It is very difficult watching your child feel stress, especially when you are feeling the same way. This is what I commonly hear from the parents I counsel during the admission process. So, how do we help our children and ourselves during this oftentimes anxiety-filled time?  Here is my advice on how to demystify the process for your child.

  1. Talk about the things they can control because this is what really matters. Children have control over how hard they try in school. They can do what is expected of them – turning in homework on-time, studying for tests, being respectful of adults and other students, putting forth their best effort – these things are representative of choices students can make.
  2. Have a conversation with your child about what they do not have control over – the number of applicants and available spaces for admission in a school, the number of sibling or legacy applicants who may be a priority and the number of girls or boys a school will accept in an effort to achieve gender balance. These extenuating circumstances will impact final admission decisions but do not reflect what school personnel feel about individual students who are not accepted.
  3. Explain that there will be more than one school that will be a “match” for your child and your family so that if the result is different than what you originally hoped for, it is more than likely that your child will be very happy in the end.