Destressing During the College Admissions Process

Bond with your graduate-to-be during this critical time.

by Kathy Reilly

Going through the college admissions process with your teenager has got to rank up there as one of life’s most stressful time periods with your child. Taking breaks, laughing together and generally keeping a broader perspective will make the process less stressful for the months ahead. Tips from experts abound on how to make sure the process remains a positive and productive one. CollegeVine, one of our newest partners, has a top-tier team of admissions experts ready to help demystify the process, set some milestones and help you and your family to the right outcome.

Whether you’re just starting the process with a high school junior or approaching the finish line with a senior, here at Reserved Living & Giving, with some assistance from our carefully vetted partners, we have some ideas and tips for the months ahead as you navigate toward the final decision. Time together in a variety of formats and away from the omnipresent college discussion can provide some stress relief, fun and bonding for the parents, the graduate to-be and the whole family during this critical time.

Top priorities during the months ahead are to stay healthy, manage stress and keep your energy up. Regular exercise, meditation and open communication for all involved will be the keys to ensuring that you and your teenager are both in top form throughout the admissions process.

Regular pampering, relaxation and opportunities to recharge are all critical. Hikes, yoga, guided meditation and other forms of mindfulness will help all be more centered. Mother/daughter spa afternoons where the only things on the agenda are bonding and downtime sound like a great mid-admissions process break. Red Door has great packages to help you—check out all of their offerings to find the treatment options that will help you restore.

Of course, when it comes to college admissions, it becomes a family affair. There is no doubt that this process impacts the whole family, even if there are members who are not directly involved. To ensure that the “college quest” does not become all-consuming for everyone, it is a good idea for scheduled activities that take the focus off the uncertainty and potential anxiety and focus on the known, the fun and the positive.

For a great diversion, create a series of family nights where the only topics on the agenda are which favorite movie to watch together and what tasty treats should accompany it. From Mouth, we have an array of artisanal goodies designed to please the palate of everyone in the family (including some artisanal liquors for the adults in the room) and, from Dean & DeLuca, a few specially designed movie night packages that have everyone’s favorite treats in one giant basket.

Going out together is also a great option for parent time or for the whole family. For great family nights out, indulge in some culture and entertainment. Visits to museums, tickets for local or Broadway shows, seats together cheering on the home team—any activities that bring together shared passions and memorable evenings will be a great diversion from admissions talk. If you need some assistance finding exactly the right thing, dedicated experts from CAA can help you find exactly the right option for your party size, date and budget.

Family dinners are a good excuse to head out to a local favorite restaurant for fun and conversation (only thing not on the menu—more college talk!). Your family will be sure to have their top choices. One of our favorites at Reserved is our partner The Capital Grille. With 56 locations around the US, it’s always a reliable option for a delicious meal close to home or near the college location you are visiting.

One of the more challenging parts of college admissions is the journey to go see all of the campuses on your teenager’s wish list. Expenses can mount quickly as cross-country visits rack up the car, air and hotel time. One of our newest partners has great options to help you select hotels within budget. Hotel Engine provides access for Reserved members to a wide range of hotels across the country from budget options all the way up to luxury ones, all at rates guaranteed to be among the lowest available.

One of the great ways to relieve stress and gain some perspective on the world at large is through travel. For one of your last spring breaks together as a family (before the lure of a college spring break beckons), consider a family vacation outside of the usual routine. A few of our partners offer trips that will delight the whole family, including Backroads which offers full-service biking trips to a wide variety of fabulous destinations both domestically and internationally. Villas of Distinction offers an alternative to hotel-style accommodations and enables you to keep the whole family together with ultimate privacy and a whole range of activities and experiences to choose from. Villas are also a great way to include all generations in your travel plans.

And, finally, when all is said and done, don’t forget to celebrate. Once the final letters come and a decision is made, take advantage of the last few months of family time. From weekend road trips to some of our favorite destinations (like The Cloisters in Sea Island, Georgia), this will be time that you will treasure.

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