or deferral from a college this month, if you’ve been following me for a while now, you know the drill. Help them move along from their mourning period into completing more applications (they only have a couple of weeks left to do so) by saying something along the lines of, “I know you’re disappointed, but I’m 100% confident you’ll land at a wonderful college for you.”
If you want concrete advice on how to improve an application (whether denied or not yet submitted), contact me here for an Application Review. (Please do so ASAP, as there’s only one me and limited time to provide meaningful feedback before January deadlines.)
2. New Year’s Day is also the application deadline most seniors are gunning for.
Regular decision deadlines on January 1-15 are a cruel reality that can mess with your season of cheer. But remember that submitting that college application by the deadline is on your kid, not you. I dive into exactly how to navigate your teenager’s angst during this final push in my book College Admissions Cracked (a no-brainer holiday gift for your nervous friend or yourself).
If you want someone who is not you to deal with last minute essay support, send your kid to my Intrepid Applicant platform for immediate personal essay writing help. I will virtually walk them through exactly the same steps I use when coaching private students, while you enjoy your (spiked) eggnog. (The cut-rate sale will stay in effect until January 1.)
In case you were wondering, the Intrepid Applicant platform is not AI. I’ve crafted videos and created interactive exercises to lead your child through the thinking necessary to write a unique, very human, knockout college essay. Students are not interested in cheating or letting a robot write a generic essay for them (corroborated by two new studies you can read about here: Cheating Fears Over Chatbots Were Overblown, New Research Suggests).
3. Juniors are watching seniors and feeling those “I’m next!” jitters.
No matter how much we’re tempted to take charge of whatever happens next for our children, letting your child take the lead on their journey toward college is the best possible holiday gift. If you’re just beginning the college search brouhaha, stick with “How can I help?” as a conversation starter, but don’t expect a simple “thank you” for your generous offer. Responses can range from an oblivious “Help with what?” to the active volcano “Stop pressuring me about college!!!” for which I thoroughly troubleshoot in College Admissions Cracked (and advise more spiked eggnog).
Beyond eggnog therapy, I have found 2 very short calming meditations worth linking here:
I was looking for a serious meditation to let go of stress, and this one serves double duty for students with test anxiety. Stop Overthinking: Leaves on a Stream ACT Anxiety Skill
Then I came upon this one, and skipping the title, I closed my eyes to meditate in earnest and…well, you can only imagine my surprise. F%#K That! An Honest Meditation. WARNING: For me, anxiety-busting laughter ensued about a minute in, but it is riddled with curse words, so skip if it will offend you and add to your stress instead of reducing it.
I hope you are more serene now than when you started reading this newsletter (or outright laughing). Regardless, there is no world in which college admissions deserves top billing during the holidays, or ever. You’ve got this and I’ve got your back come rain or shine or wintry mix.