photo of a teenage girl standing on an empty road smiling at camera

How to Help Your Anxious Teen Through The College Application Process

When looking back at our teenage years, we may only see carefree days and great times with our friends. When living through our teenage years, though, things were certainly more complex. Teens are attempting to navigate social shifts, academic pressures, and physical changes. Being a teen is often fun, but it’s not without a fair amount of challenges. For example, the college application process is stressful, especially if you’re already anxious.

One minute, your teen is goofing around with friends in the high school cafeteria. Then suddenly, They’re being asked to make decisions that can shape the rest of their life. Your support is essential.

This is a Chance to Enhance Your Communication and Connection

Yes, there’s pressure, and yes, such pressure is amplified if your teen is struggling with anxiety. But you can lighten their load by focusing on how exciting this all is at the same time. Be there to help them celebrate their successes and milestones along the way. Cheer them on as they do the hard work!

The college application process presents you both with an ideal opportunity to practice healthy communication. Talk about expectations, fears, dreams, and plans. Listen carefully when your child expresses their concerns and their goals. Sure, teens can reject parental input at times but your support is a source of comfort for them — whether they acknowledge that or not. Some suggestions along those interpersonal lines:

  • Learn About Anxiety: Educate yourself about anxiety disorders so you can provide specific, useful support.
  • Encourage Self-Care: Sometimes, teens reject healthy habits as a form of rebellion. Do what you can to help them recognize that self-care is a bulwark against anxiety.
  • Give Them Room: It’s tempting to do too much and take too much control. But this is a giant step toward their independence so treat it as such.

photo of a teenage girl standing on an empty road smiling at cameraSome Practical Ways to Help Your Anxious Teen Through The College Application Process

When anxiety is present, even the smallest tasks can appear overwhelming. One of the most powerful ways to support your teen is through practical, material advice, e.g.

  • Get An Early Start: Create a timetable, keep track of deadlines, and maintain a checklist. This goes a long way in alleviating stress as they move along the process.
  • Break Big Tasks Into Small Tasks: Anxiety disorders can make anyone feel inept and inadequate. By taking on applications step by step, your teen gets to move at a healthy pace and feel a sense of accomplishment over and over. It can be very satisfying to check things off a to-do list.
  • Manage Expectations: There are countless factors at play here. Whether or not your child gets into their top choice can be an arbitrary decision. So, do what you can to keep expectations high but not unrealistic. Emphasize that finding a good match is far more important than chasing prestige. Guide them as they prepare their list — from primary choices to backup options to safety schools.
  • Do Research as a Team: Depending on how many schools your child is aiming for, the background work can feel daunting. Offer to take on some basic, even mundane tasks. When it comes to college visits, do everything in your power to be part of these trips while still giving your teen room to explore.

Take Anxiety Seriously

All the preparations in the world don’t change the reality that anxiety can be a diagnosable disorder. Your teen is navigating a very tricky time of life and needs all the support they can get. If you think they might benefit from speaking to a professional, I invite you to reach out and learn more about making that happen in teen counseling.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *