Five Ways to Make College Discussions Less Stressful

Hannah is a 16-year old from New Jersey. She loves to compete with color guard and marching band, and play piano. She hopes to become a writer one day, and to inspire others to follow their dreams.

college talk, college decisions, college application process, college admission

The hardest part of high school could possibly be stressful talks about grades and college. Many parents and teens argue constantly over these topics, and it often can result in resentment or rebellion. For some, discussions like these can be confidence destroyers. However, these talks can be made easier and less stressful. These are five tips for dealing with these chats:


1.       Make sure your child wants to talk first.

Not every time is a good time. In many families, the parents and children have different times they are ready to talk. Sometimes, a teen will just not be in the mood to talk. Trying to convince or force a teenager to discuss ANYTHING will just turn them off to the subject. Instead, as a parent, learn the best time to discuss the important topics of grades and colleges – it will be a more pleasant conversation overall.

2.       Input your opinion, but listen to theirs.

Many parents do not realize that their children have different interests and opinions. In fact, often times, parents try to force their own opinion upon their children.  When it comes to grades and colleges, parents should always first input their opinion. Then, the child should always be allowed to explain his or her opinions. After all opinions are expressed, it becomes much easier to compromise in a way that will leave both the teen and parent satisfied.

3.       Be prepared to do research.

No important decision can be made without research. When discussing colleges, hours of research will be required. Some of this research can be looked up in books or online. That alone will take hours of research and then discussion. Other research, such as actual college visits can be extremely important. Every parent must remember, and remind their teen, that research is required to avoid a bad decision.

4.       Keep calm.

One reason that discussing the future is difficult is because emotions can run high. Parents are often upset by their teens’ decisions, while teens are angered by the stipulations set by their parents. In emotional situations, the best advice is always to stay calm. If decisions can be discussed in a calm and open manner, both the teens and parents will be able to walk away from the discussion without major regrets.

5.       Set reasonable goals.

Some parents underestimate their children, and others overestimate them. However, the truth   is that sometimes a teen will surprise – even if that does not mean attending an Ivy League college. While sitting down together, a teen and their parents should work together to create a goal. It should be one that is challenging but attainable. By setting a reasonable goal, a teen will have something to work for. Plus, if they succeed, then the goal can always be set higher!



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