“My parents are telling me not to freak out but I am” said one of my students recently about upcoming PSAT results. I hear this more often than parents may realize. That teens do not readily confess their psychological challenges is certainly nothing new. What seems to be somewhat new is the impact that once insignificant events seems to have on our psychologically “different” teens.
I don’t think the PSAT results were a big deal back in the 1980s except to those seeking out National Merit Scholarships and/or academically driven. The test is, after all, a Practice SAT. But many students in our college bound Connecticut towns are hyper-sensitive to every comparison. Think of how devastated middle schoolers get when they first get cut from teams. We – as a collective society – have done wonders in making our kids think they are special. We have not, however, prepared them to be sturdy.
Students from Guilford to East Lyme will come to my office shaken by the PSAT results that revealed that they were not quite the academic star they envisioned. Grade inflation does that as does lack of preparation for the PSAT, at least in comparison to those that worked diligently for the test.
The solution, fortunately, is an easy one. Start test prep – perhaps wait till after the holidays 🙂