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The Holiday Peace and Joy Edition

Hello fellow parents, and welcome!

I hope your Thanksgiving was magical (or not too taxing).

And now for our next big event: the arrival of the early round of college notifications in the next couple of weeks. This will affect all of us (whether we have a child applying to college or not), so it’s worth highlighting a few suggestions that will go a long way toward preserving peace, joy, and sanity in your household throughout the holiday season.

If your kid’s news is good:Do enjoy the feeling of pride and relief, post once on social media (yes, you may use lots of exclamation points!!!), congratulate your child, and toast your kid with champagne, sparkling cider, or a double espresso (you do you). Do not talk 24/7 about this fortunate outcome either to friends (especially if their child is also applying to colleges right now) or to your kid, whose life extends far beyond this nod of approval from a college.

If your kid’s news is disappointing:Do encourage your child to move forward as quickly as humanly possible, toward applying to (and getting excited about) colleges that would love to have her. Do not dwell on what has already happened, or why. Speculating that she didn’t get in because that legacy classmate also applied will not make your child feel better. You do not want to be that parent oozing disappointment, so your kid (who is the one who has just suffered a rejection) feels she needs to console you.

If your kid is just watching all these notifications go down: Do listen if she wants to talk about it, but do not constantly report news of other students’ notifications. I’m observing my daughter, who is now a college senior and fielding a new relentless question from well-intentioned folks: “What are your plans after college?” Many continue the conversation by listing the impressive job offers that have come in for other college seniors they know, while my daughter’s anxiety about leaping (yet again) into a mysterious future increases. When friends and family gather over the holidays, be the cool grown-up who asks about something (anything) other than college (or indeterminate future plans of any stripe).


Among the free downloads on my website, I’ve included a College Application Checklist as well as Additional Helpful Links.

Rona Gindin, an Orlando-based journalist and TV personality, included some great, original gift ideas (including College Admissions Cracked)on her list of Five Fab and Cheap Holiday Gifts for 2019.

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.
        —Kahlil Gibran, poet

When you start to feel stressed out about college admissions, or anything else, you can look at the big picture for instantaneous holiday cheer. Let’s practice:

The small picture: My kid didn’t get into her first choice school.
The big picture: My kid will get into college (and when she arrives with a great attitude, she’ll make it her perfect fit school).

The small picture: My kid is taking the SAT in a week.
The big picture: My kid will get into college (and this test score will be irrelevant for the rest of his life).

The small picture: Excessive worry over any one piece of the college admissions process.
The big pictureEvery Day Is a Winding Road (I get a little bit closer).



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