Applying To College

College Essay Writing and Interview Skills

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Tips for Parents: How to Handle Springtime College Application Stress

Tips for Parents to Handle Springtime College Application Stress

I hear it in a parent’s voice. It’s a friendly phone call, often in early spring, an inquiry about a student’s college application essay.

We chat for a while. I learn about the student’s dreams and accomplishments, and the list of colleges that are sure bets, real possibilities, and merely hopefuls.

But underneath our conversation runs a thread of anxiety. Anxiety about college choices, visits, deadlines, and those looming college application essays.

I hear that, too. And I tell them it’s okay.

I actually love this time of year. I look forward to meeting my students, knowing that I’ll teach them how to find their star power, and that by the end of our time together they’ll have transformed their dreams, goals, and experiences into powerful college application essays.

But it’s the parents I work with now. I help them manage their schedules, anticipate the bends in the road, and reassure them that, when the deadlines do arrive, everything will be ready to go.

And I give each parent 4 Important Springtime Tips:

  1. Anxiety is Normal. If you’ve done your homework and understand the college process, you know there’s a lot to handle. But also have the confidence to know that you’ll get it done.
  2. Essay Writing Can Wait Until June. Junior year of high school is filled with schoolwork, tests, SATs, ACTs, prom, and just life. So while it’s good for your teen to be thinking about which one of the five Common Application essay topics he or she might like to write about, the actual writing can wait until school ends.
  3. Help Your Student Plan Her Time. Teenager’s schedules are crazy, and by nature many students have a poor grasp of time management. Throw in summer activities, sports, and family vacations, and you’ve got a recipe for major stress.
    • If you can help your student find the time to 1. Think (very important) and 2. Write, you’ll be well ahead of the game.
  4. It’s spring. Take a walk. Count the flowers. Count your blessings. And remember that, despite your anxiety, with good planning you and your student will get the job done.

related links:
Common Application 2013 Essay Prompts
7 Tips for Parents to Reduce College Application Stress

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. Need help with essay writing, interview skills, and organizing your college search? I work with students everywhere: in-person, over the phone, Skype, and by email. Visit my website for more info. Connect with me on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.