This past Friday morning at the Leaders Connect Breakfast our focus was on transitioning from high school to college. We had a great turn out with many high school counselors, teachers, and administrators along with high school students eager to hear from our panel which included a recent college graduate, two high school student authors, and two psychologists. Click here to view the video or watch a short clip here.
Some of the key takeaways from the morning included:
- Lauryn says that as a high school student, you need to explore your interests and options. Ask for opportunities to job shadow and talk to people about their profession and the college they attended.
- Along with that, seek opportunities to intern or work in your field of interest while in high school. As long as you are in the environment, it will be a great learning experience with opportunities to grow. For example, Lauryn and Ali started out as interns with Dr. Rob by scanning papers to make research and class materials available electronically. Within weeks, they were working on a project to write “iAware: Becoming Self Aware and College Bound”.
- Be realistic about your college options. Two constants that you cannot change by application time is your GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Ali suggests you apply to two “stretch” colleges, two “fit” colleges, and two “safety” schools.
- Keep in mind that there only about 50 colleges in the country that are highly selective in their admissions process and there are many other colleges that are seeking more applicants. There is also scholarship and other financial assistance available.
- Karin tells us to take risks. You can learn a lot about yourself by not succeeding. She also advises parents to be supportive, not only during the college search process, but also during their first year of college. Students often think they are the only ones who are struggling. They need to hear from parents that is okay to struggle or even fail.
- Parents can take opportunities to talk about their own emotions and how to deal with them. Sylvia says that after a certain age, parents stop narrating to their children as a teaching method, and rarely do they talk about how they cope with their own emotions.
- Dr Rob points out that parents can learn from reading his new book, “iAware: Becoming Self Aware and College Bound”. Even though it is written to the high school audience, parents can gain insight on what their child may be experiencing while also putting into perspective that it is ultimately the student’s decision. Some parents get too focused on ensuring their children get accepted at a top tier college without considering the wants, needs, or capabilities of their student.
- No matter where you go to college, it’s all about what you make of it. Peter chose to stay close to home but lived on campus. He experienced a whole new dimension of the city he grew up in. He would encourage college bound students to consider ways to get involved in campus life as it is just as important as the education they receive. Peter reminds us to remember that our life has started no matter what age or stage we are. Don’t get so wrapped up in planning the next step that you forget to truly experience the here and now.
- For those considering taking a gap year or other non-traditional college options, Sylvia advises to stay active in your search for what drives you. If you take a gap year and sit at home feeling bad about yourself, it is not a good plan. Likewise, if you go to college and spend your first year isolated and feeling bad, it is not a good plan. The years after you graduate high school are a prime time to grow, explore, and learn about yourself.
- Self-Awareness is not a one and done. It is a continual process that changes and evolves as you grow and have new experiences.
Dr Rob and Lauryn were also interviewed by Anu Prakash of Channel 7 WXYZ on Sunday. Click here for the article. Check back on WXYZ’s website for the video which aired Sunday at 6 p.m. on Channel 7 and 10 p.m. on Channel 20.
If you know a high school student who is going through the college planning process, feel free to pass this along, show them how to order a copy of “iAware: Becoming Self Aware and College Bound“, or have them reach out to me with questions. I would be happy to connect them with anyone on the panel for further insight.
Other college planning resources include:
Michelle Machiele: College Application Coach
Solving the College Admissions Puzzle: A Guide for Students and Families About College Selection, Essay Writing, and High-Stakes Testing by Debbie Merion, John Boshoven and Geri Markel can be purchased here
For College Admissions Advisers from this book click here
Essay Coaching by Debbie Merion