Last week I promised to create a 12 month plan for my ezine that will support you during the 12+ months* it (generally) takes to move from thinking about going to college to deciding which one will be “the” one for you.  Yea!

I developed the acronym, GRAD, alerting you to the steps in the college search and selection process, and reminding you that you can do this!  It is manageable.

These four areas are the steps on the path to choosing the college environments that are the best fit for you.  Ideally, at this point in your academic life (spring of your junior year) you would be on your second step, Research.  It’s too hard to start the process without a context, so I’m going to start with a big picture overview of all the pieces and then start digging deep with the important questions which will lead to the actions that will propel you through your search.  I’ll write the next issue of my newsletter, College Bound & Determined next week… you can sign up for it here.

* You can do your search A LOT faster if you like!  I worked with one student starting the fall of his senior year.  He applied Early Decision-and was accepted!  It all depend on your style and your deadline 🙂


My heart aches for the students who committed suicide, their parents, and their friends.  These tragedies are one of the realities of life at college.  Colleges appear to be wonderful little worlds/microcosms separated from the “real world.”  In fact, savvy students don’t fall prey to the belief that life away from home, is life in a protected bubble.

Life on campus is often exciting, and challenging; it is also critical to realize that bad things happen on campuses too, whether the campus is in the middle of a city or out in rural America.  As you visit college campuses over the next half year ask questions/read/learn about safety statistics at each and every college.  It’s their obligation to share that information/crime statistics-and be certain to ask or learn about their services for students who experience difficulties during their years on campus.


  • be an ostrich about the dangers that exist on campus-alcohol and drug abuse, interpersonal violence such as dating violence and sexual violence


  • Ask questions about student services-you may never need them for yourself yet you may be able to support a friend

This is big, frightening stuff we’re talking about here… it’s really important.  Learn all you can to make yourself and others safe.

  • Be clear about your values, your strengths, your challenges, and your need for support when the going feels too difficult to do it on your own.  Reach out when you need help… There is no shame in seeking assistance.
  • Support friends in getting the care they need.  You don’t have to have solve their problems… You can help by knowing about the resources on campus and in the community.


How do you feel about planning?
Do you like, or are you better at, short or long term planning?

If you’re a junior in high school, now is the time to be starting your college search.  Do you know the pieces of the puzzle?  If not, read the posts here.  If you know the path yet don’t have a plan, then…

Here are the key questions
How do you plan?  What’s your style?
Identify which aspects of planning you do well and build on that foundation.
Maybe you…

  • are great at seeing the big picture, identifying goals, the steps to reach the goals, and developing a timeline
  • excel at getting all the steps completed after they have been mapped out
  • are deadline-oriented and always get the tasks done well and on time

Or, perhaps you are challenged by…

  • figuring out where to begin… Use November 15th as your deadline/”Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey
  • choosing a method to get organized… use a method you know and love-> mindmap/web, outline, diagram, chart
  • making the time in you daily or weekly schedule to get the smaller tasks done so that you achieve your desired results… get/use a calendar (paper or computer), make a chart and/or timeline

Knowing what makes the task of planning more fun, interesting, dare I say bearable, will also help you move forward.
Perhaps for you that means…

  • gathering all the tools you need to feel excited (for me, it’s all about colorful folders and markers)
  • doing the work with someone else for camaraderie
  • identifying who will be able to help you if you run into an obstacle (there’s a lot of information to be organized… maybe a friend is skilled at creating spreadsheets… and maybe you have a skill that will support your friend’s work)

Honestly, I am better at planning short term projects… one’s that take a week or two rather than those that may take months to complete.  I’m really a, “Can I see the results yet?” kind of person.  What about you?  learning about your style will help you succeed, building on your strengths to face your challenges.

My next long term, daunting project is to develop a timeline of newsletter topics for teens beginning their college search.  I commit to completing it in a week and having it ready to share with you next Tuesday!  I’ll be breaking out the flip chart paper and markers to make mindmapping fun and interesting.

Where are you in your planing process?


What do you see in your future?  What pictures develop in your mind’s eye as you think about yourself at college?

  • Where are you?
  • What are you doing?
  • Who is with you?

Create a multifaceted vision (or a vision board) of environments that interest, excite, and support your needs, wants, and desires.

Do you believe-in your heart-that you will find colleges that are a true fit for how you are and who you will become?
Do you remember, there are over 4,400 colleges in the United States, ranging from 85 to over 55,000 students?
Get clear on what you want and need and you will find plenty that are a match for you!

How will you attain your goals of finding the colleges that are the best fit for you and have fun during (most of) the process?
You attain goals all the time-from school work to fun projects… Your college search is one BIG project!
Use you project managing skills to develop a plan, timeline and strategy.

And, if you need help with planning… I’ll suggest some tools in my next post!

* Check it out!  www.PowerOf10event.com I’ll be there… It will be awesome!


In our last session in this series, we talked about the “big picture” and the nitty gritty details of planning your college search, and personally important questions.  The recording highlights where the girls are in their process.  We focused on:

  • learning more about the steps in the process
  • financing college and scholarships (blog posts on 2.25 & 26. 09, here)
  • how to listen effectively to people’s opinions and yet make your own decisions
  • realizing that colleges are seeking commitment and passion in you/your extracurriculars (it’s the quality of your engagement not the quantity)
  • creating a plan and a timeline for the process.

Listen in on the call here, and see if your questions are getting answered.  If not, post a comment and I’ll write back!


What a great chat!  We devoted our time to discussing some key themes-and tensions that play out during the college search process… once we got past that little contribution from the dog!

  • your growth and change
  • maintaining close relationships with your family and becoming more independent
  • using both your head and your heart to sift through the information you hear and learn to reach decisions that work for you

You can listen here

Being in the college search means being a detective

and finding out the “scoop.”

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