As the deadline for college application due dates quickly approaches, many high school seniors find themselves experiencing heightened levels of anxiety. Parents might notice their senior seems slightly more moody or distracted as they focus on their college applications and wait patiently (or not) for acceptance or rejection from their desired colleges.
Senior year for many high schoolers can be a season where anxiety which was previously manageable can be triggered and start to impact teens and their families, often in new and overwhelming ways.
10 Signs that your high school senior’s anxiety is becoming a problem
- Do you notice that your teen is worried about their college applications… a lot? Do they talk about them constantly or have a difficult time focusing on anything else?
- Are they experiencing physical stress symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches or tiredness even though they are getting enough sleep?
- Have they started to make a lot of self-deprecating statements about themselves or constantly compare themselves and their admission process to peers and older siblings?
- Have you noticed a change in their sleeping habits? Are they sleeping excessively and expressing exhaustion or having a difficult time failing asleep?
- Has your teen stopped following their college admission plan and started to check and recheck their applications constantly even after they have been told by advisers and teachers that their application essays are excellent and references completed and sent?
- Have you noticed that your senior has started to isolate from peers or avoids interacting with family?
- Are they more irritable or crying more than they have in the past?
- Have they come home drunk or high a few times from parties after never coming home drunk or high from a party before?
- Did you notice that they have started to constantly look for verbal reassurance from you and when you provide reassurance act like they still desperately need help?
- Is your parent “Spidey Sense” telling you that the admission process is wearing on your high school senior in a way that you are worried about?
How to help with Application Anxiety if it is overwhelming your teenager
- Talk to your senior about their fears, feelings and expectations of themselves. Often teens can develop distorted beliefs regarding what getting in or not getting into to specific collages mean about them and their value or intelligence. Provide them with reassurance and reassure yourself that entrance into one specific school or type of school does not define your teen’s value or future.
- Make sure you understand the admission process so that you can help your child organize and manage the application and acceptance process.
- Consider having your teenager go to counseling to learn how to manage their anxiety and explore their view of themselves or fears regarding coping which is intensifying their anxiety.
Many of your children are about to leave home in the next year and will be living away from friends and family for the first time. What better college preparation then giving them the opportunity to learn anxiety management skills, develop a better understanding of themselves and give them a stronger base of emotional strength to launch into their college years from.