Reducing Anxiety: Why a 5.0 GPA, 36 ACT, and 2400 SAT mean little without a sense of self

The latest research in positive psychology and education is demonstrating that there are a number of ways that educators can lower the pressure placed on students in the college admissions process, while simultaneously improving their students' competitive positions when applying to highly selective colleges.  

Jason Gregory (Dean of Students at Sonoma Academy), and Nick Standlea (President of Test Prep Gurus and former Research Associate at the Quality of Life Research Center) discuss how growth mindset, learned optimism, mindfulness, selective attention, and grit can not only increase students' enjoyment of school, but also push them to develop a stronger sense of self.  

This increased interpersonal knowledge acts as a catalyst to identify right-fit colleges, give meaning to the test prep process, and to craft college applications that stand out from the pack with a clear point of view and an authentic voice.  

This discussion is accompanied by a series of innovative exercises and tools for pre-talk and post-talk advisory-student workshops that focus on:

  • helping students to articulate a sense of self, personal goals, and a definition of success.

  • lowering student anxiety about standardized test scores and the college admissions process.

  • developing growth mindset, learned optimism, mindfulness, and grit --  skills that last a lifetime.

The exercises culminate in a project that challenges students to articulate a "coherent personal narrative" in 1-3 images.  The final product then serves as a platform from which to craft stronger college applications and essays that break the generic mold and more effectively communicate who a student is and what they have to offer to the communities of their right-fit colleges.

 What College Counselors are Saying:

"I wanted to let you know how extraordinarily helpful your session was for me!  My favorite session at the 3-day conference!"

"I thought your workshop was hands-down one of the highlights of my first NACAC conference experience...research-based, digestible, accessible...thank you for giving us some amazing tools!"

"This session was incredibly insightful and a breath of fresh air. I know I am not the only one who felt this way because during and after the session I heard things like, 'This was the best session here,' 'They need this at every ACAC,' and 'I am totally going to do this stuff with my students.' It was exactly what every session should be: simple and easy to digest, practical applications we can apply in our jobs, and full of energy and audience participation."


Jason and Nick are currently delivering this talk at high schools across California.  

To Book this Talk at Your High School:

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