Hello Fellow Parents and welcome!
I hope this finds you HEALTHY. We are living in crazy times. Both of my children’s colleges have cancelled live classes and are going virtual. At colleges nationwide, tours, information sessions, and admitted student events have been cancelled. It looks like the New York Times will soon publish some of my advice on the subject, and I’ve provided a preview of tips below for you, my compatriots.
However, first and foremost, I want to extend an invitation to you to join the private Chill Parents’ Revolution Facebook group I just created today. No hand washing or social distancing necessary to convene with likeminded parents in the face of a viral pandemic and college admission stress. I’ve already provided a couple of updates, and I’ll be there to field questions. Please know that I’d also contribute unlimited chocolate, wine, and ice cream if I could. You have valuable expertise and experience of your own to share with our group, so let’s join forces and bond as a community on Facebook.
As if this month featuring the arrival of college notifications wasn’t stressful enough, spring break college tourism —including admitted student campus events—is no longer an option. Here are tips on how to navigate college decisions when you can’t visit colleges.
- Take advantage of high school guidance and college counselors. High school counselors can connect prospective college students with current ones who formerly attended your child’s high school. Though college admissions offices may not be welcoming visitors, they’re still open and answering phone calls and emails to respond to students’ questions as best they can.
- Use technology to find and connect with college students and alumni from colleges of interest. When in-person connections aren’t possible, social media, email, Facetime, Skype, and phone calls are your child’s entrée to learning more about colleges from informed students and alumni who are not paid to peddle the school. Please visit our new CPR Facebook Group to ask for or add such connections.
- Dig into college websites. Some include polished virtual tours and videos, and they’re all designed to display what makes their college different from the rest. You can learn accurate information about each college’s academic and extracurricular offerings directly from the source.
- Juniors (and younger) can Google strategically to start building a college list. Your child can type her most important criteria for a college in the search bar, and the resulting list of colleges and resources will be personalized to her needs in a way that general college rankings lists fall short.
- Seniors can depressurize the college decision. Yes, the decision of where to attend college is important and made more difficult when admitted students can’t visit or revisit colleges where they’ve been admitted. However, if your senior is struggling to decide, it usually means the contending colleges would all work out fine. Truth.
- Parents can continue to model support and calm. Seniors receiving notifications have limited time to make their college decision, which means focusing on logical considerations—like affordability when those financial aid offers come in and distance from home in a crisis—rather than emotional ones will help make the decision-making process smoother. Juniors getting started on this whole rigamarole are watching you to determine how stressed out they should be. Keeping your cool is just what your child needs to bolster his confidence during trying times.
- Assume superhero position! Feet planted hip width apart, fisted hands on those hips, elbows jutting out, head held high. Consult College Admissions Cracked for strategies and stay calm for your kid. (No judgements here about how you make calmness happen.)
- Choose to be cup-half-full. Consider college closures a blessing, not a curse. It’s a good thing when college administrators take precautions to limit opportunities for contagion on a college campus and to decrease the student population so students in need of medical attention won’t suffer if the area’s limited healthcare resources become overwhelmed. Plus, we all know college dorms are a petri dish in the best of times.
For seniors receiving financial aid awards along with college notifications, as well as families of juniors trying to predict affordability, I included my friend Erika’s Financial Aid Calculator on my website. I also found another college cost calculator from the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA), a source I trust.
“Worry happens in your mind, stress happens in your body, and anxiety happens in your mind and your body.”
No one is exempt from feeling at least one of this trifecta of emotions, now more than ever. This piece on The Difference Between Worry, Stress, and Anxiety provides tips for dealing with all three.
There is no need to weather any aspect of the college admissions process alone, regardless of COVID-19 and the isolation it’s causing. Whether you have questions or answers, connect with our tribe on Facebook to fill in the missing pieces in your college admissions journey and help other parents with theirs amid unprecedented circumstances. We are all in this together.
All my best,