Scene: College Fair at William Paterson College, Wayne, NJ
Me/Alumni Representative for Clark University, standing at my table: Hi!
Parent: (Picking up a booklet and looking through it.) I would love to go back to college!
Me: So would I! That’s what I kept thinking, and saying, as my daughter went through her college search!
Parent: But I would do it completely differently this time.
Me: I’d do it EXACTLY the same way!
And I think that says it all! So many parents and young adults talk with me about their college search and selection process, and how they
- felt unprepared and overwhelmed
- didn’t really understand all the steps on the path to college
- would like to have really engaged in and enjoyed the process.
I know it can be different!
If you’re a teen, check out the resources that exist both in and out of school. If you’re a parent, support your teen by learning about the entire selection process. I have developed resources—for both teens and parents—based on years of working with teens and their families. Here’s my latest, www.majorinyou.com/e-book/
Mmmm, I’m of two minds about going to college fairs—and I say that knowing full well that I am going to a college fair tonight! I’ll be representing Clark University at William Paterson College, in Passaic County, NJ.
Reasons to skip the college fair
- already feeling overwhelmed with possibilities… these events, often with many (in some cases hundreds of) colleges present, may be stressful
- anxious about getting a school assignment done for tomorrow or later in the week… there will be other opportunities to learn information about colleges.
Reasons to go
- pick up materials and talk with representatives from the colleges that interest you
- look closely at the values represented by the print materials and the staff and/or alumni
- start to imagine life at college
Exploring the Colleges, Leaving a Great Impression, and Enjoying Yourself
1. Know what you want to achieve ~ What are you looking for, what do you need and want to learn about the different colleges?
2. Work out with your parent(s) in advance how you will enjoy the fair ~ Will you go on your own? With a parent(s)?
3. Speak for yourself ~ Introduce yourself, shake hands
4. Make a connection with the representative ~Have a conversation
5. Have your questions ready
Ask questions that indicate you want to learn about the school and students. Here are some ideas… My top ten questions.
- Did you go to (the college)?
- What did you major in?
- What made (the college) special for you?
- What is the college known for (for example, traditions, or the nature of student body, the political and social climate)?
- What are the emphases of the admissions process?
- What’s the typical class size?
- Do students talk with professors outside of class—beyond office hours?
- Do students talk about what they are learning outside of classes?
- Are any special services offered for support of all students (tutoring or a writing center)?
- What percentage of students graduate in 4 years?
What are your Top Ten Questions? Be sure to go prepared with your questions—and get them answered!
- Avoid questions that indicate that you haven’t done your homework about the college. Remember you might interview with these representatives at a later date, and you want to leave a good impression.
6 Request materials from the representative only if you are interested in that college. (Save a tree or two.)
7. Take notes after each conversation, as there are hundreds of schools at these events, and it’s easy to forget information or get confused afterward).
You can read even more on my post, We’re off to see the wizard…Going to College Fairs
I sat down to write… and words seemed too boring… so here are my thoughts in pictures and words.
In case you prefer words…
- How are you feeling?
- What your vision of where you want to be at college?
- Where are you on your path to finding the right college?
- What do you know about the college search?
- What do you have yet to learn? Where do you begin? Do you know the entire process—it’s more than completing paperwork…
- Who will help you with your search?
- What are your next steps?
Here are some resources for you
- A short video about starting your search for the best colleges for you
- A survey from my new ebook, Making the GRADE, to help you stay focused, Where are you in your search?
- And, check my Facebook page tomorrow for news about my ebook!
What do you think about that quote? I believe it!
Think about your college search for a moment…
- What do you see as the path and the steps?
- Who is influencing the scope of your vision? The guidance department, your parents, your friends?
- What are the implications of not discovering the entire landscape of the process?
I’ll tell you the consequences of a view with blinders… The potential to make a BIG mistake! When you don’t know the pieces to the puzzle it’s difficult to complete it with confidence. And, if you’re thinking that guidance counselors or college advisors have the time to share the scope of the college search and the many steps on the path-think again! In most schools those supporting you in your search are focused on the completion of paperwork—which is important yet secondary to understanding yourself and finding the colleges that are the right fit.
Make sure that you’re seeing all the steps on the path. My new ebook, Making the GRADE: Discovering the Colleges That Are the Right Fit for You! launches September 17th.
Watch my short video about what you need to know about how to best work with your guidance counselor/college advisor,
I hope you will let me know what you think!
Just read the tweet from Clark U. It’s the first day of classes! It brings me back… such great memories!
If you’re a high school senior—whether you’re back at school already or begin next week—there are three questions to answer today:
- Where are you in your college search?
- Do you know all the steps on the path—not just the paperwork that needs to be completed?
- What’s your plan, your timeline, and your next steps?
If you need help with answering any of these questions, contact me for me a free Strategy Session* here. I can help you make the college search faster and easier.
* My complementary Strategy Session helps you get crystal clear about where you are and where you need to go in your college search. We recognize what you have accomplished and uncover hidden challenges. You will leave the session energized and inspired to follow the path to the colleges that are the best fit for you.
Musings on Parenthood…
This morning I wrote to my daughter about how really wonderful it is that she is finding her way in the exciting, and yet messy, world of work. Then, I was struck by the thought that it was a “mom” kind of thing to say—and I believe that while there is some of that left in our relationship, we have more conversations as equals/peers/colleagues these days… and I reflected on the times that she has been respectful of the work/volunteering/learning that I do, and I felt content. We have reached a new place in our relationship…
It’s a countdown to the new school year! In some areas of the country, students are already back at school, and almost everyone begins in the next two weeks. Seniors are wondering about the college search… I’ve heard the questions:
- What are all the parts of this process?
- Where will I find the time to do…
- my school work
- think about, and maybe take more, standardized tests
- start and finish the applications-including writing the essays
- get my letters of recommendation
- visit colleges and do interviews
- … and have a social life?
- Who can I turn to for information and support?
Here’s a few tips and techniques for getting those tasks done-and making sure you have fun!
- Learn and truly understand all of the steps on this great adventure. Here’s a picture to help you see it all!
- Get clear on where you are on your journey. I have created a survey for teens in my new ebook, Making the GRADE: Discovering the Colleges That Are the RIght Fit for You! Take the survey and then create a plan for what’s got to get done! *
- Think about some cool concepts. I just read about them today in Yaro Starak’s blog
A Sprint is a term common in the development world were you focus on one core task or objective which you can complete in a short period of time. You essentially “sprint” to the outcome, disregarding everything else.
There is another term that goes hand-in-hand with the Sprint concept known as an “Epic“. An Epic is also an objective, but it’s too big to be done in a sprint time frame. It requires more time and resources to get it done, hence it is a more “epic” undertaking.” (Source: Yaro’s blog)
Your college search is epic (nothing like a play on words!), and there are many sprints along the way. I think they are awesome concepts… and they fit right in with my “college search as a marathon” theme.
What do you think?
I believe you need to know all the steps of this epic journey, and if you create sprints for yourself-work you can get done in a week (or some other short, definite timeframe)- you will feel more in control of the process. I’d love to hear how you’re doing-shoot me an email, email@example.com
The Subject: Your College Search
The Question: How are you feeling about where you are in the process of finding the colleges that are the right fit for you? Exactly how are you feeling RIGHT NOW?
As the summer comes to a close and you begin thinking about the upcoming school year…
- If you’re a junior you might be thinking ahead to getting that packet of information about colleges from your guidance counselor or college advisor.
- If you’re a senior, you are most likely thinking about when and how you are going to get your applications-with all the pieces to that puzzle, such as testing, writing/reviewing/revising/rewriting the essays, college visits, and interviews-done.
I’m guessing here, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if you were getting a little anxious, or beginning to feel stressed out… And, we haven’t even talked about what kinds of conversations you are having with you parents about managing the process, thinking about finances and scholarships, in addition to the importance of maintaining you grades during senior year.
Here are some ideas for you!
I was just reading an article in Prevention magazine and then went to the source, the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Apparently doing Kripalu Yoga (meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises, along with yoga poses) reduces anxiety. How cool is that!
So while your school might not offer yoga as a part of PE/gym classes-it’s something you could do on you own (think DVD’s from the library or shows on TV/the internet).
And one of my favorite resources is www.getsomeheadspace.com, which has a fre*e 10 day meditation program. Check it out!
Whether you are feeling some tension, distress or overwhelm about you college search now, or when it happens in the future, remember, you can find the resources you need to cope… whether you discover tools or you reach out to others.
Just finished an interview with Matt Nie of WBSD FM, in Burlington, Wisconsin. He asked great questions…
- What are some of the myths about the trying to find the colleges that are the best fit?
- Where do teens begin their college search?
- How can parents be helpful-and not take over the process?
- What can students expect from their guidance counselors?
- What are colleges really looking for in students?
We discussed all this and more, and you can hear it online, at www.wbsdfm.com at 6:30 am Central Time, this Sunday, August 5th.
If you are looking for answers sooner, then…
- visit my website
- listen to these free recordings
- Open Mind, Open Heart: How to Support Your Teen in the College Search, www.majorinyou.com/twosides-parents
- Your College Search: How to Tame Your Fears and Find the Colleges that Fit, www.majorinyou.comtwosides-teens
- visit itunes, search for College Bound & Determined, my radio show for parents, with great interviews and information for teens too!
- contact me for a fre*e strategy session (write to me, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- and, check out the my newest publication, Making the GRADE, at the launch price of $15.00, available at www.majorinyou.com/store, on August 3rd.
Buying a college education-because that’s what you are doing, purchasing what the college has to offer-is like buying clothes, a song on itunes, or a book on Amazon.com. You know great stores and designers, musicians and authors you love-over the years you have figured out what’s right for you.
Now, the question is, which colleges are right for you? It’s your job to discover which environments will provide you with the best education and social life… because if you don’t do your homework and find the right matches, the colleges will do that work for you by rejecting your application. That’s a scenario to be avoided for a few reasons: because it will upset you, and you will realize that your effort was a waste of time and money.
Going to college is not about making a vanity choice. It’s a huge investment, and the colleges you choose need to be places where you feel both comfortable and challenged. Maybe your list of colleges will include an Ivy or a Big 10 school or maybe schools that are not on everyone’s lips… I’d suggest looking at a wide variety of possibilities. It is your work to uncover the answer because it’s your future.
Information you need to know in today’s NY Times, Full Disclosure for Student Borrowers