Parent College Coach Tip #38: Don’t Let Stress Get the Better of You

Paperwork OverwhelmStress. It’s a killer. Parents and teens deal with stress on a daily basis; and when the college prep season arrives, the stress intensifies. Do you know what to expect and how to deal with it? Just as with any family situation, anticipating problems that can or might arise should help you respond properly and deal with stress during college prep.

Imagine these scenarios

  • Your teen announces he’s going to die if he doesn’t get into his first choice college.
  • You hear other parents talking about their student to his headed to the Ivies.
  • Your teen says she can’t possibly go to college because her boyfriend isn’t going there.
  • After multiple tries on the SAT, your teen announces that she’s never going to get into any college.
  • It’s been months since your teen started his essay and all he’s written is–“My life-changing moment is . . .”
  • On a college visit, your teen says, “I’m just not feeling it.”
  • Your son is sitting in the middle of his bedroom floor surrounded by college catalogs with a lost puppy dog look on his face.
  • Your daughter has a tentative lists of colleges that are completely out of your price range and she starts crying when you point that out.

What’s your first reaction?

First you walk outside and scream (or count to 10). How could you have possibly given birth to this person and who has taken over the body of your once agreeable child? Then you take a deep breath, and respond. Never, and I mean never, let your teen see you stressed and frustrated. Your attitude will rub off on them. Their stress will increase with your stress. So stay calm and remember that this too shall pass.


For more tips on handling college prep stress: 5 College Planning Pain Points

Read all of the Parent College Coach Tips here.

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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