You Don’t Get to College By Osmosis : Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed


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

  1. Meet with your counselor. Go over your transcripts. Make a plan for graduation. Make a plan for college.
  2. Start taking more challenging classes (IB, Honors, AP). Push yourself. Enroll in dual enrollment. Take some classes at a community college.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Look for scholarships! Look for scholarships! Look for scholarships!
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. Learn study strategies. Create study groups in high school. Stay after school for help. Use social media for something other than kickin’ it.
  10. Make SMART Goals for the personal, social, academic and health areas of your life:
    1. Specific
    2. Measurable
    3. Attainable
    4. Realistic/Relevant
    5. Timely/Tangible

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.





3 thoughts on “You Don’t Get to College By Osmosis : Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

  1. This was such a great resource list. Each of these tips are so important. I was on a panel at a local high school a couple of weeks ago and mentioned the FAFSA, and found that some students, and parents did not know what it meant.

    As a first generation student myself, I too was not familiar with it, but after having had mentors who shared tips with me like the ones you have in this post, I was glad to be able to share information with the students and parents that night about the FAFSA, and yes, it is so important to make sure those taxes are completed on time.

    I wrote an open letter to parents that is intended for use after their students have arrived in college over at my blog N.A.H. sharing things that I’ve found students may want to share, but may not always feel as if they can do so:

    Liked by 1 person

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