Preparing Teens for Life After High School

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Preparing for college is a stressful experience for everyone involved. Applications, campus visits, financial aid, handling rejection—the list is long and can be a lot for a teen to try and navigate. The stress can pile on very quickly without notice and may be hard for both teens and parents to handle.

But the excitement of college shouldn’t be overcast by an impact on student mental health. So how can caretakers and students alike focus on the positives of the experience while balancing new challenges?

Audience Questions

Ethan Solomon, MEd, and Jena Mazzetti, MEd, offer advice to counter the stressors of preparing for college, share ways to be supportive of students without being overbearing, and answer questions about how young adults and their families can enjoy the experiences that lay ahead.

  • Can you tell us more about what the Arlington School is, the students who attend, and the challenges these students typically face?
  • What leads families to seek out an alternative school setting for their children?
  • What are the biggest challenges that young people face when transitioning from high school to their next academic environment or the workplace?
  • How do you bring families into the conversations around planning for the future?
  • Any suggestions for parents around checking in with their kids about how they are feeling without coming off as nosy or a nuisance?
  • Do you encourage parents and educators to continue to use positive reinforcement even if it is met with resistance from a young person?
  • Would you recommend a student graduating from a therapeutic school go away to college and live on campus or instead attend as a day student and commute from home for the first few years?
  • Should a parent reach out and develop a relationship with a college’s mental health services themselves, or is this the responsibility of the student?
  • What advice do you have when a student faces barriers in accessing counseling or career services?
  • How do you approach a challenging conversation with parents about their child’s wellness?
  • Would you speak about the anxiety that young people experience regarding the transition out of high school?
  • How do colleges view students who are graduating from a therapeutic school? How do they view letters of recommendation from these types of schools?
  • If a student is ineligible for an IEP, do you have any advice for parents as to how they can support them?
  • What can teachers do to help set their students up for success?
  • Do you generally recommend that your students start at a local community college before attending a four-year college?
  • Are there any resources you recommend related to executive functioning?
  • How can students identify whether community college or a four-year college is a better pathway for them?
  • What accommodation services are available at colleges, and how can students and families effectively engage with these services?
  • How can we better support students with ADHD in the classroom?
  • How can a parent effectively work with a teacher or school administrator regarding a concern relating to their child?
  • What are some ways we can help teenagers understand the importance of getting enough sleep and eating healthy, especially as it relates to functioning optimally at school?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


About Ethan Solomon

Ethan Solomon, MEd, has worked as a teacher and special education administrator at various schools on the campus of McLean Hospital for over 10 years.

Mr. Solomon is currently an educational administrator at the Arlington School, a therapeutic day school for students with social, emotional, and academic challenges. He serves as a school liaison with families, school districts, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

About Jena Mazzetti

Jena Mazzetti, MEd, is the transition specialist at the Arlington School at McLean Hospital. She has a master’s degree in school counseling and has been working in education in a therapeutic high school setting for over fifteen years.

At the Arlington School, Ms. Mazzetti also leads SCOR, the Student Community OutReach club, and enjoys volunteering with the Arlington School students in the local towns and communities.

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