Student Life

Do’s and Don’ts: Conversations with High School Seniors During the Holidays

By November 24, 2014 No Comments


It’s a large family gathering and every aunt, great-uncle, cousin and grandparent asks the dreaded question.

“How are college applications going?”

Relatives are well-intentioned and often just want to make conversation. However, to a high school senior in the midst of the process, these questions can be stress-inducing as well as annoying. Applying to college is a very personal process and students may feel uncomfortable talking about it.

Students have heard the question many times before. In fact, they’ve probably already come up with canned responses to avoid bringing up sensitive subjects.They don’t want to be compared to other students, be judged for their college choices or discuss their anxieties about how things will turn out.

So this holiday season, do high school students a favor and keep college apps off the list of conversation topics.

Some Do’s and Don’ts

Do ask about their extracurriculars or hobbies.

Don’t ask if they have gotten accepted anywhere yet.

Do ask what they think about (insert favorite sports team here).

Don’t ask where their friends have gotten in.

Do ask what they’re looking forward to about senior year.

Don’t ask about their upcoming deadlines.

Do ask them if they have any plans for spring break/ the summer.

Don’t ask them about their ACT/SAT scores.

Do let them lead the conversation.

Don’t mention the plans of other high school seniors you know.

During the holiday season, students are in the thick of their college applications. It may be inevitable that college comes up in conversation. The important thing is to be sensitive to their situation and try not to drudge up any bad feelings or make them uncomfortable. Help students enjoy the time they’re spending with friends and family by letting them forget, just for a short time, about their responsibilities.