Campus visits, applications, SAT, financial aid … the list goes on. While an exciting time, preparing for college can be overwhelming and stressful for students and families alike. As a parent of a high school senior, I have experienced this firsthand.  

The best thing we as parents can do during this time is to be supportive.

Talk with your teen about their college goals. Then have a conversation with their teachers and school counselor about the best ways to support them in achieving these goals. And ask their teachers and counselor the best ways to prep for the SAT, connect with college advisors, apply for financial aid, etc.

In addition to teachers and school counselors, talk to family members, neighbors, other parents and community members who have gone through the process and get their advice.

It’s important to remember that you and your teen are not alone and not to be afraid to ask for help. And make sure to celebrate successes along the way.

A few other steps to take to help minimize stress for your child during this time:

  • Encourage your teen to practice healthy sleep habits. Research shows that adolescents require between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Studies also demonstrate that the duration of sleep is positively correlated with academic outcomes and external factors including extracurricular activities and work schedules. Getting optimal levels of sleep will make a difference for your teen’s physical and mental health and their academic performance.

  • Ensure your teen eats healthy foods. Nutritious foods fuel our minds and bodies. Eating nutritious foods is critical to children’s success and their health and well-being. Surround your teen with healthy options at home and demonstrate good nutrition for your child.

  • Make sure your teen maintains good study habits. Practicing good study habits will help your child balance college prep activities with their schoolwork and ensure they complete all requirements and finish the school year strong.

This is an exciting and important time of growth in our children’s lives. By partnering and working collaboratively with teachers, counselors and other advisors, we can provide critical support to our children to help make sure the stress that college prep can bring doesn’t take a toll on their health and ensure that their dreams become a reality.