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Happiness Can Be a Choice in the College Prep Process

Your child is exploring colleges and this is an exciting and joyful time in your life!

Right, mom? 

Dad, how about you? 

Unfortunately, the steps that must take place when finding, visiting, and applying in the college prep process can be stressful, disheartening, and downright overwhelming to both parents and their students. 

Fortunately, there are resources available to draw upon and utilize in this process that will put each step into perspective and ease the burden for families.  College Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, shares specific ways that parents can look at the college prep process and celebrate this new chapter of their lives in her newest article. 

Read how to find more happy in the college prep process and remember, Knowledge is power and happiness is a choice!


It’s no secret the college process is stressful, complicated, and constantly changing but that doesn’t mean both parents and students are destined to be miserable. The key is learning about one’s own outlook on life in general. Then use this information as an advantage to find and maintain one’s happiness from college prep through graduation and beyond.

People usually see themselves as focused on the present or the future. Both know they can’t predict the time ahead so they deal with this fact of life differently. For those living in the moment, what is happening now is more important than what may occur later. They seek contentment immediately. Planners prefer another layer of protection from what may be. Their bliss is from being subsequently satisfactorily set.

Some of the most pressing problems from college prep are caused by finances, deadlines, student qualifications, and college requirements.

Families need a strategy to deal with each of these areas or they will be stuck in a constant state of anxiety, no matter if they emphasize the future or the present.

Let it go. There are many things parents and students can do about finances, deadlines, and student qualifications. However, they have no control over college requirements. Students can shore up their capabilities and parents can build up their capital resources but in the end, the college will decide whether or not to offer admission and if so, a financial aid award to help pay the college bill. Resolve at the outset to prevent heartbreak, maintain perspective, and let this worry go.

Finances are flexible. The economy is not steady. There are boom and bust times for the country as a whole, for particular industries, and for specific individuals. The job market influences salaries which affect lifestyle. Identify needs versus wants. Depend on the present by making smart financial decisions daily. Rely on the future by figuring out the impact college expenses including loans will have on buying and furnishing a house, paying for transportation, taking vacations, fine dining, or purchasing designer wear.

There is great joy in substituting good decision-making for second-guessing.

Deal with deadlines. Time management skills are the only way to prevent a deadline disaster. There are so many deadlines during college prep including registering and taking standardized tests and college-level exams. All applications for scholarships, financial aid, and college admission have different deadlines. Fitting in study time, extracurricular activities, family time, and downtime can be challenging. A long-range calendar updated daily and revised continually can bring smiles in knowing missions are being accomplished and progress is being made.

Upgrade student qualifications. The world is not a static place. Things are always changing so why not make this personal? Concentrate on moving forward by enhancing skills and adding abilities. Small steps daily can turn into ensuing big leaps that catch an admission officer’s and employer’s eye. That should please both present-day and future followers.

Happiness Can Be a Choice in the College Prep Process

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