Across the entire Buffalo Region, students are hungry for college tips as they prepare to graduate from high school. An average student preparing for college in Buffalo, New York experiences a lot of stress in the process. The lengthy applications, college essays, financial aid inquiries, scholarship opportunities, visiting campuses—it’s enough to make anyone go crazy. A student’s go-to support throughout all of this is usually their parents. More often than not, they’ve been through it before, right? They’ve gone through college and should know how to help. Unfortunately that’s not always the case.
Six College Tips
- Parent’s anxiety is just as high as yours. This college tip has to do with a student’s mindset when talking to parents. Enter a conversation about college knowing parents are stressed that their children are going through one of their most important life transitions. Think what must be going through their heads: Is my kid going to be successful at school? Is he ready to be on his own? Will she be safe on campus? It can be intense. Just being aware of this creates a more understanding tone in the conversation.
- Soothe anxiety with the right talking environment. There’s a lot to consider with this college tip. If a student or a parent is stressed after a long day at school or work, it’s not a good time to be talking about the added stress of college. Choose a time in the morning or on the weekends to talk. If a conversation needs to happen in the evening, take steps to relax first. Enter the conversation calm, not thinking about everything that needs to get done tomorrow. Make sure the conversation happens in a quiet place, without distractions.
- Make your own decisions, but keep them in the loop. There are so many options to consider when choosing a college to attend. In-state, or out-of-state? Two-year school or four-year school? Dorm or commute? A big college tip for students staying in Buffalo is making sure their cars are equipped to make it through the long winter months. College is a time to nurture independence, so a good college tip is to make decisions individually. Parents like to know what their kids are thinking, so students can tell them their thought process along the way.
- Set boundaries with a parent that’s too involved. If parents are being too controlling, or trying to make every decision for their child when it comes to college, it’s time to set some boundaries. College is for the student’s future, not the parent’s. It’s always good to be assertive. Students can express feelings clearly, and propose what changes they want to see while talking about college with their parents.
- Be honest. This is a pretty obvious college tip, but it’s so important. It can be hard for students to tell parents what kind of college experience they want for themselves, especially if it doesn’t line up with what their parents envisioned. Lying to parents doesn’t help them, and it doesn’t help the students. Maybe a student wants to start off at Erie Community College before transferring to the University at Buffalo. Maybe a student applied to colleges, but wants to take a year off to work instead. Or only go to college part time. Whatever the case, it’s critical to communicate with parents honestly.
- Know when to ask for help. If the stress of college preparation is getting to a point where students are having intense anxiety, arguments with parents, and general conflict in their lives, then it’s time to ask for help. Talk to trusted friends or adults for support. Connect with a therapist for individual or family sessions. College is a huge transition, and students and parents deserve all the help they can get to make the process exciting instead of apprehensive.
It’s Different Than How It Was For Your Parents
Even with these college tips, it’s important to remember that an average student’s college preparation today is very different than what their parents experienced. Applications are online, the cost of college has increased dramatically, and the competition is greater. Essentially, the stakes are higher. Students and parents are working together to make the best decisions that they can. Parents can help the process, or add on to the stress. Students can have a better experience if they use these college tips. These college tips can help students have the right mindset and some good communication strategies while talking to parents.
Christine Frank, LMSW
Christine understands what it’s like when you’re trying your hardest and an invisible hand is holding you back. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, or stupid, or unworthy of good things—it just means you could use some help. It helps to connect with someone who knows that your stories are worth listening to. Christine will hear your story. She’s a great listener.
Christine is easy-going, friendly, empathetic, non-judgmental. She’s funny and real in a down to earth way. She loves working with pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults to help them move through those difficult life transitions where a person can feel lost.
With Christine’s guidance and encouragement you can take the first step to a happier, healthier life.
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