Summer Strategies for Stressed-Out Rising Seniors: Relax, Recharge, and Rock Your College Apps

The Summer Squeeze: Balancing Fun and Future

Most students are planning to unwind during summer break. But with college applications looming in the fall, reminded by seemingly every adult, many sense pressure to be “productive.” Yet, truthfully, a strategic retreat to reflect on your abilities and aspirations creates a foundation for the nitty-gritty work of writing autobiographical college essays and completing applications. 

Finding Meaning, Not Just Merit Badges

Recognize the seeming ever-present “college admissions filter”—that question of, “How will this help me with my college apps?” Then, students can choose activities based on interests, not a resume. Even playing digital games, students learn teamwork, strategy, and about their leadership. Don’t be afraid to try something new! In the unstructured time of summer, students can discover their motivations, thus craft applications which reflect their authentic self. 

Striking a Work-Life Balance

During summer, students also have the opportunity to master the art of balance. Parents and teens may disagree on the meaning of “productive”, so can refine their communication, building the collaboration necessary in the next year to choose a valuable college. Discuss goals, questions, doubts to build a strategy where students can relax while also progressing on future plans.

Navigating the Maze Together: Parents and Teens

Parents understandably want to help their teens, but the modern admissions process might differ from their own experiences, creating a generational gap that hinders communication. Seek credible information sources and have candid, ongoing conversations, especially about the role you expect to take and your teen’s expectations about your role during admissions. By working together, you can make informed decisions and approach college prep with confidence.

During the process of college admissions, teenagers are essentially building foundations for their adulthood, transitioning away from childhood. Both parents and teens will react differently to the impending changes. Embrace the fun, be patient, and get help when needed, as a teenager comes of age.


For over twenty years, Creative Marbles experts have moderated family conversations regarding complex educational decisions, lending our expertise to reduce the risk of malinvestment. For more information, contact us.

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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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