Helping Students Cope with Stress


It’s completely normal for some students to feel panicked and stressed. That doesn’t mean we should ignore their feelings.

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.”
Andy Warhol

I remember the admissions process like it was yesterday. In our case, my son was waitlisted. (Spoiler alert: He got in.) The wait was a killer though. His acceptance came something like a day before his high school graduation in June. My son had to frantically rewrite his grad announcement at the eleventh hour, but he couldn’t have been more happy to do so!

There are plenty of ways we can help our children cope with stress as they wait for the big decision to come down. I found that by doing so, I was not only helping my son to feel better, I was also teaching him some valuable social skills to handle future challenges.

I tried to be positive. Have you ever noticed that when somebody smiles at you, you automatically smile back? It’s the same with positivity. When my son started to second-guess his chances, or his self-esteem took a nosedive, I reminded him how great he was. I still point out all the fantastic things he’s done to get to where he is today.

I listened. I really try to hear what my student is saying, instead of immediately offering advice, to allow him to express his feelings. The good, the bad and the ugly. The important thing is that he knows I care and that his feelings are legitimate.

I tried to keep my cool. Yes, the long wait made me anxious, but I kept reminding myself that I wasn’t the one applying. I found the best way for me to destress my son was by controlling my own emotions.

I wanted to set a good example. By setting a positive example of how I cope with stress — in my case, going for long walks, playing with the cats or taking an aromatherapy bath — I teach my son coping strategies that he can use on his own. For him, video games do the trick.

I shared my own experiences. None of us became organized superheroes overnight. By sharing my own struggles with multi-tasking and how I learned to juggle my life, I opened up the lines of communication with my son. It’s important for parents to teach their children how to manage the growing number of responsibilities coming their way. As our children enter this new phase in their lives, our role transforms into one of leader, not lecturer.

Keep in mind: If your student received an offer to their second choice and was waitlisted for their first, they will remain on the waitlist after accepting their second choice. They can come off the waitlist up until the fifth day of classes, if a spot becomes available.

Jennifer Lloyd

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