Anxiety Can Be a Friend during the College Admissions Process

It’s normal for rising seniors and transfer students to be anxious about the college application process. People typically are anxious when facing uncertainty, and when applying to college, students confront many unknowns: from unpredictable admissions results, to doubts about how they’ll transition to living away from family. 

When parents, with good intentions, try to alleviate their teenagers’ worries by saying, “Don’t worry,” or “You’ll be fine no matter what,” teens may not be reassured. Instead, teens may believe they’re unheard or their concerns dismissed.

Instead, parents can acknowledge and validate their teenagers’ anxiety as a normal human response. They can encourage their students to express their concerns candidly. Then, teens can learn to distinguish between what is factual and what thoughts are simply unfounded fears.

With the support of friends, family, and trusted mentors, students can analyze their specific fears. Then, in collaboration with others, students can address each concern systematically, as well as identify if and what more information is needed. By continuing to research each college, students can gain confidence in their applications, as well as in their ability to navigate challenges, while reducing anxiety.

When students embrace (or at least recognize) the humanity of being anxious, then they can learn more about themselves as well as how to cope with life’s inevitable uncertainty.

Jill is a twenty year veteran educator and consultant, who collaboratively advises clients about their pressing educational and college admissions decisions. Contact her at

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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