“I don’t want to create stress. We’ll deal with college stuff later.”
As a father of three, I don’t want to create stress for my children either. I do think that some kids are stressed about important things. And, I fully understand the desire to delay dealing with anything anxiety provoking.
Nonetheless, I know the following from tutoring Connecticut high school students and providing educational counseling to Connecticut families over the last 20 years.
1.) The early starters almost always have better outcomes AND are happier during the process
You and your children know college is coming. Delaying discussions about college simply puts the stress in the sub-conscious where you and your kids are helpless. Dealing with what you can control – start shopping for colleges, do SAT prep, get good grades etc. will make you less stressed. And trust me
2.) The most unhappy families are those that start the college process too later.
I realize that some parents of soon to be seniors are kicking themselves as they read this note. You can ignore and just dive in . asap 🙂 Everyone else, start early!
3.) You might think your children are stressed related to long term goals. Instead, most kids are stressed due to teen life.
The fear of adding more stress related to college misses the notion that the bulk of teen stress is social, not work related.
I grew up outside of New York city. Many parents were 1st or 2nd generation Americans and placed significantly more pressure on their children than most of the kids I see in the Guilford -East Lyme area. As an outsider observing those who live in on the Connecticut shoreline, I can say with full certainty that most of our high school students are not working anywhere near their full potential.
3.) Summer is an optimal time to start
SAT (and ACT) prep is one of the things that can/should be done in the summer – if possible. College discussions – perhaps one “kick off to college” – as I call it with my college counseling clients is another. And, if you have been wondering whether where one attends college matters: