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January CPR Newsletter: Healthy College Admissions Head Games

Hello fellow parents, and welcome!

I’m devoting this newsletter to healthy mental head games you can play (with yourself) when college admission stress starts to build.

Mental flip #1 for college admissions and life: Re-frame and channel your anxious energy into its close cousin, excitement!

Listen to this Learner Lab podcast episode on The Science of Being Better When You’re Nervous. You’ve got this.

Mental flip #2: When searching for colleges, think, “Where does my child want to go?” instead of “Who will accept them?”

For parents of juniors starting their college search, if you want to remove stress from the equation, this is not the time to throw around names of specific colleges you’ve heard of and try to guess whether your child can get in or not. More on college search criteria in College Admissions Cracked.

Tip for your junior:To start a personal “best colleges” list, type your top 5 college priorities into your search engine. Criteria will change by the time you apply, and that’s okay! But it’s fun to see what the computer spits out (I’ve heard AI is all the rage).

Mental flip #3: When writing college essays, encourage your child to say what they want to say, instead of what they think colleges want to hear.

Because colleges want to hear what students want to say! Juniors will be filling out an application, not a supplication. This is your child’s future. The student has complete control when writing their application. Let’s help them feel empowered!

Mental flip #4: When notifications come in, encourage your child to ask, “What does success mean to me?” instead of “Which college will make me look most successful?”

Parents of seniors: While flattering, the most selective college that admits your kid is not necessarily the place where they will thrive (especially if it hurls them deeply into debt). Looking inward instead of outward will help your kid (and you) stay grounded.

Sanity saver…

It’s pear crisp recipe season, so here you go! I’ve never made this exact recipe, but you can’t go wrong with Ina Garten IMO. Always double the crumble topping is my only added advice.

Mental flip #5: I’m walking barefoot on a Caribbean beach, waves lapping, sun warming my shoulders–oh look! There’s a glistening conch shell!

I hope you’re enjoying cozy time this winter, but if not, #5 is a mental head game just for you. We will persevere!

Warmly (in my mind),


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