Kids aren't the only ones who feel judged during the college admissions process. A lot of parents understandably worry that their student's admissions success or failure will somehow be a reflection on their parenting, that if the dream college says, "No," it will be a sign that you just didn't do as good of a job as the other parents at the dinner party who won't stop talking about their kids' awards, SAT scores and total number of community service hours completed.
When you feel that college application anxiety start to come on, ask yourself two questions:
1. Have you raised a good kid (even if your teen occasionally tries your patience like even the best teens do)?
2. Have you done your best as a parent (even if you've occasionally made mistakes like even the best parents do)?
If you can answer "Yes" to those two questions, really, how much more can any parent reasonably be expected to do?
A parent can't control which colleges accept or deny your student. All you can do is make sure you keep answering "Yes" to those prior two questions. Instead of letting yourself feel judged, be proud of your efforts to raise a good kid and be a good parent. And remember that our entire system of education (and our society) would have collapsed long ago if the only way to become happy and successful in life were to attend one of about 40 prestigious colleges who reject almost everybody who applies.
Good kids with supportive parents will be fine no matter where they go to college.