How Applying To College Can Help Students Have A Successful Life
I am often asked the following question:
You work with many high school students. What are a few areas that you believe high school students can use some guidance with?
I’m so happy you asked!
Everyone is different but what I find quite often, concerns me and it should concern parents as well. These are areas that will help students not only gain admission to the college of their choice, but more importantly, to have a successful career and life.
Many students do not understand how to manage their schedule. This can be an obstacle when applying to college. There are many applications to complete and essays to write. This takes time, planning, and good overall organization.
I often have conversations with students about how they handle their time. They frequently look at me like a deer in the headlights. They really don’t manage it. Instead it manages them, and often not optimally. Students need to understand that although they can wait until the last minute to work on a project, their results will not be as good as if they organized their schedule. The student should use an electronic calendar like I-Cal or Microsoft Calendar to schedule not only when tasks are due but when they must start the project, with key deadlines along the way. They must prioritize their tasks, assigning the most time, early on, to those that will require more attention. This is a great habit to get into, not just for schoolwork and college applications, but for life.
Developing Relationships and Networking:
Most colleges require letters of recommendation (LOR) from teachers and guidance counselors. Many students do not understand how important it is to develop a nice working relationship with these people. They see teachers as “them” versus “us”. This is not a helpful mindset. Teachers and guidance counselors can be very helpful and it is a good idea for students to understand that they are an invaluable resource. If teachers get to know students, they are more likely to write a more effective LOR. They are also more likely to make recommendations for students that the student might not have known of otherwise.
In fact, students should learn how to network and to meet with adults. They should speak with their parents’ friends, for example, to learn more about their careers. Too often students take a backstage sort of role when meeting adults. Students should be proactive and they should start early in developing a list of people whom they find interesting and who can be helpful to them when they have questions. This is what networking is all about and it’s never too early to begin.
Parents can help their children to understand the above two important concepts and guide them accordingly. I urge parents of my students to do this and I have seen wonderful results.