Tag Archives: college search

College Visits: Ten Mistakes to Avoid


As a college-bound teen or parent, you have likely been dreaming of visiting colleges for a long time and are excited about getting that first-hand feel for the college atmosphere. It is a big decision, many times made with emotional gut responses – that needs to based on purpose.

The college choice is secondary, purpose is first.
If you are up against a time clock and need to get on the road, you’ll want to jump into our ten mistakes to avoid listed below. You’ll also want to do some up front strategic thinking to articulate a purpose for attending college so the final college choice is the best for your long-term goals. Here are the strategic questions that must be addressed before you take those first steps on college campuses.

  1. What is your purpose for attending college?
  2. What are your career goals?
  3. What are the educational requirements for the career you want to pursue?
  4. What employers and industries will be your primary targets once you graduate?
  5. What educational achievements do employers in your career path value most?
  6. Will you need an internship as part of your college experience?
  7. Which college or university should I visit?

Colleges and universities will show off their best stuff (see Mistake #8). Before you invest in a visit, be sure you know some facts and figures about the university. We recommend a great resource called College Navigator as a “must use” information repository. Whether you have already made up your mind or need to narrow your list of choices, this site has extremely important information you won’t find available on campus. For example, would you want to visit a college that has a first-year retention rate of 50% or a four-year average graduation rate of 40%?

College Visit Facts and Figures

For many students and parents, the strategic questions seem so difficult that they are bypassed by the rationalization “we’ll figure it out later”. Even some education scholars have suggested high school students aren’t capable of finding valid answers to those questions until perhaps their sophomore year of college. Yet, these same academic scholars expect students to make the decision to choose a college or university.

From a career planning and coaching perspective, the questions above are exactly what should be focused on in high school. The answers will evolve and student confidence in those answers becomes stronger with an intentional approach to the research process. AND, you’ll have a much more positive and fruitful college visit experience. Most if not all high schools as well as colleges and universities don’t offer effective guidance and support to answer these critical questions. The Career Coaching for Students™  program provides a proven and effective method for answering these questions in a manner that empowers the student and eliminates the fog.

Before you plan the college visit road trip…
Learn from those that came before you.

As you plan your college visits, consider the following ten mistakes many students and their parents have made. To get the most out of your college visits, avoid making the same ones.

Mistake #1 – Not registering with the admissions office either before or during your time on campus

If you don’t check in at the admissions offices, colleges have no way of knowing that you were on campus. Visiting a college and letting them know you were there can strengthen your chances of admission, because it shows you did your due diligence–commonly referred to as your demonstrated interest.

Visiting a college and letting them know you were there can strengthen your chances of admission, because it shows you did your due diligence–commonly referred to as your demonstrated interest.

The more you can connect with a college by attending an information session, taking a walking tour, emailing or interacting with admission officers on social media or attending events in your local area, it will seem to the college and the admissions officers that you’ve done your research. They can be fairly confident that you will accept and enroll if offered admission to that school. Even if you are doing a self-guided tour, make sure the admissions offices know you’re on campus.

Mistake #2 – Not researching or making pre-arrival plans prior to visiting

Whether it is knowing where to park or setting up a appointment to meet with a current student in your major, a professor or advisor or admissions counselor while on campus, it’s important to do your college visit research before you travel.

For instance: Parking can be difficult at many colleges and universities and parking tickets can be costly (based on personal experience of this author). Knowing where to park (and to not park!) will save you both time and trouble.

Although you might be able strike up a conversation with a student or two while on campus, and we do recommend that, there is a good chance that you won’t be able to spend extensive time with a student or professor unless you have planned the meet-up in advance. There are opportunities to meet students, the dean of the specific college at the university you are interested in and professors and advisors in the college, you just need to reach out and get commitments and contact information before arriving on campus.

For the more introverted student, this is an opportunity to “pretend” to be an outgoing and people-oriented person. You’ll be rewarded greatly for going outside your comfort zone. Think of it this way, you aren’t expected to know anything. If fact, high school students who don’t ask questions or present a false presentation of being all knowing are rated much lower by those you meet – and yes some of those you meet will be making notes and passing judgement to the admissions staff. There will be a file built about you.

Mistake #3 – Not having complete contact and meet-up information for your time on campus

Having each day planned out with times, meeting places, maps and all contact information will make your trip run so much smoother. Even with detailed, daily itineraries at their fingertips, we have heard that some students have forgotten to go to appointments (wow!) – not a great first impression. Imagine how much more difficult it will be to navigate an activity-filled day without a planner with this information readily accessible. [By the way, the Career Coaching for Students guidebook is a 3-ring binder that transforms into a college visit organizer.]

Here’s an example: If you’re stuck in traffic, a meeting has run long or you’re lost on campus, having contact information at your fingertips will make it easier for you to let someone know you’re still on your way.

Hotel can’t find your reservation or you arrive late at night? From personal experience, our hotel reservation had been changed inadvertently by the web-based booking agent and we didn’t know it until arriving at the hotel counter. It worked out in the end but it added a level of stress to an otherwise exciting journey. Having your confirmed booking information on your daily itinerary will make it easy for you to retrieve your reservation. We had ours.

Mistake #4 – Don’t be “that parent”

You expect your teen to be respectful and cordial when on campus, so don’t be that parent that other students and parents will talk about after the tour. Remember, this is the teen’s time to explore. It is your student who needs to ask most of the questions, to get the feel of the campus and the college community. As a parent, try your best to fade into the background while also enjoying the experience with your teen. Chances are, if they’re like most teenagers, they won’t feel at ease asking questions if you’re right beside them or overpowering them. It’s ok to ask questions but don’t be the lead, DO follow. Be helpful but not overpowering. Many deans and professors will actually ask the parents to sit in the waiting area so they can meet with the student one-on-one. We applaud this tactic. Parents, if they don’t take this proactive step, bow out and let your student meet without you.

collegecampusfallMistake #5 – Not taking time to explore the campus on your own

Be sure to allow time to look around at all aspects of the college. Let your teen wander around on their own if they want. Visit areas you might not have seen on the campus tour. Ask the tour guide what they recommend. For example, is s/he interested in the performing arts? Find out how to visit the facilities on campus. How about the fine arts? Would it be possible for someone to show them around the studio? The library? The intramural athletics facilities? Taking the time to explore is well worth the time and effort. As subjective as it is, taking a little extra time will help your teen determine whether or not the college is a good fit for their personality and short and long term goals.

Mistake #6 – Don’t miss the opportunity for your teen to spend an overnight on campus

Some colleges offer an overnight program. Staying overnight can be an ideal second visit strategy. If this is available and something your teen would like to do, check with the admissions offices – as far in advance as possible – to find out if they offer the opportunity and if so, when these arrangements are available, their particular policies, and when to register – the spots do fill up quickly! This is one of the most valuable experiences that your student can have during the college search process; many students miss this opportunity either because they don’t know about it or because they plan too late.

If your teen does arrange an overnight, make sure you both have secondary contact information in case a problem arises; and have a talk with your son or daughter about their responsibilities when on campus. We’ve heard some stories of visiting students heading off in their own direction and not communicating with their host as to where they are. You and your teen should discuss in advance what they hope to get out of their overnight experience and understand that they are guests of the college.

Mistake 7 – Not asking relevant questions

Whether visiting as part of a group or with parents, students should be prepared with questions. Your teen should do some research before they arrive on campus so the questions they ask are those that through their research they have not found answers to – this will allow them to benefit the most from the time they have with tour guides and admissions staff. Some teens hesitate to ask questions because they are shy or afraid they may sound foolish. Others hesitate because they do not want to annoy the others in the group by holding up the tour. Neither fear is warranted.

Neither fear is warranted.

In fact there’s no better time to ask questions than during a campus visit. If your teen has questions in mind, they should ask them. Refer to our other article, College Tours: Questions to Ask on a College Visit – And Who to Ask for a starter list of great questions. It will help them make informed decisions.

When it comes to asking questions, the student conducting the tour is a great warm up opportunity. Also ask admissions staff, teaching and laboratory staff and even current students you meet throughout the day.

Mistake #8 – Getting impressed by the bells and whistles

Campus visits are a great opportunity for colleges to sell their services to eager students and parents. While most colleges and universities do deliver on their promises, they tend to highlight their best side while downplaying some of their shortcomings. The landscaping along the driveway will probably be immaculate and you are likely to hear about the number of volumes in the library, the new sporting or theater facility or hi-tech classrooms. Don’t be immediately swayed. Look around and ask questions.
During your campus visit, it is important to stay focused on what matters most to your teen. But you can also pay attention to the things that will make a difference to you as a parent. For instance, if you know your son or daughter is interested in studying in the STEM fields, check out the labs and the research facilities – don’t get caught up in the hype about the rock wall.

Mistake #9 – Not making the effort to gather ‘insider’ information

To find out how things really work, spend some time getting insider information from those who have nothing to gain — current students. Sitting down and having coffee or lunch with a current student will provide valuable insight into the things that really matter to your student. Before the day of your campus visit, find students through Facebook or other social media that attend and make a list of questions to ask students. You’ll find juniors, seniors and recent graduates are likely also on LinkedIn.

Questions your student might ask are:

  • “What do you like most about the college?”
  • “Why did you choose this college?”
  • “What’s it like to live in this college dorm?”
  • “What does your typical weekend look like?”
  • “Might you tell me what don’t you like about the college?”
  • “Do you find the professors, administrators and staff helpful/supportive?”
  • “Can I text you if I have additional questions?” (ask for their phone number)

Mistake #10 – Discounting the importance of the surrounding area

Ignoring the surrounding area is a mistake that could impact your teen’s whole college experience. Each community surrounding a college is completely unique. Let’s say you live in a rural area and your teen is visiting a college in a big city with very little campus area or the campus is spread out in a patch work manner. If you have time, hop on a bus or subway that may be the primary transportation that your teen will use often. Find out where the dorms will be – will it be too noisy? Are they within walking or biking distance to most classes.

If your teen comes from a bigger city with a lot going on, how will it feel to be in a more suburban or rural campus? How easy is it to get to the grocery store or Target? Does the school provide transportation or do they contract with the public transportation system of the city?

Surroundings do matter. Your teen will be spending four to five (?) years in college and it is important to not be in the wrong setting. Spend some time discovering the restaurants, cultural centers, museums and other facilities that the neighborhood offers and ask your teen if this is a place where they would be happy to call home.

A campus visit can give you and your teen great information. Information that will help them make the right college choice.

College Visit Checklist by Career Coaching for Students

College Board campus-visit-checklist

Career Coaching for Students College Visit PROs and CONs Worksheet

Tap here for other articles that may be of interest on our blog.

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5 Reasons Parents Should Invest In Career Coaching for High School Students

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What to do after you receive the college acceptance letter


Receiving an acceptance letter from a college is an important moment not just for the applicant, but their family as well. Jeffrey Brenzel, ex-Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Yale University says many families have no idea what to do when the acceptance comes in. Getting an acceptance, though joyous, can also leave you a little bewildered on what you should do next. An intentional decision-making process will ensure your happiness and success.

Here is an optimal step-by-step approach to what you should do after receiving the acceptance letter.

1. Wait for letters from other colleges

If you have applied to more than one college, it is best to wait and see if you get a response from a college you prefer over the current one. Colleges start sending out letters by mid-March and for most colleges, the National Candidates Reply Date is in May. However, make sure you go through the documents and check the stated deadline.

2. Compare costs

If you have received an acceptance letter from multiple colleges, conduct a cost comparison. Do not look at just the tuition fees, but take into consideration other expenses such as cost of food, cost of living in the city, transportation, hostel fees, cost of books and any other expenses you might incur. Do a comparative analysis and discuss it with your family. Take into account the loan amount you plan to take.

Subtract any confirmed grant or scholarship money and be sure you are able to meet the net expenses comfortably. Ask yourself, “Can I afford the cost or do I need to pick up a part-time job? If I have to work, can I juggle my studies and the job, without compromising my grades?”. Keep in mind, if you perform very well in your freshman year, you may be eligible for a scholarship for your sophomore, junior or senior years, but don’t be dependent on that happening.

3. Re-visit the campus

Hopefully you have already visited the campuses where you’ve applied. Make sure you re-visit your top two choices. These days students apply to multiple colleges, and therefore, it becomes difficult for admission officers to assess how interested the applicant actually is. If you visit the campus and show your interest, this acts as an important factor for your candidature.

As per a survey conducted by The National Association for College Admission Counseling in 2015, a very important factor for freshmen were a student’s demonstrated interest. According to the survey, this is what the admission officers look for:

“The top factors in the admission decision for the Fall 2015 admission cycle were: grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, overall high school GPA, and admission test scores. Among the next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and class rank.” – NACAC

Let us break these down so you can perfect your score in all these areas and up your chances you securing your seat, because some colleges do rescind their offer if their conditions are not met.

  1. Grades, admission test scores, class rank and teacher recommendation- These can be achieved by dedication, discipline and perseverance.

  2. Overall high GPA – Getting accepted into a college should not make you lose focus on your high school grades. Most letters have a conditional clause which indicates your overall GPA needs to be a minimum for the acceptance to stand valid. Declining grades or disciplinary actions can cause the colleges to revoke the offer. So do party after getting your letter, but get back to work soon after!

  3. Admission essay – Writing an admission essay can be tricky. While this essay is supposed to bring out your thoughts and is a platform to state your personal goals, but remember the essay needs to be professional and succinct. If you are not too sure about how well your essay reads, contact the best essay writers and take their assistance to improve your essay writing skills.

  4. Your demonstrated interest – As stated above, visiting a college campus not only substantiates your interest to the admission officer, but also gives you a lot more information about the college. It is advisable to attend a class so you can know about the quality of instructors, or attend a regional event on the campus, or just spend a day to get an overall feel about the campus. Ask yourself, “Do I envision myself coming here every day and liking it?”. See if you fit into the campus “politically, religiously and geographically” as suggested by Robert Franek, Vice President- Publishing, Princeton Review.

4. Internship opportunities

Check out the different internship opportunities offered within the major at your accepted colleges. Also ensure they offer the majors you are interested in. Choose a college that scores high on these two factors as they determine an important part of your growth.

5. Connect and investigate

Kiersten Murphy, Director, Seattle-based Murphy College Consultants says you need to be a “great investigator“.

Some good avenues you can check to know more about the college, apart from visiting the campus, are:

  • Check out their blog. This usually speaks volumes about the college culture.
  • Find out how many students return after the freshman year.
  • Find out how many students graduate.
  • Talk to current students, alumni of the college and staff from the college.
  • Connect with people in Facebook groups, LinkedIn and other social media communities.
  • Talk to your high school counselor or college advisor. Chances are they may have additional information and useful insights.

While it is a great idea to connect with people and get their thoughts, but be discerning and know how to differentiate opinion from fact.

6. Get social

Attend a local alumni gathering. You will not only get to meet people and make friends, but many times these early connections can lead to future job prospects. Once you’ve accepted and are told who your roommate will be, reach out to get to know them. You can also discuss who would bring what for sharing in your dorm room. Don’t put this off to the day you show up on campus!

7. Don’t be passive

Most colleges appreciate if the student stays in touch with them throughout the admissions process. Keep them informed about your latest grades or updated GPAs. It is also wise to have your teacher or high school counselor send a letter, but do not assume they will do it on their own. Take the initiative to approach them and request them to do it. Any letter of recommendation from your teachers has a lot of value.

However, some colleges have a handful of admission officers and bombarding them with frequent updates can be annoying, and might even hurt your chances of acceptance. But this is a recommended way if you are planning to get into a small college.

8. Ask for an extension, if required

If you need some more time to arrive at a decision, write a letter requesting for an extension. If you do get it, use the extra time responsibly to make the decision. Do not make the mistake of sending deposits to multiple colleges to buy time. This is not only unethical, but colleges might retract their offer if they find out.

What should you do if you receive a list letter from a college?

Receiving a conditioned acceptance letter (aka, wait listed) can be difficult and leave you frustrated. In such cases, it is advisable to go ahead with some other college where you received a confirmed offer. Do not pay any deposit fees to be on the wait list. Talk to your high school counselor or college advisor to discuss an action plan and get more clarity on the way ahead.

Hurray! You have chosen the college! What’s next

Read all their documents and make a list of what you need to send them. You will need to send:

  • forms completed thoroughly and correctly
  • your letter of acceptance and confirmation
  • the deposit
  • letter requesting financial aid, if any
  • any special needs or disability requests, if applicable

Write to the other colleges

Do not forget to write to the other colleges you received acceptance from to let them know of your decision. Write them a grateful letter thanking them for their acceptance and declining your interest. This will help the admission officers sort out their list and contact the wait list candidates to join them.

Use an intentional decision-making process to choose the best college for you, one that you will be happy to be a part of, and that will help you achieve your professional goals, but remember to be realistic with your expectations. Keep in mind what Brenzel, Yale University, says – “Remember above all else that no college is going to be paradise, and that all colleges have something outstanding to offer you.”

Meenakshi VenugopalMeenakshi Venugopal is a guest blogger and the co-founder of Hashtag17, a company that specialises in web designing and development, graphic designing and social media marketing. When she is not working on projects with her clients, she guest blogs on education, technology and management. She is a contributor on Entrepreneur and JPost.

Livia SusanLivia Susan is a business manager who recently started Lifesaver Essays after being a freelance research and writer for over 6 years. She has helped numerous companies and individuals with their web strategy, social media strategy, content, blog posts, and much more so their companies could establish an identity of their own. With the start of her own education company, Lifesaver Essays, Livia plans to make education better and easier for students.

Is Choice of College Setting Your Destiny?


Your destiny based on college choiceThe article in the Washington Post, The Resume That Makes for a Top Executive, by Gena McGregor, references a new study published this week in the Harvard Business Review, which provides a snapshot over time of the demographics and career trajectories of Fortune 100 executives. The study shows how much the boardroom is changing. Not all students are interested in becoming the next CEO of Google, but choosing a college continues to be riddled with anxiety for those that have choices. The study’s data reveals some changes that are worthy of noting for any high school student (or parent) struggling over which college/university will be best – regardless of career direction.

The study states the majority of top executives now have undergraduate degrees from state universities, with only a fraction going to college at one of the Ivies. Nearly 11 percent of the top executives are foreign-educated, up from just 2 percent in 1980. And however few women there may be in leadership positions, they actually climbed the corporate ladder faster than men, spending fewer years, on average, in each job and taking a shorter time to get to the top.

The research, an effort by professors from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and IE Business School in Madrid, compiled the backgrounds of the top 10 executives at each Fortune 100 company in 2011 — those who might be called the most powerful 1,000 people in corporate jobs. They conducted the same study in 1980 and 2001.

What has interested people most about their study has been the details about where executives got their education. “I was surprised that’s been such a remarkably big deal for most folks,” Cappelli says. “I guess it’s something that makes people think about their children. Anyone with kids is thinking about these roles, and it’s an aspect of inequality that’s very noticeable to people.”

The study shows the education backgrounds of top corporate leaders are becoming much more equal over time. In 1980, just 32 percent of leaders went to a public university. By 2001 that had grown to 48 percent, and in 2011 the number reached a majority, with 55 percent of corporate leaders going to state colleges. While the percent of Ivy Leaguers has dropped slightly, from 14 percent in 1980 to 10 percent in both 2001 and 2011, those with degrees from private non-Ivies has plummeted, falling from 54 percent in 1980 to just 35 percent in 2011.

Why are we seeing so many more corporate executives from public universities? More meritocratic corporate cultures could be playing a role, Cappelli notes, but he thinks it’s mainly due to history. “It’s a bit of an archaeological story,” he says. “If you think back to when the executives now went to school, around 30 years ago, it was sort of the…golden era of state universities, which really boomed in the late ’60s and ’70s. Schools like Michigan and Berkeley — they were building these fabulous campuses, and pulling people in who would have otherwise gone to Ivy League schools.”

That’s not to say elite schools don’t still hold sway among MBA-holders and the very top leaders. If you look at the three most senior executives in each organization (say, the CEO, CFO and Chairman), 21 percent have an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League school, compared with 10 percent overall. Additionally, 40 percent of all the executives who hold MBAs got them at one of the top 20 ranked business schools in the country, many of which are at Ivy League universities.

Another way the makeup of the boardroom is changing, of course, is in the number of women. Like other studies before it, the Wharton/IE Business School professors counted the number of women at the top, finding that almost 18 percent of the top jobs were held by women in 2011. That’s a massive swing from 1980, when they reported finding no women among the top 1,000 corporate leaders.

More interesting than the stubbornly few number of women at the top, however, was the finding that women are managing to reach the top faster. It took women an average of 28 years to reach the “top-tier positions” (CEOs, vice chairs, presidents and the like), compared with 29 years for men. Women reached “middle-tier” jobs (executive VPs, general counsels, chief marketing officers) in 23 years, compared with 26 years for men. In addition, women were promoted quicker in each of their jobs, at an average rate of every four years, while it took men five.

Cappelli offers three explanations for why this might be. One, he says, could be an explicit effort by companies to get women into top jobs faster. “It’s possible that a type of affirmative action is going on,” he says. Another could be that the talent pool of women in these executive jobs is simply better. Because we see more women than men change work paths or drop out of the workforce in the middle rungs of their career, he says, it’s possible “the women are actually better because they’re self-selecting.”

Finally, Cappelli suggests, the difference may be due to the fact that there are more women in functional jobs — such as human resources, legal or marketing — for which the technical expertise needed means they’re promoted more quickly. In the report, the researchers call it “riding a different elevator.”

“If you’re going up through a functional track,” Cappelli says, “you could be advancing at a very different pace than the folks who are going up through operations jobs” that may require more rotations or longer tenures at each stop along the way.

Quirks about the leadership ranks at different companies, and what they might reveal about the different corporate cultures, may be even more interesting than the broad-based trends the study found. For instance, the average length of a top Google executive’s career is just 14 years (the shortest in the Fortune 100) while at Hewlett Packard and ConocoPhillips, it’s 32 years (the longest). Meanwhile, some companies have outstanding male-to-female ratios among the top 10 execs — at Target, Lockheed Martin and PepsiCo, women hold half the senior management jobs — while as of 2011, there were still 17 companies in the Fortune 100 with no women at all among their top 10 leaders.

To Cappelli, this is among the most interesting of the study’s results. “They’re all just so different,” he says. “There’s a UPS model, there’s a Google model and there’s an Exxon model. The idea that there is a corporate model of leadership just doesn’t seem to resonate any more.”

The take-away – Strategically narrow your college choice

Many high school students choose a college mainly on emotional criteria. The following is based on a study by the University of California—Los Angeles‘s released in January 2013, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2012.” The 2012 study is based on the responses of 192,912 first-year students at 238 U.S. four-year colleges and universities who entered college in fall 2012.

Strategic Reasons Emotional Reasons
1. College has very good academic reputation (63.8 percent) 5. A visit to this campus (41.8 percent)
2. This college’s graduates get good jobs (55.9 percent) 6. College has a good reputation for its social activities (40.2 percent)
3. I was offered financial assistance (45.6 percent) 10. I wanted to live near home (20.1 percent)
4. The cost of attending this college (43.3 percent) 11. Information from a website (18.7 percent)
7. Wanted to go to a college about this size (38.8 percent) 12. Rankings in national magazines (18.2 percent)
8. College’s grads get into top grad/professional schools (32.8 percent) 13. Parents wanted me to go to this school (15.1 percent)
9. The percentage of students that graduate from this college (30.4 percent) 16. High school counselor advised me (10.3 percent)
  18. Athletic department recruited me (8.9 percent)
  19. Attracted by the religious affiliation/orientation of college (7.4 percent)
  20. My relatives wanted me to come here (6.8 percent)
  20. My teacher advised me (6.8 percent)
  22. Private college counselor advised me (3.8 percent)

To make the best choice, identify your personal preferences for industry and career direction first (you can still be somewhat general but the more clarity the better at this stage). Then research which universities are tied into those industries and are academically highly ranked for the major you are wanting. Look for major corporate donors to a university to see the connection. As they say, follow the money trail. Another way is to call the placement office and ask which companies consistently hire interns (in your major) from the university’s student population.

Carl Nielson is Chief Discovery Officer of Success Discoveries and Managing Principal of The Nielson Group, an organizational development consulting firm that provides executive development coaching, team development and assessments for hiring. As creator of the Career Coaching for Students program for high school students and Career and Success Skills Mastery for College Students and Recent Grads, Carl and his team of licensed facilitators across North America have helped thousands of students find a better way through a career exploration process that works.  Self-directed assessment and career exploration coaching packages start at $399. Local public workshops, distance-coaching and in-school programs available. Call for more information at 972.346.2892.

Student Resource Central 10x more useful than ConnectEDU, Naviance, Kuder, Career Cruisin or XAP


The Career Coaching for Students™ program has so much to it. Independent career coaches, high school counselors and college career center counselors are finding the assessments and strategies creating significant breakthroughs. We call this disruptive technology.

This article focuses on one part of the program that other programs minimize. Student Resources Central™ offers students and parents access to the best resources on the web. From career research, choosing a major, choosing a school, financial aid, scholarship research, college admissions and application process to the latest in resume portfolios, this portal to the vast unlimited resources on the web has it all. The website sprinkles advice throughout. The organizational layout enables the user to go exactly where they need to within two clicks.        SRC Welcome Page

Below are screen shots of the main tabs. Each main tab has subtabs that offer carefully selected resources. Click on the screenshot to see a larger view to read the subtabs.

Criteria for a resource to be included in Student Resource Central:

Quality of information. Including the source, we don’t think it helps you to receive bad, biased, out-dated or partial information.

Agenda-free. The recommended resources are not operating a marketing data collection site that will use your personal information to market their sponsors.

Ease-of-use. There are plenty of web information pages. Just do a simple search on one topic and you’ll find millions of pages. Which are really worthy of your time? How much time will you have to spend shuffling through hundreds of pages before you get to the right pages of information? With SRC, you’ll quickly find your way through any webpage we direct you to.

Several great take-action recommendations

Several great take-action recommendations

 

Career Coaching for Students extensive library of worksheets, videos, and more

Career Coaching for Students extensive library of worksheets, videos, and more

The most extensive Career Research portal on the web - and easy to use

The most extensive Career Research portal on the web – and easy to use – including several extensive career video libraries.

Education Research that gives you what you need - like college freshman retention rates and graduation rates

Education Research that gives you what you need – like college freshman retention rates and graduation rates

Straight scoop, how to and information with integrity is what the Financial Aid and Scholarship resources are about. Most scholarship websites are nothing more than marketing websites. Not at SRC.

Straight scoop, how to and information with integrity is what the Financial Aid and Scholarship resources are about. Most scholarship websites are nothing more than marketing websites. Not at SRC.

Writing a resume and developing interview skills are just the beginning. So much for you to leverage including career advice videos.

Writing a resume and developing interview skills are just the beginning. So much for you to leverage including career advice videos.

Using social networking sites is key to career research, getting inside information about colleges and universities, finding internships and landing the first job out of college. The latest in using Portfolios is reviewed with a list of free cloud-based portfolio apps.

Using social networking sites is key to career research, getting inside information about colleges and universities, finding internships and landing the first job out of college. The latest in using Portfolios is reviewed with a list of free cloud-based portfolio apps.

If all of that isn’t enough, Student Resource Central is including the Life Skills for Students™ program too – for the one price.

The good news is that if you’ve purchased the Home Study Personal Edition of Career Coaching for Students or engage one of the licensed facilitators for a one-on-one service or workshop in your area, you receive Student Resource Central automatically. Purchasing the full package is the best way to go.

However, if you don’t want to buy the entire Career Coaching for Students program and receive the cool assessments and student binder, Student Resource Central is available, for a limited time, at a ridiculously cheap rate. The same rate applies for families or teachers wanting to use the resources for an entire class.

After comparing to other offerings, it becomes obvious that those other programs are trying to do the minimum while maximizing profits. Student Resource Central – well – is just simple, common sense that everyone can benefit from.

 

College Admissions Pet Peeves


Highlight from U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2013 guidebook: 10 college admissions officers share their pet peeves

Choosing a college that is best for youWhile the “best colleges to attend” isn’t the “best way” to choose a college, attending a highly ranked college over a local junior college will add dollars to your starting salary. But getting accepted is the first hurdle. Choosing a college only happens after you are accepted. Here are excerpts from the article based on college admissions decision-makers:

  • Be yourself: “I’ve been jaded by years of reading captivating pieces only to meet the student and realize that he or she could not possibly have used the vocabulary relayed in the writing,” reports Tom Delahunt of Drake University.  “Students should submit their strongest work, not someone else’s.”
  • Passions, not laundry lists: “I become leery about a candidate when I notice his or her list of extracurricular activities increase significantly during senior year,” reports Delahunt. “Instead of a laundry list of commitments, we admissions officers want to know which one (or two) of these activities is truly a passion.”
  • Avoid slang: “While there is a time and place for shortcuts, emoticons, and other symbols of contemporary communication, your application should reflect formal standards that would make your English teacher proud,” advises Bruce Latta of the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • Watch what you post: “Many of our applicants tag themselves in photos after they have visited our campus, so it’s not hard for us to see what profiles are open to the entire world,” Latta notes. “My best advice is to remember that if your grandmother wouldn’t be proud to see what you’re posting online, it probably shouldn’t be public.”
  • Know who we are: Too many students ask questions about what majors are offered and other information “that is plainly stated on our website.” says Suzi Nam of Swarthmore College. “We want you to display, through your application, that you have a meaningful understanding of our institution and how and why you see yourself as being a good match. This kind of authentic, thoughtful engagement with the admissions office is what all colleges value most.”

Excerpted from “What Not to Do When You Apply” in U.S.News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2013. Available at usnews.com/college13. Copyright © 2012 U.S.News & World Report, L.P. Used by permission of U.S.News & World Report, L.P. All rights reserved. U.S. News allows republication of this excerpt without specific written permission or payment of royalties, provided that the excerpt is republished in its entirety without any modifications and includes this notice. Please contact permissions@usnews.com with any questions.

Carl Nielson is an organizational development consultant, professional career and executive/leadership coach and creator of the nationally recognized program Career Coaching for Students™ . Career Coaching for Students is available as a district-wide high school program, college program and in group and on-one-one offerings through certified career coaches throughout the United States, Canada and other countries. Contact Carl Nielson at carl@successdiscoveries.com or call 972-346-2892 to discuss specific needs. Or visit us at http://www.careercoachingforstudents.net

Choosing a College


There are many variables that go into choosing the right post-secondary college or vocational school. Before a student considers which school to focus on for their short list, it is important to first consider the career path and the educational requirements to be successful in that career path. The next step is to shorten the list of schools that carry a strong reputation for the major/subject and for placing graduating students into a first job upon graduation in that career.  With all of that said, this article assumes you’ve done that work and you are now focused on the short list.

To compare schools, try using a four box chart that allows you to compare two variables. The variables that you might consider need to be relevant to your needs. By combining the two variables, make a determination about what it means for a school to be in any of the four quadrants. The following examples are just a few of the variables to consider:

  • Retention Rate
  • Cost
  • Average Starting Salary of Graduating Students at that School (available at the school’s placement office)

Example 4 Box Chart
Using the link in the second paragraph above, you can download, print and create your own comparison chart for Retention Rate vs Cost. Here is what it might look like when you are finished (Legend of Colleges would be the names of the schools represented by the corresponding letter):

About Retention Rate

Retention rates at colleges varies widely and is a hidden metric that some schools would prefer you didn’t know about. The “retention and graduation rate” can be analyzed for 4-year undergraduate, 5 yrs, masters, all students, etc.

About the Cost of college

The cost becomes complicated when you consider all of the variables such as scholarships, grants, financial aid, etc. To keep an analysis simple, you can use the “Estimated Student Expenses (before Aid)” or the “Net Cost”.

Where to find College Retention Rate and Cost

The Career Coaching for Students™ program has an extensive and comprehensive research portal called Student Resource Central™ with the best of the best links to information on the Web for both college search and career exploration. One of the most informative sites that provides you with retention rates and cost data is the U.S. Department of Education sponsored site called College Navigator.

With College Navigator, you can search for and select colleges based on many variables that are important to you. Once you have a list of schools from the search, add those schools you consider to be “Favorites” to the Favorites List. From the Favorites list, you can “Compare” up to four schools at a time.

Carl Nielson is an organizational development consultant, professional career and executive/leadership coach and creator of the nationally recognized program Career Coaching for Students™ . Career Coaching for Students is available as a district-wide high school program and in group and on-one-one offerings through certified career coaches throughout the United States, Canada and other countries. Contact Carl Nielson at carl@successdiscoveries.com or call 972-346-2892 to discuss specific needs.

High Schools Recognize Online Student Career Planning Solutions Aren’t Making the Grade


According to an article in Education Week, more and more schools are recognizing that career and education planning for secondary students is essential to producing self-sufficient graduates ready for the workforce of today. With post-secondary education receiving an increasing amount of attention nationwide, many high schools are finding that helping students choose a career goal encourages improvement in academic performance and achieves significant results for their students.

Any increase in planning is welcomed, but many planning programs focus solely on admissions test prep and non-directed career exploration, relying on a series of questionable online inventories and surveys that do not allow for the introspection and guidance needed for such a consequential decision. In contrast, the American School Counselor Association’s National Standards for Students and The George Washington University Freshman Transition Initiative’s Standards for Freshman Transition find three areas of development are key to effective guidance and planning: academic, career, and personal/social development.

Online solutions may seem adequate but are poorly suited for promoting personal/social development, creating intentional student engagement in academics and achieving the results that will make a measurable difference for students. Many high school programs often settle for (and demand) the creation of a 4-year plans starting with the freshman year. Choosing a track is great if it is based on an informed decision by the student. Most high school freshmen are not given the opportunity to do quality research and introspection to make an informed decision – yet the chosen track will impact them for years to come. And these plans only focus on taking the student through a “chosen track” through the end of high school and neglect planning for post-secondary completion and workforce entry, unlike the 10-year career and educations plans recommended in the Standards for Freshman Transition.

There is one alternative – Career Coaching for Students™. To learn about the Career Coaching for Students program, which meets all the Standards for Freshman Transition recommendations, check out the information at http://www.careercoachingforstudents.net.

Carl Nielson is a professional career and executive/leadership coach and creator of the nationally recognized program Career Coaching for Students™ . Career Coaching for Students is available as a district-wide high school program and through certified career coaches throughout the United States and other countries. Call Carl Nielson at 972-346-2892 to discuss specific needs.