Member View: Ditch the College Admission Stress


The college search and application process can be a stressful time for families and students. But there are ways to manage this stress and anxiety.

Sherri Geller, co-director of college counseling at Gann Academy (MA), recently shared her stress management tips with JewishBoston.

One of her top tips? Meeting with your college counselor.

Geller recommended having at least three meetings during a student’s junior year, so the counselor can get to really know the student. Counselors know the process and have details about colleges and universities that a student wouldn’t. Use them as a resource, she stressed.

She also encouraged students to think beyond specific schools when starting the college search process. “Think in buckets,” she said. The buckets can be geographical, school size, etc., and they can help to narrow down the pool.

If a student is denied admittance to a school, it’s ok for families to be upset and disappointed. But, she said, make sure you are disappointed for them, not at them.

“Grieve,” Geller said. Then it’s “move on to Plan B.”

She also wants families and students to remember that admission decisions aren’t an indictment of the student.

“Many colleges have institutional priorities that aren’t public. Let’s say a school that wants to be 50-50 female/male was 60/40 last year. This year, if you’re a male, it will help you a lot,” she said. “Others have priorities around SAT scores. Others need an oboe player for the orchestra.”

Read Geller’s full list of tips and check out NACAC’s resources for coping with anxiety in the admission process.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s senior communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at

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