Avenues To Higher Education

Standing on Common Ground

By Gwen Part on February 15, 2017

Family Eating Brunch

I was reading through some articles I have saved about the millennial generation and college advising and reflecting on some themes that weave through many of them. Innovation. Entrepreneurship. Success.

One theme that is not often examined as it relates to the college application process is stress. The college application and selection process can be an exhilarating time, but it is also the source of anxiety for many families. Students are realizing, often for the first time, that the decisions they make now have the ability to have a longterm impact on their futures. Parents are experiencing many emotions as their children think about colleges. Some are feeling nostalgic about their own experiences. Other parents worry about deadlines, visits, grades and futures.

Don’t let the feelings of stress overtake this exciting process!

1. Do legwork. When I was applying to colleges many years ago, I made the mistake that many students today make of not considering the “right fit” or the coursework required for my intended major. I ended up as a freshman at a university that was a bad fit for me. My math and science classes were held in lecture halls with 700 other students. I finished my first year unhappy and on academic probation. It took me a little time to reassess, but I eventually transferred. I graduated having completed valuable internships, happy and with a degree in Sociology.

When looking at colleges, don’t just consider GPA and test scores. Consider many different factors – school size, class size, resources, geographical location, weather, proximity to/away from home, diversity of student body, student life (greek life, athletics, service organizations, student activities), local reputation, national reputation, etc. All of these factors will play a larger role in a student’s happiness and ultimate success. When you are thinking about your future career or major, consider the courses that you will be required to take in order to earn your degree. If you have always been interested in nursing, but hate science courses, there may be other options to consider.

2. Don’t get mired in the details. Let me help you manage the college application process. I am knowledgeable regarding college visits, deadlines for college applications and financial aid and scholarships and can provide you with a one-stop shop for tracking everything in one place. Utilize tracking software or other resources.

3. Find common ground. It is not unusual for there to be tension between students and parents when preparing to apply to colleges. At the end of the day, what I like to remind both students and parents is that there is common ground. Ultimately, parents and students are both interested in the success of the student. Sometimes we have to stop and focus on the final common goal before we break down the steps to getting there.

Below is a link to a post from Dustin McKissen regarding his daughter’s career choice. What are your thoughts on his points?

My Daughter Wants to Be a Sociologist, and Not a Coder. I Think it’s a Great Idea.