I post a version of this every year because the language we use impacts our emotions as well as our actions.
While I've always believed that, the idea really resonated with me a few years ago. A teacher in my Spinning continuing education course said, "Never tell students to raise their 'tension! Say 'Turn up your resistance' instead." We all laughed and got her message. Why would I want to add tension to someone's workout when they were already increasing the workload to their heart, lungs, legs, and minds? We accept the challenge of working against resistance, while we avoid tension whenever possible.
Last year, I noticed that many of my students informed me about college decisions with the words, "I was rejected from ________." This distressed me because that term has never been the language used in higher education. Admissions officers typically say that "a student was denied." "Rejection" gives a blow to the ego that is not even precise, and here's why:
When a student is not offered admission or deferred, especially to a competitive college, it's generally not because they did not qualify, but because too many qualified students applied. Therefore, denials and deferrals should never be taken personally (provided the student had the profile the college seeks) because they are simply part of college enrollment strategies.
Let’s not use “rejected!” And let's remember that "high school" is two words (my pet peeve in this year's essays).
In this stranger than strange year with its own unique brand of stress, the stress of waiting to hear from colleges is only exacerbated for our seniors. Please be mindful of conversations you have with your smaller gatherings or at a Zoom Thanksgiving. I post this on my Less College Stress Consulting Facebook page each year. It's great advice.
As I congratulate my students who contact me with news of acceptances, I share their happiness (even if the college is not a top choice). Then I think of those still waiting for news (they of course will get acceptances too, albeit later than usual for most EA applicants). Parents: Thanksgiving can be a tough time for seniors. Tell relatives and friends to lay off the interrogation and just be thankful for the pleasures of spending time with the kids in person or virtually. De-stress the College Process℠ and Happy Thanksgiving!
Belonging to four professional organizations carries benefits I am always glad to extend to my students and families. Want to talk to a current student at a college that isn’t offering tours at the moment? No problem--even if I haven’t had a student attend that school in 6 or 7 years, someone in my network has and will happily contact that student to let them know you’ll be in touch. Parents: want to connect with a parent of a student? Done. Is there a new accelerated Master’s program I haven’t heard about yet? The consultant who knows early will share that information with our network and I will make note of it in the “Notes” for that particular college.
Lately, there have been several consultants in search of professional tutors to help students with coursework that’s more challenging than ever with virtual and hybrid courses. The responses have been amazing! I am collecting lists of physics, chemistry, foreign language, APUSH, and writing mechanics tutors to share with you. Like the professional tutors I recommend for standardized test prep, these are teachers or professionally-trained adults with years of experience, as opposed to young adults who work as tutors because they did well on standardized tests. Tried and true teaching skills are the priority and the key.
These recommendations come from consultants all over the US and internationally. One current silver lining is that it doesn’t matter where the tutors are physically located. Please be in touch if you would like any referrals.
Pamela Kwartler, Certified Educational Planner