The majority of my career has been focused on getting middle/high school students and their families prepared for college. I love the passion, brilliance, resiliency and fun that my students bring to my life. However, for every student who is on the track to post-secondary education excellence, there are several other students who don’t have a plan. I have 2 favorite saying that I tell my students and their families:
- “You don’t get to college by osmosis”.
- If you don’t have a plan for your life someone else will have one for you and you may not be too happy with it”.
You must have a plan for EVERY goal you want to accomplish. Pursuing post-secondary education is no different. I have seen far too many families wait until the last minute to ask for help with the college-going process. Yes, it is a process. And that process does not start in the 11th or 12th grade it actually starts in elementary/middle school.
Far too many people will spend a gabillion (I love this word) dollars on prom, senior trips, and graduation but not invest too much into the college-going process.
So here are just a few tips to help you get out of your feelings and get into college. My only goal is to add choice and voice to your life:
*These tips are for parents and students
- Meet with your counselor. Go over your transcripts. Make a plan for graduation. Make a plan for college.
- Start taking more challenging classes (IB, Honors, AP). Push yourself. Enroll in dual enrollment. Take some classes at a community college.
- Visit The College Board website and set up an account. Search for colleges. Go on a college tour. Do a virtual college tour online. Participate in a pre-college or summer program on a college campus.
- Find a mentor. Do community service. Hold a leadership position in an organization. Start your own organization. Talk to current college students in your family, community, church, etc.
- Start working on essay questions. Get familiar with the Khan Academy website for SAT prep. Get familiar with the ACT website for ACT prep. Prepare. Take both. Do well.
- Look for scholarships! Look for scholarships! Look for scholarships!
- Get familiar with the FAFSA. Complete the FAFSA Forecaster to see a forecast of how much money you may get from the government. PARENTS complete your taxes on time! If you have not filed in years, complete them!
- Ask for test fee waivers, application fee waivers or any other waiver. Especially if you receive free/reduced lunch or have a financial hardship. Closed mouths don’t get fed.
- Learn study strategies. Create study groups in high school. Stay after school for help. Use social media for something other than kickin’ it.
- Make SMART Goals for the personal, social, academic and health areas of your life:
So there you have it folks. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But I want our children to WIN in a major way. And one thing I know for sure is that winners PLAN the Work then WORK the PLAN.