Question. The atmosphere at my daughter’s school is frantic. Being a small private prep school, many of the students apply to the same schools with similar outstanding credentials. Every student seems stressed and it’s not unusual for my daughter to come home feeling ill when faced with the magnitude of work she must accomplish in just a short amount of time. In fact, she missed the past two days of school, spending time in bed, complaining of a sore throat and fever. If this behavior persists, I’m afraid she won’t be able to successfully complete this semester’s coursework, let alone all the college applications. -Joan F. Denver
Answer. Senior year can be intense. Add the quantity of the work required for college applications to the importance of maintaining high grades and strong relationships with friends, and it’s not unusual to find students becoming ill and spending a few days in bed.
The key to understanding this process is recognizing that it is time limiting. There’s lots of pressure now but in a few short months it will all be over. With good time management, your child will be surprised how much she can accomplish and still maintain her academics, athletics and other co-curricular activities, plus a reasonably decent social life. Being well organized will allow her to accomplish more than she ever dreamed possible. Getting organized means establishing a calendar that keeps a student and her family tuned into her targets. It means seeing the “big picture” while attending to all the details. A systematic approach, in writing, works best. Counsel her to cross off accomplishments after completion and she will be rewarded with satisfaction and a feeling of control. Procrastination can be a real demon during the fall semester of senior year. Deadlines are deadlines!
Remember that your child may also be experiencing a time of emotional upheaval. She’s at the top of her world in high school but soon will be leaving the safety of friends and family to embark on her own. Although she craves her independence, the loss of her safety net can feel threatening.
This may be an appropriate time to enlist the services of an educational planner to assist your family in navigating successfully through the college planning process.