It’s October, and that means that it’s time to get organized so that you can accomplish all that’s a part of the college search AND enjoy your junior year!
It’s way too easy to get caught up in the details (test prep, testing, reviewing college websites and brochures, doing research, visiting campuses), feel overwhelmed, and begin to despair. I’d like to suggest that you take a deep breath and think of the big picture…
With the gorgeous fall weather today, I think about the look and feel of campuses. When you close your eyes and imagine… What type of campus comes to mind? Do you prefer
> traditional, ivy covered buildings or more modern architecture
> a compact campus in a city or one that’s big and sprawling in the countryside?
> a campus busy, teeming with students, or moving at a slower pace?
What feels right to you? Or, is all this talk about environment irrelevant to you?
When I went on my solo roadtrip to check out colleges throughout New England, I saw four different schools in the same number of days. By the time I got to the last school I walked from the parking lot to the admissions office, did my interview, got back in my beloved, secondhand car and headed for home. By the time I got home I decided that I wanted to apply Early Decision to the last school I visited. I gave them a call that afternoon to check that I still had time to do so. I did, and the rest is (happy) history. I have to tell you that the look and feel of the campus were not really important to me… though for some students it makes all the difference…
Figuring out what matter most to you is the key here… Take some time this weekend to get clear on who you are: your strengths, needs, challenges, and wants. As you become clear on who you are and what you want, it becomes easier to sift and sort through the wealth of information available about colleges. Know yourself first and the search becomes simpler!
Is environment important to you?
I spent three days last week in sunny southern California at a meeting in a beautiful setting. Just by being there, I was reminded of how important where I am is to how I feel, and the work I am able to accomplish.
What about you? Are you the same way, or is setting of less import to you? This is a great question to ponder as you begin your college search. I believe that a campus should be, and feel, both comfortable and challenging-academically, personally, and socially. What do you think? Getting clear about the answers to these questions-really what matters most to you and what supports you in doing your best work and having a great time-will serve you throughout your college search adventure.
And, check out my newest ebook, The 4 Questions You Must Ask Before you Begin Your College Search! It’s here, www.majorinyou.com/ebook, just download and get started. Let me know what you think about the workbook and if I can help!
How does your teen envision her future? What are his hopes and dreams? How will your teen become an independent, responsible adult?
What do you think about your teen and college, do they seem like a natural match? From your perspective, is it a foregone conclusion that he will go, are there some questions to be considered, or is the topic barely on your family’s radar screen? What is your teen’s thinking on the topic, what does she feel about the subject? Have you had that conversation in depth and over time? It’s never to late (or too early) to have those exploratory conversations.
What the purpose of going to college? Is a college degree necessary? Desireable? Those questions seems almost forgotten in our fast-paced lives… though it’s critically important for you and your teen to talk through and answer.
I believe that the continuing education and environment that college can provide enables teens to transition into becoming young adults even more capable of taking advantage of all life has to offer. College poses opportunities to become even more responsible for all the aspects of their lives: to make decisions about who they want to be, to solve problems of both an academic and interpersonal/social/emotional nature, and to learn to engage with others on a variety of levels-to cooperate, negotiate and resolve conflict, in ways that will serve them for the remainder of their lives.
Can teens develop the same knowledge, skills and attitudes outside of a college setting? Absolutely! Though perhaps college, or a technical school or an apprenticeship provides a more supportive, structured approach to their development. Certainly, there are entry level positions that offer opportunities for mentorship and growth.
These are the questions that lead to the conversations we need to have with teens early in their high school years. By helping our teens explore the possibilities, learn what school systems and the world outside school have to offer (art classes, sports, study abroad, internships, apprenticeships and more) we encourage them to make informed decisions about their futures… whether that includes college in the US, looking for universities or academic programs abroad, making time to enter the world of work before going to college, working and attending college, going to a technical school or beginning an apprenticeship, there are so many choices…
I believe that as parents we owe it to our teens to show the breadth of possibilities so that they can take the reins of the decision-making process and step into adulthood. What do you think? What questions do you have about the transition your teen, you and your family are experiencing? Feel free to contact me.
So really! What do you think?
What does going to college really mean to you?
What is the thinking about college life in your family?
How does society view going to college?
As a junior, you’re probably hearing a lot of talk about college, because now is the time to start making the major decisions about your future after high school… How “big” are your conversations with your family members, guidance counselors, and friends? Do they start with questions about the future and the variety of options available to you? Or, do the people talking around you, and with you, begin with the assumption that college is right for everyone, or at least everyone in the conversation?
Before heading too far down the path on assumptions about college life and what it does and doesn’t have to offer… Have you tried your best to answer these questions:
- What types of work do you envision in your future? What are you passionate about, what interests you?
- Does that field/Do those areas require a college degree? Are there vocational/technical/career training schools that would prepare you for those fields?
- Is an apprenticeship available that might provide exactly the hands-on experience required for such work?
- Have you considered studying abroad for college/university?
- What do you believe a college experience (education and environment) will do for you?
- What expectations do you have of college?
- Do you and your parents have the same hopes and dreams about your future? Have you had long and deep conversations that address your vision of your future?
Make the time now to think through, discuss and think through (again!) the conversations and answers to these questions, and more questions that are important to you… It’s the only place to begin! I can help if you like… Contact me if you want to start a conversation to get clear about what college means to you and your future.
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.”
When I ask a group of teens the question, “What do you have yet to learn about finding the colleges that are the right fit for you?” there are a variety of answers… depending on the teens in the conversation.
Specifically, I have answered questions as varied as:
- What’s the difference between a college and a university?
- How do I handle a bad grade? A bad semester?
- It’s good to be involved in 6 or 7 extracurriculars, right?
- What if I don’t know/haven’t decided about my major?
- What’s the difference between early decision and early action?
- Why isn’t summertime a good time to visit colleges?
- What are schools looking for in students?
- Should I do an interview? When should I do the interview?
- What types of financial aid are available?
- Should I wait until after I am accepted at schools to visit them?
- What if I don’t like my roommate?
- What if I don’t like the school once I get there?
These are great questions because they are important to the teens I meet–and getting answers will lead to feeling more confident, which I believe, makes the process feel easier. Answers to some of these questions were discussed in the previous post, though what’s most important is…
- What are your questions?
- How are you going to find the answers?
- What resources are available to you?
Guidance counselors, family, friends, books, websites, coaches, and the colleges /admissions offices too! Tell me your questions! I’d be happy to email or talk about your concerns, so that you can approach your college search with a sense of adventure!
I love this saying! How true, right? I know that I approach tasks I like much more readily than those that feel difficult or boring. What about you?
How do you feel about searching for colleges that are a match for who you are, and what you want and need? Does it feel fun and exciting? Big and scary? Overwhelming and tedious? Maybe all those things?
How can looking for colleges that are matches for you be fun? By tapping into what you already do well. Here’s a question: What are your strengths? What do you do really well? I love helping teens get in touch with their strengths and then identifying how they can use them to make EVERYTHING easier… and more fun!
Take the next few minutes to think and then make a list of at least five of your strengths. If that feels hard to do, go here, www.authentichappiness.com and take the Brief Strengths Test. It’s free, takes about 20 minutes, and will give you great information-about yourself!
Now reflect on your strengths and how they show up in your life… here are just a few examples of strengths:
- Are you curious about the world and open to new experiences?
- Do you have great perspective? Do others seek you out to help them solve problems and gain another view of themselves?
- Do you persevere, finishing what you start, being flexible, realistic, and not perfectionistic?
- Are you kind and generous to others?
- Are you a leader, organizing activities and maintaining good relations among group members?
- Do you demonstrate self control, holding your desires, needs and impulses in check when appropriate?
How can you use these strengths to have more fun during your college search?
- are curious, use that trait to become a super sleuth, figuring out who you are, what the colleges are about and how you will create a match (more on that in the next post!)
- have perspective, maybe you want to approach your search as a problem solving exercise
- persevere, then you will be in great shape to mange the big and little pieces of the project
- are kind, then perhaps others will repay your kindness by working with you and answering questions
- are a leader, then your organizational and people skills will help you manage the pieces of the puzzle, the “paperfun,” and the people you will meet during this months long journey
- are a wizard at self control then you will manage yourself in the process, working when necessary, helping yourself feel more in control of the big picture and the niggling details, and stepping away from the search to take a break!
You may want to make a quick mindmap, web, collage of your strengths (mmmm, that must be your strength in creativity!) and keep it with your college search materials… to give you the lift you need when the task starts to feel too big.
I bet you’ll have more fun if you’re using your strengths to meet your challenges!
I wanted to share this information about my series for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors at the JCC Rockland. It’s an interactive, four session program for students ready to learn about, and to begin, the college search and selection process. Every session we discuss new topics…
What is Involved in a College Search?
Tuesday, Jan 26 6:30-7:30 pm
Students begin by discovering what they know and what they have yet to learn about the college search, gaining confidence and clarity through the pre-planned exercises.
How to Make a Great Impression with Your Application & Interview
Tuesday, Feb 9 6:30-7:30 pm
Students will use a survey to identify their strengths and challenges, and then apply that knowledge to writing the application. We will also cover strategies for the interview process.
What are Colleges Looking For?
Tuesday, Feb 23 6:30-7:30 pm
What are the college admission personnel thinking about the pool of applicants? During this session students will gain a clear picture of what the colleges are looking for and how to put your best foot forward.
What Will the First Year Look Like?
Tuesday, March 9 6:30-7:30 pm
This session focuses on making the decisions about which colleges are the right fit and imagining life at college the first year; talking through what is new and exciting, and addressing potential challenges and fears.
It starts in less than 2 weeks!
Check out the full description and pricing here, Choosing the College That’s Right for You!