Ho, Ho, Ho: Handling the Holidays in High School

Two Guilford College students enjoy iced drinks at Rachel’s Rose Cottage, the on-campus coffee shop.

The holidays are coming! Ready or not, December will be here soon, and you’ll likely be spending time with family, friends, and colleagues for holiday gatherings and year-end celebrations. Catching up with others will likely include lots of comments along the lines of  … “Where did you apply?” … “Where are you looking?” … “Did you get in anywhere yet?” … “You’re applying where?!” This can make it a very challenging time for senior students and their parents. Here are some tips on how to make the holidays less stressful.

Students: Own your search. Your list is yours—not your uncle’s or cousin’s or next-door neighbor’s. Be proud of your list. Politely let them know you’re doing your search your way, that you have been really thoughtful in the process, and that you are excited about all the possibilities in front of you. Then, redirect their focus by asking them about their college experience or first job. If all else fails, ask about the weather. ; )

(If you’re not even a senior and people are asking these questions too early, try saying, “I am having a great time in high school and it’s a little early to talk about what I’ll do after graduation.”)

Parents/Guardians. When family or colleagues ask about your student’s search or “the list,” be positive and excited about all the schools on the list. Don’t refer to some as the “safety” or “back-up” options; instead call them all “great choices” or “excellent options.” And, if a school is perhaps less familiar to someone you’re speaking with, tell them three interesting things about the school. Sharing information like this supports your student, supports your family’s thoughtful list-building, and spreads the word about a college that may someday be your child’s home away from home.

Cheers to a safe and sane holiday season!