FROM CHERYL LYNN HORSEY, CHIEF ENROLLMENT OFFICER (Originally Published Nov.2019).
For most colleges and universities with application deadlines, November marks the beginning of application season with applications and materials being submitted for early and regular decision. No doubt this can be a stressful time for everyone. Students are frantic with the prospect of learning their fate, and parents may be anxiously standing by to support as they navigate what may seem like a mysterious process.
Over the past few months, your student has worked to curate and assemble college lists and applications – transcripts, essays, interviews, college visits – there are a lot of moving pieces. Now that the application is submitted, what happens next?
The application is now in the hands of very capable admissions officers who are responsible for admitting a class of students who will thrive and persist at their institution. This is not a process taken lightly. Admissions officers spend hours upon hours on committee discussions and holistic reviews of applications to admit the best class possible.
As you and your student await the admissions decision, it is important that both of you manage your stress levels. This is particularly important with social media being such an integral part of our lives. Peers will begin posting decisions and this may further exacerbate the anxiety that you both may be experiencing. Managing expectations is really important at this point. Understand that whether or not your child gets into their top choice is no reflection on your parenting, nor is it a reflection on their worth. Colleges and universities receive far more qualified applicants than they can admit.
Another tip that cannot be stressed enough is to allow your student to be in the driver’s seat during this process. The parental instinct is to protect and to advocate for your child, but encourage them to communicate with their counselors and admissions officers. Helping your child take the lead will foster their ability to develop the emotional and self-regulation skills that will be needed when they go to college. All students need to take on a more independent role in college and this is a great time to start practicing those skills. We know that this process is a family one and we encourage you to stay involved and be supportive of your child while giving them room to grow and learn.
Final words of wisdom: Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.