This week on my radio show, College Bound & Determined, we talk about choosing a major as a way into the college search adventure.  I have a cautionary tale to tell…

I chose a college based on my desires to work with children with autism, (and therefore to major in psychology), and remain in the northeast.  I found a school that appeared to have just  what I wanted… and then discovered that psych was a good, but not a great, fit for me.  So I explored other options, discovered the field of education and immediately, I felt at home. My happy ending was a double-major, in both psych and education with the result of a solid foundation in my future field of special education.  I chose a school with lots of choices-and it’s fortunate I did!

I want to take this conversation one step further:  to recognize that being curious, open minded, flexible, and dedicated to a vision can lead to amazing results.

Check out the timeline of my life since college… It shows how many paths I have taken-professionally and personally, stemming from a double major, further education and, I might say, an adventurous spirit.  There is so much possibility!

Long and Winding Road
I’ll update this in June at the conclusion of some more amazing adventures!


Let’s dig deeper into the question of who will work on which tasks over the next year so that the journey to find the colleges that are the best fit becomes and remains an exciting adventure.

When you assess at all steps of the process…

What might you do together?

Brainstorm about areas of interest, strengths, essay topics
Imagine life at college-where, how large, what type of setting
Talk about finances
Visit colleges
Create a timeline and milestones
Practice interviews
Talk through final choices

What will you do alone?
Financial aid forms

What will your teen do independently?
Test prep and testing
Complete applications
Write essays
Do interviews
Secure letters of recommendation

Yikes!  I have just listed over a dozen areas that require planning, preparation, completion… and those are just the highlights!

Perhaps the first question is… Where do you, as a family, begin?  I think it’s by taking stock of

  • what you know
  • what you need to know/learn
  • what questions and concerns you have
  • your planning and completion skills

I hope that focusing on the first steps of the journey for the next year provides the foundation for starting the conversation with your teen.

* If you love to see things…Here’s a mindmap with ideas of “What to do When.”  It’s a draft (no need to tell you that!), I’ll post a clean copy in a few days… check back!12 month mindmap of the journey


It’s the winter of your teen’s junior year, and families who want to enjoy the college search and selection process-as opposed to experiencing it as an affliction-need to start now!

In less than 12 months your teen will have completed the college application process – hard to believe yet true! It can be done faster, but that’s often under pressure-and you and I know that’s not the best way to make decisions.

So where do you, as a family, begin this process?

As a parent you have a good deal of thinking to do about your role in this process…
How do you see your role?
How do you see your teen’s role?

√ What are you teen’s capabilities-currently?

  • Is she self reflective and aware of what she wants in a college?
  • Is he great at planning?
  • Is she good at research and then organizing info?
  • Is he dedicated to meeting deadlines?

√ What will s/he grow into in this process which includes self awareness, preparation, planning, research, writing, interviewing, testing, making choices?

These are important questions… and it may take some time to look differently at your teen-to think through what your teen can already manage and also what needs to be learned.

We’ll talk about all this and more in the next post… If you want some ideas before I post, listen into my radio show, College Bound & Determined on www.webtalkradio.net

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