Hi Fellow Parent, and Happy Halloween!
Early deadlines lurk around the corner like a villain in a horror movie.
You feel like a witch, nagging your kid to write college applications.
Blood-sucking college admissions mythology creeps into every conversation.
I believe that the real source of anxiety comes from the suspense of not knowing what will happen. I’m no fortune teller (though it would make a great Halloween costume), but I do have some insights about your future that I hope will help make going through college admissions a bit less spooky for you.
Prophesies for your (near) future…
- Your kid will start the college search in a hypothetical way. Then they’ll either visit a college IRL, or chat with an older friend who’s in college, or start filling out a college application, and suddenly your child will realize this is really happening to me. Freak out or excitement (or both) will ensue.
- Something will surprise you when you try to communicate with your child about college. Either collaborating with your teenager will go surprisingly smoothly despite what your friends have warned, or your usually on-top-of-it kid will shut down, or your procrastinator will plan ahead. You’ll need to roll with it.
- Paying for college will take priority for you at some point, and you can control when this happens. I urge you to have the conversation with your child about financial fit sooner rather than later.
- Writing applications will be more labor-intensive than anyone imagined. For the student, the writing itself is a time-sucker, but often it takes even more work for a student to get out of their own way to begin or finish the application. For you, the labor of filling out financial aid forms (inevitably spooky, so sorry) can be a shock to the system. Start earlier than planned.
- Your kid will get into college. Whether it’s in December or April, or it’s an easy or difficult decision which college to attend, this result is inevitable if your child applies on time to realistic colleges. Most colleges admit the majority of students who apply and also offer a stellar education. Win-win!
- When your kid arrives at college, if they enter with a great attitude to take advantage of all that college has to offer, chances are good that the college where they land will work out. If they arrive with lingering disappointment about college notifications or second-guessing their decision, there is a good chance the college will not work out. Transferring is not a bad thing! But arriving with a positive attitude can pre-empt elongating the college admissions process with transfer applications.
- Ten years from now, after more life has happened, you will have a sense of humor about all the anxiety you felt back when your kid was going through college admissions. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have found something else to worry about.
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Prediction for your (more distant) future…
I get that despite my positive forecast for the outcome, college admissions can remain spooky while you’re in the throes. But then again, it was also spooky when you brought your newborn baby home from the hospital…and sent your Kindergartner off on the school bus…and your teenager took to the road with their driver’s license…and…
Your child has survived your parenting, through all the milestones so far, and you’ve survived through your (inevitable) anxiety about each step of your parenting journey. No crystal ball necessary for me to foretell that you’ll both make it through college admissions, as well. You’ve got this.