You did it — and your teen did it, too.

You both survived the stress of the college application process, and your teen has an acceptance letter (or several) in hand. Yet when the time comes for choosing a school, they can’t seem to muster up much excitement about college. So what can you, as a parent, do?

It’s a challenging situation, but these experts offer advice to help you navigate your child’s ambivalence. 

Listen Unconditionally

It may not be easy or comfortable — for either of you — but start with an open and honest discussion with your teen. Your initial goal should be singular: Hear what they have to say. “The most important thing is to really listen to your child,” says Julie Stonberg, a family therapist at Westchester Family Counseling. “What are their concerns and fears? What are their hopes and dreams? What are they worried about? Where do they see themselves in five years? Ten?” As they talk, do everything you can to avoid sharing your concerns and just take in what they’re telling you.

Discuss All Options Equally

If college has been the plan all along, your first instinct may be to argue its merits, but part of listening is withholding judgment, at least temporarily. “Your teen is probably eager for guidance, but if you reject any path except college, they won’t feel as though they can look to you for advice,” says R.J. Vickers, the author of College Can Wait! Instead of focusing on the benefits of higher education, ask your teen to walk you through each path they’re considering so you can give each equal consideration.

Fix What Can Be Fixed

You might find your teen’s reservations can be addressed with a change or two to their college plan. Are they suddenly unsure about their major? Is moving away getting all too real? Is something going on at home that makes leaving extra hard? Stonberg recalls a young woman whose mom had breast cancer and didn’t feel like she could go away to college, even when all her friends were. “She took some classes locally and babysat to earn money,” says Stonberg. “Now that her mom is healthy again, she is off to school.”

Present Freshman Year as a Tryout

“Sometimes what seems like ambivalence about college could be just anxiety about the process and about leaving home and/or a feeling of being completely overwhelmed,” says Stonberg. If after listening to your child you’re confident their reticence is a case of nerves, this might be the nudge they need. Ask them to consider committing to a year at college or attending a community college until they are ready to transfer to a four-year school. Most importantly, remind them that the decision is not final and that you will be there to help them along the way.

Consider a Gap Year

As a parent, a gap year can be a scary prospect, especially if college has always been the endgame. But the vast majority of students who take gap years return to school. In fact, Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson, authors of The Gap Year Advantage, surveyed 280 students who took time off and found 90 percent returned to school within a year. There’s even evidence that students who take gap years are more motivated than their peers, according to a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

“For teenagers who have no idea what they want to study, or if they even want to study at all, taking time off can be a crucial way to discover more about themselves,” says Vickers. It can also be a way to enhance their application for when they are ready for college. Vickers knew one student who “spent her gap year volunteering around the world” and when she reapplied to college, “she was accepted into an Ivy League school that previously rejected her.”

Ultimately, if your child has mixed feelings about college, it’s because they’re thinking about their future, and that’s a good thing. What that future looks like is up to them, but with a little guidance from you, they can be on the right path sooner rather than later.