When it comes to college planning, time is of the essence.
At my inbox appeared a telephone consultation reservation for July 27. No idea who the person was, and when we talked I thought, "Oh my; there's no way!"
Here are the details (with fictitious names):
Melissa, the mom, was desperate. Her daughter was a rising, high school senior. They had done no planning -- none! Melissa began to cry. My heart broke and, against my better judgment, I told her I would help them.
April, the daughter, got on the phone with me. I laid it out for her. I was honest, even blunt. If she wanted me to help, we would have to get done in about 10 weeks what I do with most students over the course of a year, or even longer.
April has amazed me! We have a weekly call, about 45 minutes duration. I satisfy myself that she thoroughly understands the assignment to be completed before our next conversation, and the call ends. I have done nothing for her that she cannot do herself. With all of my students, I am the coach, they are the players.
At each phone call she is totally prepared, and her work is done well. She has accomplished about six months' work, in less than a month.
Thank you April! Not only have you demonstrated your readiness for college, your maturity as a young woman (18th birthday in January) and your determination to achieve your goals; but you have also shown me your pluck and capabilities, which certainly are not unique to you.
No longer will I lower my expectations for my students. I will expect their best, knowing it is within them to do good work, on time.
If your student is a senior in high school and you have yet to begin the college planning process, don't waste a single minute. Work strategically and diligently, not allowing any time to slip through your fingers. As April has demonstrated, if your student is willing to do the leg work, great things can be accomplished in a short amount of time.
At Succeed Where It Counts, we recommend to begin the college planning process during your student's sophomore year of high school. If that sounds too early to you, over a decade of experience tells you it isn't. You want time on your side so you and your student can learn, think and make wise decisions with time to spare.