There are common, interconnected themes experienced by applicants and their families during the application process that should be noted:
- Being unsure – Whether it is essays or college choices, it is not surprising to feel self-doubt when the odds of success are low.
- Comparison –Intense competition between applicants often leads to each one to compare oneself to peers, causing feelings of inadequacy.
- Feeling alone – When applicants encounter rough moments during the application process, they can find themselves without someone to relate to. This is especially true when high parental expectations, real or imagined, are present.
The fear of failure can seem paralyzing at times. Regardless of the final outcome, it is never worthwhile to suffer mental health damage just to get into an elite college. For each applicant, de-stressing happens in an individualized manner, be it pace or form. There a few basic tenets to bear in mind, especially for parents, when trying to ease the burden:
- Honesty – Life is never fair, a fact of life that parents are uniquely positioned to advise on. There are multiple circumstances and factors beyond applicants’ control that determine the outcome of their college wishes. It would not be a idea for parents to objectively assess applicants’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Open mind – There are many paths in life that lead to successful, fulfilling careers without attendance at elite colleges. Unconditional parental support goes a long way in easing applicants’ burdens.
- Making peace – As decisions begin to roll in from colleges, take any bad news in stride by recognizing that the best efforts have been made and more opportunities to shine lie ahead.