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El Paso therapist offers tips for high school seniors navigating college admissions process

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EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Many high school seniors have only days left to decide where they will attend college or university in the fall. The admissions process has changed during the pandemic.

As more teens struggle with mental health concerns during the pandemic, rejection letters might also carry a heavier weight. A new national poll found roughly half of parents noticed a new or worsening mental health condition in their teen since the pandemic began. About a quarter also reported their teens were experiencing sleep issues.

For some selective colleges this year, the application cycle was even more competitive during the pandemic. New York University reported a 20% increase in undergraduate admissions this year. Harvard saw an increase of more than 42%.

Rejection letters can add anxiety and stress to high school seniors already struggling with an abnormal school year. A clinical therapist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso advises parents to pay extra attention to their teens during this time. She recommends families plan more activities together, such as walks, game nights and movie nights.

She recommends high school seniors try to shift their perspective and find some positive in the rejection.

"A lot of students, even so they see it as a failure, it's something that is more of a motivation for them to get better, to try better and to see how they can improve and get better maybe next year or with a different college," Hanna Garza said.

"Instead of seeing this as a failure, maybe see it as a step up for them to try different approaches and try different techniques to help them get into college or look into different colleges and see what they can do," she added.

While some selective schools saw more applications, other colleges observed the opposite effect. Applications have also dropped for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Those applications have dropped by more than 6% through April 9, according to the National College Attainment Network.

El Paso / News

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

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