4 Approaches to Manage College Acceptance Anxiety

Anxiety at the Mailbox

It’s that time of year when colleges and universities are sending out acceptance letters. As a parent, you understand that some colleges and athletic programs may be out of your student’s reach. You understand that some programs even enjoy rejecting student-athletes because it makes their selection process lucrative. Therefore, you are feeling the anxiety that comes with knowing that your child might very well experience rejection soon. You hope for a thick envelope instead of a thin one. You want to reach out and protect your child from this potential disappointment.

Instead, take your cue from the great coaches who teach valuable life lessons through sports. Take this opportunity to teach your child that success doesn’t come easily, that competition is an opportunity to display resilience and grit, and that even failure is an invitation to grow.

For instance, Mitch Albom stated in his March 8, 2020 column in the Detroit Free Press:

“A little rejection is actually healthy… and you will survive. And maybe do better as a result. Which means a college rejection may be the first push in your life that didn’t come sugarcoated by your parents. See what you can do with it.”

Coaches and athletic departments demand more than just a talented athlete or a superb student. They also want a student who can persevere when they are up against adversity.

Meanwhile, here are 4 values that will bring things back into perspective:

  • Remain flexible and embrace change. You can’t control the uncontrollable, so be prepared to expect the unexpected.
  • Few things come easy in life. It takes many years to become an overnight success, so keep at it.
  • Attitude is everything. Be positive. Set high expectations. Replace negative thinking with optimism.
  • View obstacles as opportunities. When barriers get in your way, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Instead, find a way around them, or better yet, through them.

Playing athletics at a high level requires determination. There is no easy way around it. But the sooner it is acknowledged that even the losses that come along with competition will help you in everything you do, the sooner you will be prepared to compete in the game of life.