Helping a Grandchild Overcome A College Setback
College acceptance letters can be an exciting time for high school seniors and a realization of a goal achieved. Although hard work and perseverance pay off for many, some students will receive college rejection letters. This can be a difficult time for both the student and the parent – and for grandparents, who want to comfort but may be uncertain how to do so. Darby Fox, Child and Adolescent Family Therapist, shares essential tips that can help.
- Validate the Situation
There is no denying that rejection hurts; don’t minimize the situation. Allow the child to be upset and experience the loss before moving forward.
- Look at The Facts
Rejection notices are given for a variety of reasons. However, a college rejection will stir up feelings of inadequacies. To help a child overcome feeling as if weren’t good enough, show them the school’s admission statistics. This helps the student better understand that the decision wasn’t personal, even though it likely feels that way.
- Look at the Big Picture
Help the student re-evaluate how important is it to attend that specific institution. Chances are it won’t really make a difference in their long-term goals and they will ultimately be just as happy at an alternative school.
“To help with this step make a list of schools where your child has received acceptance letters,” says Darby. “For each of those schools make a list of pros and cons. Make sure to look at the actual academic offerings of the schools – core requirements, possible majors, and special programs. Chances are the student didn’t pay much attention to this initially, if focused on a different school.”
- Explore the Options
Once the available choices are clearly laid out, make it a point to visit each school, even if the student has made a visit earlier. If possible, they should go while the school is in session and wander around the surrounding community to get a better feel for the school’s environment.
“Once all the information is gathered the best decision maker is the student’s gut,” says Darby. “Let go of all the external voices and tell them to go with where they want and feel they belong. In the end, the environment that will help the student excel is the one that promotes a sense of belonging.”