'Tis the Season for Employees to Lose Sleep Over College Applications

College applications can bring stress to parents and teens.

It's that time of year again! A billion things to do. The worry it's never going to get done in time. The gnawing feeling something's going to be forgotten.

The Season for College Applications

Of course we're talking about college applications.

Yes folks, if you or your employees have high school seniors at home, the December 25 shopping deadline is nothing next to the day that's really a distraction: January 1, the date by which many schools close their college applications for the fall 2016 semester.

As a public service, and in the hopes of preserving your employees' sanity (and yes, productivity) our experts offer a few bits of hope for subjects that just might be keeping your people up at night. Feel free to pass on via company intranet, employee newsletter, or elsewhere.

What's On the Minds of Parents of High School Seniors?

Here are just a few of the possibilities:

How the Heck do I Advise My Late Starter on His Essay?

College Coach's Kara Courtois' advice starts with telling your child not be someone he's not. "The best topics are often something as simple as "being a klutz" or "a stargazer." And eat dinner! "Sitting down to have a conversation and stir up some old family stories is never a bad way to generate some ideas." Just as important - keep writing, and don't give up too soon.

Help! My Son Hasn't Sent Test Scores Yet!

"Even the most quickly submitted scores won't arrive in the hands of colleges until about a week after you have the scores in your hands," says College Coach's Ian Brooks Fisher. But take heart. Colleges know this. "There are many cases where the official scores arrive after the posted application deadline without any penalty to the student." That said, if your scores are already in, hit send.

My Daughter Hasn't Even Looked at that Activities Section of the Common App. Does it Matter?

Elyse Krantz says, Yes! And guess what? Elyse has 12 pointers to guide parents on helping students create a great activities section including varying your language and injecting some personality. "Admissions officers know what soccer' is," she says, "so why not describe the activity with a sense of humor?"

The Only Thing More Worrisome Than Getting Denied is Getting In. How the Heck Am I Going to Pay For It?!

Kathy Ruby reminds everyone that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will become available January 1, 2016 (the deadline for most colleges, she says, is in the neighborhood of February to March - check websites for specifics). Looking for scholarships? Lots of people have already been shopping for them, but she says there's still time to apply for scholarships since deadlines can stretch into February. Also important: if the financial-aid offer comes and you're not happy with the amount, Shannon Vasconcelos reminds people that you can actually negotiate for more.

Those are just a few pieces of advice. Remember, lots of students have last-minute-itis, so it's important for employees to know that problems can arise for those trying to get in just under the December 31 wire. So tell your people to leave a couple of extra days, take a deep breath, and remember: not all schools close on January 1, and many publications like this publish lists of schools with spaces even after all the generally accepted deadlines have passed.

Happy Holidays and remember - there are only about 20 days left 'til deadline. Good luck!

College Coach offers valuable, personalized assistance to employees of client companies based on the employees' individual circumstances. See why American Express calls College Coach one of their most valuable employee benefits.  

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.