Every year a number of parents usher their bright students into a preliminary meeting with me to explore the possibility of getting help with college planning. Typically, I can gauge the level of student buy-in for the process before a word is spoken.
The first five minutes of the meeting will determine whether I speak mostly with the parents or the student. Either way, I attempt to gather specific information that will prove very important in determining how well we work together, if at all. Along with that specific information I seek comes a wide variety of additional information. Some of it is enlightening and will enhance what is most sought after, while some of it will be taken down in my notes and filed away for future reference. Should we all decide that the plan and the personalities mesh well together, the student becomes my client.
Having been a teacher in what seems like a previous life, I developed a curriculum to follow that allows me to keep the client on track and get the needed work completed that will produce an impressive application file. The client is asked to complete only one task each month that should take between five and 25 minutes. While most clients complete the tasks before the end of the month, there are a few students each year that behave as if they were asked to read an entire set of encyclopedias. If, by the third week of the month an assignment is not complete, I ask for help from the parents. Sometime that is still not enough.
Those who successfully evade completion of multiple tasks are likely proud of themselves until work begins on that first application. Only then do they begin to see the error of their ways. The application for them can turn into a great deal of high stress work. Usually, we can still gain access to the colleges at the top of their list, (key word “usually”) but the application process becomes an unpleasant experience instead of something exciting and enjoyable.
If you are considering help with preparing for and applying to college, make sure that everyone involved is on board with the idea. Once that decision is made, use the help you paid for and listen to the professional you hired. Everyone will have a pleasant experience and likely be satisfied with the outcome if you do.