Happy New Year! As we adjust to writing the new year on all our documents, there’s still plenty of time to add resolutions to your list. International College Counselors has a few suggestions to help you through the college process and make the time you have left with your high schooler a bit easier.

1.   Keep the college process in perspective. Getting into college and going to college constitute only one part of your student’s life. Plus, where your student goes to college is less important than what your student does during college and after. Students can be successful no matter which college they attend. Reinforcing this message to your teenager can help them view this process in a more realistic way.

2.   Work on communication skills. A healthy and trusting parent-child relationship during the teenage years is important. Staying close is not always easy, though, as teens test boundaries and learn more about themselves. Try to listen more to your high school student, validate their feelings, and keep open and honest lines of communication going. Establishing trust and support now will help ensure a strong relationship when your student goes to college.

3.   Model healthy habits. Practicing healthy habits can improve focus and decrease stress. Exercise, for example, even as a short break between tasks, can reduce stress hormones and stimulate the production of endorphins, which together boost mood and foster relaxation. Other healthy habits include eating nutritious foods, drinking enough water throughout the day, and getting ample sleep.

4.   Lower the stress. Students harbor enough anxiety about the college admissions process already. If you relax, you’ll help your student relax.

5.   Seek to set realistic goals. If your student’s grades and/or standardized test scores are not competitive for a highly selective college, revise your plan, as necessary. Colleges have become A LOT more selective. This is no reflection on you or your child. There are many great fit schools out there, and International College Counselors can help match your student with the best one for them.

6.   Provide support and encouragement. Make sure to give praise as your child really does still want your approval. And offer your help—students juggle a lot with their academics and extracurriculars. If your child is looking to apply to college, make sure deadlines for scholarships, internships, summer programs, standardized tests, etc. are met.

7.   Teach your student life skills. Students going to college should know how to do their own laundry, cook a few simple dishes, handle money, manage a bank account, and how to shop on a budget, at the very least. Helping them learn these skills throughout high school will make the transition to college less daunting.

8.   Encourage your student to try something new. High school is an ideal time for students to explore their options and learn about themselves, their likes, and dislikes. Internships, classes, clubs, jobs, and sports can all help in the self-discovery process. Students are not expected to leave high school knowing exactly what they want to do, and their high school years are a chance to start narrowing down any interests. People never know what they like—or how good they are at something—until they give it a try.

9.   Get help. If your student is not doing as well as hoped or struggles in a certain subject, identify sources of help, like study sessions, tutoring, or reaching out to the teacher. For standardized tests, like the SAT and the ACT, hire a tutor to help, or seek instruction online. There are many resources, including free ones, out there. If you need help finding resources for your student, speak to one of our experienced college advisors at International College Counselors.

10.  Be on the alert for «Senioritis.” Parents of seniors, when your child gets accepted to college, celebrate the accomplishment, and then watch for “Senioritis.” Slacking off during senior year may seem like something a student feels they deserve after all their hard work, but chances are they’ll do themselves more harm than good by letting their grades slide. Colleges reserve the right to withdraw offers should poor grades and/or discipline problems come to light.

11.  Stay excited for your student. Whatever college a student attends, there will be new people to meet, new things to learn, and great times to be had. Your child is going to college! You’ve done many things right to get to this point. Find joy in their independence and celebrate with them.

12.  Treat yourself nicely. Navigating the high school years and the college admissions process is stressful. You do not need to go through it alone, though. There are so many resources out there to help guide you, including International College Counselors!

For help keeping your high school student on track and navigating the college admissions process, contact International College Counselors at http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.com or 1-954-414-9986.

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