What is College Admissions Anxiety?

College Admissions Anxiety is REAL and it’s rampant.

For many students, the college selection process is the first adult decision they will make.  That’s a lot of pressure!  Many kids think that where they go to college will determine how successful they will be in life.  WRONG.  In addition, consider the impact going to college has on a young adult:  separation from family and friends, living independently in a co-ed environment, change of sleep patterns, managing schedules and assignments without supervision, multiple tough lessons in choices and self-discipline.  I’m getting anxiety just writing this!

And, it’s no easier for parents.  They are also trying to manage mixed emotions.  They have spent 18 or 19 years preparing their child to become independent and go off to college but when the time comes, it’s not so easy.  They worry about whether their child is ready for this big step.  Will they go to their classes, eat their vegetables, and make the right choices in social situations?  I think any experience that forces a pendulum swing of emotions – joy and sorrow, excitement and fear, comfort and insecurity – causes us anxiety.  It’s absolutely no surprise families experience College Admissions Anxiety Syndrome.

Add to all of the emotions is the real fact that the college application process is much more competitive now than it has ever been. While standardized applications, such as the Common and Universal app, make the process easier, it means students are applying to a lot more colleges than they did in my day.  And, media reports and rankings like the US News and World Report which, came out this week, fuel the fury.  I just found my own college application while cleaning out files and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get accepted using this same application today. Thankfully, I already have my degrees.

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