Stressed Rising Seniors?

<p>Just wondering if I am the only one with a very stressed new senior? My daughter puts a lot of pressure on herself normally (unfortunately), but adding the extra stress of college-related stuff (college essays, SAT's, college applications, etc.), and she just seems to be on the verge of a stress meltdown... The summer didn't help her decompress because of all the college "stuff" and AP homework. If anyone else has dealt w/ this, what are your recommendations? Do you offer guidance, let her vent/cry, etc. to let off steam while you stay out of her way, try to talk her into lightening her load somehow or ??? I know my daughter is emotional which makes my husband question her maturity - and yes, she needs to calm down a bit - but is her being so stressed typical of a student who wants to succeed, or does it mean she may not be ready to go off to college next year since she is having so much stress NOW? Trying to figure out what would help.... (both her and me - LOL).</p>

<p>Thanks for any advice,
Lark123</p>

<p>I don't know if this will help you or not. But in my kid's high school, the junior year is a lot worse than the senior year (academic workload-wise). So, if that runs true for your school, there should be a little more breathing room this fall. Granted, she is dealing with college apps, but at least not in as heavy an environment as last year.</p>

<p>I learned that I was able to help my son more than I thought by simply verbalizing encouragement. For kids who have very high expectations of themselves and who work very very hard, I think they need reassurance and encouragement. My point is, you may be helping her more than is immediately evident by encouraging her and telling her she is doing great. It is hard to sit and watch your child almost doing a melt-down, but an almost melt-down is not a melt-down. Hang in there. :-) You can be her lighthouse in a stormy sea.</p>

<p>I'm going to agree that my son's jr year was far more stressful than the sr year. If your student is a current rising sr they have no basis of knowing that the work load may very well be less, the bulk of testing is done, and the sheer fact of being a sr is fun. They are antsy and angsty right now. All they know is the jr year was overwhelming and now they have to ADD applications on top of that! It will in fact be a much different animal, the stressors are there but they are different.</p>

<p>I would offer support and wait through the first month of school to see if the stress levels out and if she settles in before you start to consider her readiness for college next year. Good luck. You both will do great!</p>

<p>Senior year fall was the worst time for my kids. I told them to put their head down and slog through until the New Year. People can live through just about anything if they can see the light at the end of the tunnel...</p>

<p>Senior year is a very stressful year, many seniors feel overwhelmed. This is the first time, a lot of those kid's are making their first major decision, and everything they have worked for is on the line. It is not surprising they feel stressed. </p>

<p>I would suggest for you to sit down with your daughter to go over everything she needs to get done between now until end of Dec, set short term goals. Instead of writing 20 essays in 2 weeks, prioritize them, maybe 2 a week. Get her ED/EAs done first, then work down to other schools. I would also look at her ECs and work to see which one she could cut back. Avoid any major vacation in the next few months. I think once everything is laid out, she may then realize it is not as bad.</p>

<p>We encouraged daughter to apply early action to a few of the schools she was interested in. She was able to get applications done for 2 schools by mid-September which relieved a lot of stress (both her's and ours!) before course load got heavy.</p>

<p>Hi Lark,
As applying to colleges is like having a required part time job, above and beyond everything else on your D's plate this semester, may I suggest that you offer to be her secretary/"ad min", and offer to do the mindless, time consuming chores involved in applying to colleges-filling out basic name, address, etc. info on the online applications, classes taken, SAT scores, EC's info. etc, etc. -all the keyboarding stuff that must be done but takes up time -leaving her more time to devote to her essays, which only she can do[ you can proof read them, IF she asks you to.] That is what many CC parents have found to be of great help to their Seniors.
In addition , creating a master spreadsheet- listing all colleges she is considering applying to on the vertical axis and all pertinent information -application deadline dates, SAT subject tests required, # of LOR's required, etc, etc across the top, will help her and you stay on track and make sure that no deadline is missed and that nothing is overlooked or forgotten.</p>

<p>I think your D mostly needs to vent, and to hear encouragement from you. Gentle guidance, to make sure tests & other stuff gets done, but mostly just listening & support.</p>

<p>Senior fall was the worst for my D. She had a fall sport with finals/tournaments late Oct&early Nov, and her HS requires all seniors to volunteer for a political campaign, but they can't start until late Sept, so October was he**. Only took the SAT once (she was traveling spring of jr year so she didn't take it then). State flagship U has Honors College app deadline in mid Oct; she just couldn't get it together. She did all her apps between mid-Nov to Christmas.</p>

<p>Of course, spring of senior year is another story....</p>

<p>
[quote]
may I suggest that you offer to be her secretary/"ad min", and offer to do the mindless, time consuming chores involved in applying to colleges-filling out basic name, address, etc. info on the online applications, classes taken, SAT scores, EC's info. etc, etc. -all the keyboarding stuff that must be done but takes up time -leaving her more time to devote to her essays, which only she can do[ you can proof read them, IF she asks you to.] That is what many CC parents have found to be of great help to their Seniors.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I'm going to respectfully disagree. Acting as an administrative manager is a fine step and a great way to stay connected. I would avoid filling out any part of an application. Your student owns that. I think adcoms would universally agree. There are plenty of ways to lighten their load and support them. I'd rather do their laundry, expect less chores, etc., then touch one single part of their physical application. It's a line I wouldn't cross. I know others do. I simply think there is a way to help without going there. Please understand I'm not talking about helping editing and reviewing for errors, but that's not what's being suggested here.</p>

<p>"I would avoid filling out any part of an application. "
"Please understand I'm not talking about helping editing and reviewing for errors, but that's not what's being suggested here."</p>

<p>Oh please. I'm talking about entering basic data that every application asks for- name, address, phone number, email address, name of high school, classes taken , grades, SAT scores etc, etc, that's all. having a parent, who has time, sit in front of a computer and enter basic factual information, over and over again on numerous applications, does nothing to change the application from what it would be if the senior entered the same information. All it does is save time[ like offering to do laundry] , which can reduce the stress seniors can feel.</p>

<p>"It's a line I wouldn't cross"
suit yourself, but if the goal is to help reduce stress for a senior, that's what many CC parents have done. Same as doing laundry- anyone can do it. Write or change anything on your seniors college essays? Now that's a line that is not to be crossed.</p>

<p>I understood that you meat statistical data only. My opinion is different and I wanted to share it. We disagree and that's okay. </p>

<p>FWIW, I understand that there are plenty of parents that do this. I also feel that very few of those parents would be willing to write on those same applications going to top universities "This part filled out by Janie's Mom because she was too busy and stressed to take 20min to input the data herself". I happen to think admissions representatives wouldn't look highly on that. Do they understand it happens, sure. Would they rather it not, you bet. If you're not willing to disclose the parts of the application you've filled out to the admissions reps then you shouldn't be doing it. If you really want to test how you feel about it, try calling your students top choice and ask their opinion giving your students name. If you're not so sure...well.</p>

<p>I leave the applications to my kids and support in other ways. It's a different opinion, not right or wrong just different.</p>

<p>^^my, my, my...........</p>

<p>Remember when we used to have to type apps out with a typewriter? If we made a mistake we had use a white out? My dad helped out with a lot of typing for us. When I was in college, my source of income was to type people's papers. I charged $1 per page normally, but if it was a rush job, like the night before, I charged $3 per page. I don't think I violated honor code by typing someone's written paper (there were a lot of bad typists).</p>

<p>I guess I don't think it is that big of a deal in typing in static data is really that big of a deal, especially when it comes to parents education information, and our home contact information.</p>

<p>Its not a big deal. But apparently, some would rather criticize other parents suggestions , rather than offer their own suggestions to the OP, which all others on this thread have managed to do.................</p>

<p>My Ds actually liked filling in the data part of the apps. It provides this instant gratification, something that can be completed and crossed off the list feeling. The essays on the other hand can be tweaked eternally. </p>

<p>I think the key is to try and find whatever it is your particular kid needs to reduce the stress level. For my older D it was offering to drive her to school when she needed the extra half hour in the car to study for a quiz. It was figuring out how to use the editing software to parse together a dance portfolio from multiple videos. It was proofreading essays and sending in scores from college board.</p>

<p>In terms of stress management, there are people who teach meditation and other stress reduction techniques that might help the OP's D. The other thought would be to suggest that once she gets in to college somewhere she should decide if she wants to take a gap year. Whether she does or not, just knowing she can has the effect of letting her feel like she is not being swept into college ready or not. Might take a bit of the pressure off.</p>

<p>I agree menloparkmom, the clerical work that accompanies the application process is not work that is necessary for our kids to do. They need to concentrate on the content of their essays, and we fill in basic data, including family and parent information (like where we work, where we went to school) They need help. It's overwhelming what is expected now to get into a "good" school. This is our first time but I anticipate the next few months (fall senior year) to be insane. My son has enough pressure with taking a full AP courseload, keeping up with sports, extracurriculars and community service - and now the applications on top of everything. Thanks also OldFort - good advice - step by step, one day at a time!</p>

<p>My D is an entering college freshman and a long distance runner. She will go for a long run sometimes when she is particularly stressed. It gives her time away to think and process, as well as doing something productive (even if it doesn't appear to be the highest priority item at the moment).</p>

<p>She then feels better about coming home, eating pizza and chocolate, and tackling whatever needs worked on. </p>

<p>Maybe your kid isn't a runner, but any sort of excersize would likely help.</p>

<p>Senior year was the worst for all 3 of my kids. Each needed a different kind of support, and I gave it ( moderately, I hope) in ways I normally wouldn't, to be honest - which in any case did not end up jeopardizing future independence or autonomy at college at all.</p>

<p>They were not, however, stressed this early in the year (in the summer). My son didn't even look at applications until December, and he went to a great school.</p>

<p>I would encourage keeping the number of college applications down. (One of mine applied to only 2 schools, both early action, which was great; the others applied to 5 and that also worked out well.)</p>

<p>In our house, we really tried to keep perspective on the application/admissions rat race, and tried to provide an alternative perspective to the stressed, hyper competitive atmosphere that developed in senior year, even in our little public high school.</p>

<p>Help your daughter understand that all kind of schools can work out, and that she should not get too fixed on one or two schools.</p>

<p>Maybe buy Loren Pope's books for her (Colleges that Change Lives, Beyond the Ivies).</p>

<p>Emphasize enjoying the present, the last year of high school, as well.</p>

<p>Just my 2 cents, and good luck!</p>

<p>I'm in agreement that college apps are my daughter's job. Between the farm, the 2 business, a full time job, my spouse and the other kids she knows she needs to pull her weight when she is the direct beneficiary because I certainly don't have time to do her mundane tasks on top of my own. For anyone else to work on her apps is pushing off responsibilities that are her's alone. Hopefully this will carry into the workforce where she won't depend on others to do her job but rather she will be able to manage her own time. I certainly don't want her to grow up with a sense of entitlement that others do her busy work for her.</p>

<p>Once she completed her college apps in early fall the biggest stress was preparing her auditions. She really enjoyed her spring semester of senior year.</p>

<p>I helped with the resume to make sure she covered all of her various ECs, but left the actual filling out of the applications and essay writing to my D.</p>

<p>I would also strongly suggest that all applications be sent in prior to Thanksgiving, and apply Early Action if possible. Some of my D's teachers told the kids that they would not do recommendations for students who applied after November 30. </p>

<p>By Christmas, my D has received acceptances from 5 schools, which made the holidays very enjoyable instead of stressful for all of us.</p>