Let’s Reduce the Stress in Our Lives Right Now

Students play Ultimate on campus in front of Blithewood Manor, which is home to the Levy Economic Institute at Bard.

The world in and around college admissions is particularly challenging at this time of the year. High school seniors and their families are anxious about decisions. Juniors and their families are beginning to experience the rushing river of email and snail mail from college—not to mention the unsolicited flood of opinions about college choice that come from others now. Even sophomores and ninth graders (and their families) feel the stress.

Add to that stories about rising selectivity, higher costs, blatant scandals, not to mention the news about upcoming elections, political unrest around the world, the flu and the nCoV … I’ll stop here since this is only adding to the stress we all feel right now.

Let’s take steps to reduce some of that stress.

  1. Most schools accept most students who apply. Only 3.4% of colleges and universities are considered “very selective” because they admin 10% or fewer of their applicants. Let’s all agree to talk about the 96.6% that are more inclusive!
  2. Depending on how you count, there are approximately 3,000 traditional undergraduate degree-granting colleges and universities in the U.S. Very few people know much about many of them, beyond the headlines or word-of-mouth they’ve encountered. Let’s all commit to being curious, not critical about schools we don’t know today. Take the time to get to know more of them … soon enough they could be at the top of a student’s list!
  3. Let’s all recognize that college is only one of many important decisions that students will make in their lifetimes. Marriage, military service, living abroad, career changing, creating a family, etc. are all big decisions. Let’s keep college admissions in perspective.
  4. Stress and anxiety are not healthy. Let’s all make it a priority to make time to care for ourselves and each other. Take a walk. Read a book for pleasure. Take a nap. Pull out those old board games you’ve forgotten you have. Build something. Not because it can be listed on a college application, but because you might just have fun. Remember fun? : )