5 Ways Parents Head Off College Anxiety

This article is for you whether you’ve got a high schooler or a college student experiencing college anxiety.

When Samantha was in 10th grade, her Dad offered her a great suggestion. “Sam, why don’t we get your guidance counselor to sign you up for some college classes for next year, and you take those instead of regular high school classes? You can get real college credit for them, they’ll still count toward your high school graduation, and best of all, our state will pay for them!” Samantha hesitated, nervous apprehension squeezing at her stomach and working its way up to her chest and throat. It was her first experience with college anxiety. “I don’t know, Dad—couldn’t I just take a couple of AP classes instead?”

Don’t let your child retreat into AP classes to avoid college anxiety.

AP classes are the least dependable way to earn college credit in high school.

Contrary to popular belief, AP classes are not typically “easier than real college classes.” Think about it. Would you want to study a subject for months and months, and then have your success or failure depend on performing well on one big test at the end?

And then, after all that work, you find out that the college you’ll be attending may not even accept your hard-won AP credit?

That’s enough to exacerbate even the mildest case of college anxiety.

Here are 5 ways parents can head off college anxiety. (Number 5 is a big one.)

1. Emphasize that college success isn’t about how smart you are, it’s about how organized you are.

Your son is worried that he’s not smart enough for college. All kids are. If you went to college yourself, tell him that you really started being successful at college when you learned to use a calendar and make lists of tasks you had to do. Emphasize that organization is something anyone can learn.

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The Most Important Furniture Item for College Students

What’s the most important furniture item for college students besides the dorm room bed? It’s not the dorm room desk (since quiet library study carrels tend to be far better for intense and focused studying than a dorm room will ever be.)

The most important furniture item for college students is a two-drawer filing cabinet. 

Here are 7 reasons why a two-drawer filing cabinet (along with a little instruction on how to use it) just might be the most important item your child takes along to college.

the most important furniture item for college students

1. A two-drawer filing cabinet reduces stress for students.

Without a filing system, your son will likely pile important papers on the right side of his desk. This works just fine for two weeks, until the pile becomes a massive avalanche risk and just finding a necessary paper document becomes an energy-draining ordeal.

2. There’s great power in being able to locate any necessary document in under 10 seconds.

Your daughter will greatly appreciate this when she needs to quickly locate a housing request form, or all the handwritten notes needed to study for a tough midterm.

3. Even in the 21st century, not everything’s electronic. Students still manage a massive amount of paper during college.

This is especially true for students who follow my advice and take class notes using pen and paper rather than electronic devices.

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The Most Important Thing About High School? It’s Not Grades

Many families mistakenly believe that the most important thing about high school is getting good grades—so students can “get into a good college when they graduate.”

Not true.

What is the most important thing about high school?

In my work as an academic strategist, I’ve found that the most important thing about high school is forging the academic tools necessary for the college or vocational training that comes afterward.

 

I told one underperforming student this: “Imagine college as a place where you have to pound nails into boards, one after another, as fast as you can. Bam! Bam! Bam bam bam! High school is the place where you create your hammer. If your hammer’s put together sloppily out of string and glue and spitballs, you’ll find it difficult and exhausting and painful to pound nails in college.”

Can students “get good grades” and still miss it?

Too many high school students have figured out how to game the high school system enough to get decent grades while still not learning important skills, such as 1) putting away electronics and listening carefully in class, 2) taking thorough, complete handwritten notes, 3) seeking help when confused, and 4) using a calendar or a to-do list to make certain that assignments and test studying are done thoroughly and on time.

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My Best Debt-Free College Interview Yet

Listen On Your Drive to Work Today

To listen to my best debt-free college interview yet, click here.

Be sure your sound is on.

Short on time? Listen to 9 selected clips from this interview by scrolling down here

Listen while you’re driving or getting ready in the morning, and you just might change the life of a student you love.

free college

In March of 2018 I was interviewed by Andy Earle, a Loyola Marymount University researcher who focuses on parent-teen communication and teen thriving and flourishing.

I’ve been interviewed many times since my book LAUNCH came out in 2017, but this interview is by far the best. It’s the best produced, the most in-depth, the most inspiring, and the most informative.

To listen to the entire interview, or to quickly listen to just a few select clips, click here.

You’ll feel a growing sense of hope for the teens and 20somethings you love.

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Why and How to Stop Multitasking

Reclaim Your Productivity; Increase Enjoyment of Your Time Off

On the surface, it seems as though multitasking would make a great productivity tool. After all, if you can book a plane ticket and quickly shoot off an email while you’re on a phone meeting at work, why not? Haven’t you just masterfully killed two birds with one stone? Shouldn’t you be congratulated for being a brilliant time manager?

Research says no.

multitasking

Multitasking will drop your I.Q. faster than smoking pot.

One study showed that workers distracted by incoming email and text messages saw a whopping 10-point drop in their I.Q.s.

What’s the effect of a 10-point drop in I.Q.? It’s the same as losing an entire night’s sleep, and more than twice the effect of smoking marijuana.

Multitasking slashes your productivity by as much as 40%. 

We delude and fool ourselves into believing that we’re getting more done by multitasking. In reality, a day of multitasking results in less accomplishment, less productivity, and at the end of the day, something perhaps worse than mere low productivity.

Multitasking skyrockets feelings of stress and anxiety, eating away at the enjoyment of free time.

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Is It True You “Can’t Look At Your Kids’ College Grades”?

You’re bleeding money to pay for your son’s college. You hope he’s attending class, studying for exams, and getting help when he’s stuck. But is he? Some people say that you can never know for sure, because, “parents aren’t allowed to look at their kids’ college grades.” Is this actually true, though?

college grades

Nope. It’s not true at all.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It is true that because of FERPA laws enacted in 1974, colleges can’t show you — or tell you — any academic information about your child. But here’s what can happen. Your child can tell you himself. The college student you love can log you in and show you that he or she is OK.

“But what if my kid doesn’t want to show me his college grades?”

Here’s my suggestion. Wait until he asks you for money.

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5 Things Parents Must Know About “Senioritis”

And 4 Things Savvy Students Can Do About It

You’ve nursed your child through bouts of the flu and strep throat, but “senioritis” is different.

“Senioritis” symptoms include not doing homework, “forgetting” to study for tests, and getting oddly low grades on homework assignments, papers, and projects that your child would normally ace.

senioritis

“I can just slack off and relax a little now,” your 12th grader reasons. “My college applications are all in, so nothing I do now will matter.”

Here are 5 truths every parent must know about “senioritis.”

1. Colleges look at all four years of high school grades.

Every college your child has applied to will require a final transcript that shows both first and second semester grades from every class taken in 12th grade. Why? Because the college needs to make certain that the student has actually graduated from high school. If senioritis leads to a streak of poor grades on the tail end of that transcript, that can derail every goal the student has been working for.

2. Colleges do rescind acceptances due to poor senior year grades.

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1-Minute Trick Helps Overcome Laziness

You’ve got a mountain of work in front of you, but no energy to tackle it. You’ve already slept well and eaten energy-producing food, so exhaustion’s not the problem. You’re just feeling lethargic, avoidant, and lazy. We’ve all been there. Some of our kids seem to live there. Want change? A simple Japanese principle can help anyone overcome laziness in just one minute.

overcome laziness

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5 Questions to Ask Every Kid Every September

This article was originally published on September 12th, 2016. It was updated and republished here on August 26th, 2017.

There’s one thing parents long for far more than straight A report cards.

Parents want kids to do their own homework in a quality manner without the parent needing to prod, nag, oversee, or push.

Want to increase your chances of having academically independent children and teens at your house?

Ask each of your children these 5 questions every September.

High Grades

Before you have this conversation, be sure your teen has a calendar, planner, or special notebook for recording assignments and due dates. Then — keeping this particular student’s personality in mind — provide some individualized teaching on the subject of workflow process management.

5 Questions:

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How to Inspire Underperforming Students

This article was originally published on September 21st, 2015. It was updated and republished here on August 23rd, 2017.

Your middle schooler or high schooler tends to underperform in school — and it drives you crazy.

What’s a caring, involved parent to do? You know how high the stakes are. Is it your duty to strictly supervise and control homework so that your son or daughter gets higher grades and has a happier life ?

Sadhomework

Dr. Charles Fay of loveandlogic.com says no.

In a newsletter article published here, Charles gives parents a far better idea. “When your children get resistant,” he says, “allow them to learn through their refusal. Refusing to do a homework assignment can serve as a more important life lesson than the content of the assignment.”

Here are three additional strategies Charles recommends:

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