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 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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Is “Advanced Placement” the Best Way to Earn College Credit In High School?

Every year, millions of high school students are fed this line: “Hey, you should take Advanced Placement (AP) classes! They’re way harder, but if you do well on the test at the end, you’ll get free college credit!”

It sounds like a great deal. But is it actually true?

Advanced Placement

Actually, Advanced Placement (AP) classes are the least dependable way for students to earn college credit in high school.

Shockingly, fewer than half the students who take AP classes actually end up getting the low-cost college credit they were promised.

This Atlantic article goes so far as to tell parents bluntly, “AP classes are a scam” and “AP students are being suckered.”

The well-respected Atlantic said that? Wow.

To learn which early college option tends to be far better than APread on.

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7 Reasons Your MIDDLE SCHOOLER Needs A College Study Skills Class

And Where to Find One

To get straight to my study skills class information, scroll to the red writing below.

LIve class coming August 27th!

Something magical happens when a middle schooler takes a college study skills class. I’ve seen it a thousand times.

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Sprint – Then Rest. 9 Surprising Ways to Achieve More by DOING LESS

This post was updated in August of 2017.

We’ve all had those days. You have a mountain of work in front of you that you genuinely want to get done, but you find yourself procrastinating. Struggling to focus. Failing to get tasks completed.

What’s the problem? It’s probably not that your time management system has failed. It’s probably not that there “just aren’t enough hours in the day.” Instead, you’re far more likely to be suffering from a crisis of energy. You may have drained all your energy by running yourself too fast and too hard for too long, and you’re long overdue for replenishment.

The good news? It’s fixable.

sprinterwithwords

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