Help! How Do we Reduce the Stress of the College Application Process?

This teen represents the college application process.
Many families hire International College Counselors with the sole intention of helping reduce college application process stress and anxiety. Three ICC team members recently attended The Southern Association for College Admission Counseling Conference (SACAC) in Jacksonville, FL, and heard a common theme among college admissions representatives: Students and parents are more stressed out about the college application process than ever before.
Here are some tips to help your family cope:
Practice active listening 
Ask your teenager open-ended questions and give them space to talk. Do not try to “fix” problems as soon as they arise. Encourage your teen by saying things like, “That must be difficult… Sounds frustrating…Can you tell me more about that? Let me see if I understand what you mean…” Sometimes just listening can lead to teens working out stressors by themselves, which is the ultimate goal of parenting!

Avoid the teen shut down
Teens tend to shut down when feeling overwhelmed. In addition to the Active Listening listed above, we suggest breaking the larger goal of “Getting into College” into smaller tasks.

Make sure you and your teen are making time for fun
 Many families find it helpful to schedule “non-college time.” This is a specific time that no one in the family asks about college or the application process. Find some uninterrupted time to do something that truly brings your teen happiness – even 15 minutes can do wonders! Set aside one hour a week to talk about college; make it a rule not to bring it up outside that hour.

Ask yourself, “Who’s the parent?”
 While we all know how tricky teenage emotions can be, remind yourself that YOU set the tone for how your household responds to anxiety. If you are a ball of nerves, chances are your teenager will feel the same way. 

Ask for help! 
Our college advisors are here to help! Many ICC team members even have degrees in various fields of mental health counseling. We find that a teenager’s anxiety will vanish when they feel truly confident in their plan of action and their decisions.

**And remember, anxiety right now is a normal response. The presence of the “unknown future” can be quite daunting. (See #4 above.) Give yourself and your teenager time to process in a safe, understanding space, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
Reduce college application process stress. Call or email us at International College Counselors. No matter where your family is in the college admissions process, we can help. Visit http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or call us at 954-414-9986 to discuss your unique student.