Who are You? – Time to Focus on Your Choice of College

March 7, 2010

This month’s guest post is courtesy of Bill Hughes, a Professional College Planner located in Lake Wylie, SC.

The parent who believes that the college admissions process is a game is intent on figuring out first the rules, then the unwritten rules, and especially the deep secrets of this new game – and then mastering them.  Game-playing parents range in style from the athletic through the compulsive gambler type and finally to the organized-crime-connected politician.

The athletic parent rises to the challenge of mastering the new sport.  I have a  friend who always gets lessons when he does a sport; the moment something goes wrong with his golf game he’s back to consult his pro.  He takes windsurfing lessons, skiing lessons, he consults with experts before he hikes.  So when his son, who was a good student in public school, got to spring of his junior year, the father hired an outside educational counselor.

The counselor explained that the rules of the game were fair, there were no deep secrets, told him that his son had a good chance at five colleges, but he had to “present himself well.”   So the father and son went on the trip, with the father acting like a Little League dad, giving pointers, pep talks, expressing disappointment when his son did not chat up the hockey coach at one college.  Happily, his son fell in love with the first college he saw and is at the present moment enjoying his years there very much.  My friend retired from the field, fully satisfied that he had played the game the right way, and had gotten the right advice from his pro.

The gambler parents are like the fans of race tracks, talking about weather conditions, trading stories about previous races and the mental state of jockeys, and finally, painfully laying down their bets. The wisest among them at least acknowledges that there is something arbitrary about the process. The worst of them want to give their child an advantage by getting a phony psychologist to certify a dubious learning disability so that their child can take untimed SATs. The sad part about the handicappers is that their children are not racehorses and it does them harm to be talked about in terms that imply winning or losing.

The only students that are destined to fail in college are the ones who have been shoehorned by their parents into schools for which they are not well qualified academically. The secret, sometimes unconscious knowledge that he doesn’t really belong there undermines the student and he drops out, flunks out, or fails to thrive.

To the students, follow a few simple rules when preparing for the overwhelming thought of choosing the right college:

  1. Assess your personality type – Don’t hyper focus on the things you “like” at the moment or what other students are doing.  Remember, abilities and interests change.  Just ask your parents.  Make sure your values and personality traits come first.
  2. Perform research on the careers that best fit your personality –  CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, and Law & Order don’t speak to the extra years of education, internships and multiple years working long shifts before you can branch out into the field of choice.  Choose a college that offers a solid curriculum in your career.
  3. Keep up your grades, community service and extracurricular activities –   Get yourself the credentials so that others can easily see your ambitious personality and be able to write a powerful recommendation for you.
  4. If necessary, seek a professional counselor.   Trained professionals depend on the success of their student clients to maintain their business.  They can be a valuable investment in one of the biggest decisions in your life.

Bill Hughes is a Professional College Planner located in Lake Wylie, SC.  Bill works with parents and students to help them with financial aid, career planning, scholarships, and SAT/ACT test planning for college.  You can contact Bill at 704-239-7772 or you may email him at billhughes [@] comporium.net.

Donna Bordeaux, CPA with Calculated Moves

Creativity and CPAs don’t generally go together.  Most people think of CPAs as nerdy accountants who can’t talk with people.  Well, it’s time to break that stereotype.  Lively, friendly, and knowledgeable can be a part of your relationship with your CPA as demonstrated by Donna and Chad Bordeaux.  They have over 50 years of combined experience as entrepreneurial CPAs.  They’ve owned businesses and helped business owners exceed their wildest dreams.   They have been able to help businesses earn many times more profit than the average business in the same industry and are passionate about helping industries that help families build great memories.