Preparing for College

College Admissions Stresses Parents, Too

I went through the college admissions process with two children, a son and a daughter. The challenge for our daughter was far less taxing than that for our son, mainly because she chose the Early Decision route for a college that was not only recruiting her for her music talent but also for which she was supremely qualified. Our son's process was much more complex and stressful, not only for him but also for Mon and Dad. Being an independent college admissions counselor didn't help me much to lower the anxiety level. In fact, it probably raised it, because I had an inside perspective on the perils of elite admissions.

All ended well, though, with our son being accepted Early Action at his first-choice Ivy and three other top schools. That was in the fall of 1994, and even though things were stressful then, they were nothing like the situation is today where some of the schools our son applied to now have acceptance rates in the single digits. Sadly, the situation promises to get nothing but worse. What can parents do (or what should they be doing) to reduce the stress and anxiety of this seemingly runaway train of competitive college admissions?

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