PART 3: Five Ways to Stay Grounded During the College Process


It’s been a little more than a month since my last newsletter and blog post, but I feel like this topic is appropriate for this time of year….


Experience JOY.


Seems fitting, doesn’t it? The third way to stay grounded in the college process is to experience joy! By the way, if you missed part 1 and 2 on staying grounded through the college process, you can read the blog posts here.


There are so many questions with not-so-clear answers in this process.

  • Should you send scores or not send scores?

  • Apply early decision, early action, or regular decision?

  • When will you hear back about your application?

  • Which colleges superscore the ACT? What does superscore even mean?

  • What universities are test-optional?

Does any of this sound like fun to you? Simply put, what we give our attention to will grow. So, if we focus on the overwhelming feeling that these questions create, we will only feel more overwhelmed, right? But what if we choose to focus on the joy in the process of planning for college? What if we focus on the joy of a student finding their college “fit”? What if we focus on the joy of watching campus videos on YouTube? (There are some beautiful campuses to see virtually. Quite a few videos have been uploaded to YouTube in the last year and a half!)


I love this quote I’ve come across multiple times:


In every moment of life, there are infinite reasons to suffer and infinite reasons to be happy. What matters is where we’re putting our attention. What we focus on, grows.

This is exactly what I’m talking about! We can’t obsess about the outcome of this process. We need to pay attention to the process and be intentional about our actions. Remember: It’s your choice. Calm or Chaos? This is the same message I share with students.


If applying to college is impacting your student’s quality of life, remind them that there is more to life than the college search process. If they don’t get into their top school, it doesn’t mean they’re a failure. Quality of life should not suffer to apply to college.


If you are seeing this process steal the joy from your student, take a pause. Take a breath. Find something to celebrate! There is ALWAYS something to celebrate! If your student has finished their essay draft, celebrate! If they created their application account, celebrate! It doesn’t matter how big or small, find something to celebrate!


So, as the year winds down, I am reminded of the joy I experience working with each of you. Especially during these challenging pandemic times, I am grateful and practicing being present with my family. It is my hope that during this holiday season that you, too, are able to find time to find JOY with loved ones and experience a similar feeling of gratitude. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and look forward to an exciting (and joy-filled) 2022!


Coming next month, Manage Chaos.





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