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College Application Anxiety? GRA’s Dean of Academics, Guidance, and College Placement Melissa Nipper Offers Some Advice

College Application Anxiety? GRA’s Dean of Academics, Guidance, and College Placement Melissa Nipper Offers Some Advice

No Need to Stress- It's Only The Rest of Their Lives.

Melissa Nipper, GRA’s Dean of Academics, Guidance, and College Placement hosted a session at the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) annual conference this past Friday with this topic in mind. She offered advice about helping students and parents through the college application process, with the goal of reducing stress and anxiety. Mrs. Nipper offers the following advice when going through the college application process:

“I feel that the biggest piece of advice I can provide to families during the college application process is that they need to enjoy this process. This is the biggest milestone these seniors are reaching at this point in their lives. It is important for them to take it seriously, yet enjoy the process, and not allow stress and anxiety to ruin this journey for the student and the family.

Also, open communication is key to this process- start talking college options, finances, and any other aspects of the search process early...but not too early! I suggest winter of the junior year is an appropriate time to begin these conversations. Finally, allow the student take the lead- it is after all the student going to college. This is a HUGE transition for families. It can be very easy or even tempting for parents to take over the process, but it is essential for the students to take the lead.

My favorite moment is when a student receives an acceptance letter. At GRA, the faculty and staff love seeing our boys realize that they met this goal - that college is a reality for them now, especially for those who may have doubted themselves early on in their high school years. The whole process is extremely rewarding. Working with the kids and their families on this next great adventure in their lives and and helping them truly see all the possibilities that the future holds for them is the part of the process that I find priceless!

One of the main reasons I present at conferences is because I love meeting and talking with other counselors. We’re able to share ideas and collaborate on how we can all work better for our students and parents. It truly is a constant learning experience, so connecting with others only helps to make us all better at what we do.”


If you have any questions about the college search and application process, please reach out to Melissa Nipper at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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