Almost every time I have my initial conversation regarding the college-admissions pathway, the student, mother, or family have the same look in their eyes as a deer does standing by the side of the road. That look is one of confusion, fear, dread, and always, a lack of confidence in the journey ahead.
We raise our children to leave the nest, no question, but when this same child is now a young adult, searching for the next chapter in their young life, it is overwhelming for all involved. We all want our child's dream to come true; the dream of the perfect school in the perfect city with the perfect roommate. No one can promise that this will happen. NO ONE! What can happen is that someone can be there to guide your family and child on the right path, and that is Amazing Journey College Counseling.
In my own family, we had many college journeys. Additionally, I have over twenty years of experience at two of the top schools in this country: Northwestern University and Vanderbilt University, dealing with all aspects of university enrollment. This includes not only admissions, but also financial aid.
What happened in my own family? EVERYTHING!! Getting three sons to, and through, college was a daily adventure. My oldest son attended the University of Notre Dame, my middle son attended Creighton University, DePaul University, and the University of Montana, and my youngest son attended the University of Southern California and skipped his senior year in high school. Each of my sons had a very different journey than his brothers, and each had an awesome adventure.
Where does your family's journey begin? Well, at the beginning, of course, but what does that mean? Children should be educated about college from the beginning of their school years. Speaking of college when gathered as a family, sharing your own college stories, explaining why you cheer for a certain football or other sports team are all ways to bring college into the family conversation.
Beginning in sixth grade, I believe the conversation should become more robust, discussing the importance of good grades, study habits, and consequences of choices, good or bad. This should continue to be built on, increasing the scope and breadth of the conversation, each year as the child progresses through middle school. Since high-school courses and tracks are chosen based on middle-school performance and testing, it is critical to impress a young student with the enthusiasm and excitement for their future that we all have. I have twelve grandchildren, and I speak to their future all the time. The reality is, when students do not hear the importance of continuing education in their own homes, their success at school, and their own dream of going to college, may never materialize. Ask your student questions about college. Did you go to college? Do you feel a need for your child to attend college? Are there other viable options such as tech school in your area? These are all critical questions to discuss openly and honestly with your children.
How will you pay for college? There are numerous organizations that assist with finding scholarships and financing for college, but the conversation should be had first-hand with a college counselor. It is rare to find a consultant with both admissions and financial-aid expertise, and that is what sets Amazing Journey College Counseling apart from other options.
Here is the bottom line…. Have conversations weekly with your younger children, and if you have a middle-schooler, devote time to teaching good study habits in a dedicated place in your home. For high-schoolers, it is now time to get real! Freshman year is all about grades, sophomore year is about taking harder classes and making good grades, and junior year? Stay tuned for my next blog…. and remember this: