3 things my child needs to know before applying to College
THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The other day, I was talking with a senior student from a very exclusive private school here in Houston. He told me with little enthusiasm that he had already applied to 7 universities and that he planned to apply for 3 more as back-ups. I asked him what he was going to study. He looked at the sky, sighed and answered me, “The truth is that I don’t know. I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to do.” He sighed again and looking at the floor he said with a soft and insecure tone, “Maybe med school and if not economics.”
Instead of finding motivation, I felt apathy. Where the illusion and enthusiasm had to be, I perceived stress, doubt and confusion. Does it sound familiar to you?
The parents of this young man paid tens of thousands of dollars a year to have access to a privileged education, but when it comes to guiding, helping, preparing and training our children to make one of the most important decisions in life, he was left with no clear path. If the schools object that they are preparing them, it’s very little or it’s not working. If this happens in the best private school, what can we expect of public education.
The result. A future engineer, architect, economist or doctor who when he is 35 or 40 years old will assimilate with his level of frustration, he will be entering the 'second time' of life and dedicating 10 hours of each day to a career that he doesn’t like, doesn’t love or doesn’t make him happy. It is unlikely he can leave that job because there are bills to pay and a family to feed.
How do I know? I have been working for 25 years in training and coaching professionals in a dozen countries. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many FORTUNE 500 companies and thousands of executives. I have met very often, regardless of the success or efficiency of the person in their work, with the same complaint; 'I would have liked to do something different with my life'.
The first big mistake that parents make (and the education system):
Saying that our child is already in a university is like saying that we have graduated as parents. We have fulfilled our mission. And if the University is renowned and recognized, we put on the label of 'successful parents'.
The educational system, and we as parents, put enormous pressure on our children to choose which career they will study and in which university. The pressure is exacerbated in the junior and senior years and our children are forced to choose, in most cases, without having all the necessary information and without having the slightest idea about many things.
The focus cannot be the race to get there and the university itself. The focus should be on: How do you want to live your life when you are 35? Where do you live? How much do you want to earn? Do you have family? Which car you drive? What’s your typical day like? What level of income do you need to get there? From there you go to: If money was not a problem and you could choose something to do 10 hours a day, what would you choose? What are you passionate about doing? What makes you happy?
Once you have all those answers, you need to ask yourself; What jobs exist or will exist in the future that allow me to do what I like? Which companies promote something similar? What products and services exist around this activity? How can I convert this activity into a source of income?
When you find these answers, we have to look at the way of life you want to have and analyze the results. If you want to live in Palo Alto California, in a 4 bedroom house, have 2 children and drive a BMW and the work that comes closest to what you are passionate about is being a pre-school teacher, you have to do a thorough analysis of whether that is possible and if it is not, make the necessary adjustments.
Once this step is taken, the next thing is to analyze what university degrees exist that could help you get that job and which are the top 3 universities that offer that career.
Doing this you realize that the University is just one more step, one more scale in a much longer, complex and exciting journey. In Golf the goal is not to hit the ball. The goal is to have a good swing; the ball is just something that is in the middle when you make your swing. We have to focus on the swing, not the ball.
This brings us to the first two steps that a teenager should know perfectly before applying to a University:
Step 1 - Where am I: How am I? What is good for me? What’s my passion?
Step 2 - Where I want to go: What do I want my life to be like? What would I like to be doing every day to feel fulfilled and have more happiness?
I'll share a secret with you. If you could define in a word, only one, the characteristic that most universities look for in a teenager at the moment of applying, what would it be? Talent? Curriculum? Qualifications? A good result on the SAT? GPA?
None of the above. None of that works if you do not have this word and this is what most universities seek and where they find the most value. You must also have this when seeking employment with a company. That word is: PASSION
How can I have Passion if I do not know who I am? If I do not know where I'm going? If my focus is on the ball and not the swing? If I haven’t found my purpose?
We are missing one essential step your teen child needs to follow in order to increase his/her chances to find and get admitted into a best-fit college and before starting any application process. This step also reflects the second big mistake we parents do trying to help them. Do you want to know what it is? Well, for that you will have to wait until our next edition.
Meanwhile I invite you to know more about the first initiative created in the USA to help our young people to master these 3 steps, to avoid the two big mistakes that are made and increase their chances of landing in a 'best fit college' and have an exciting and non-stressful experience in its application process to a University but above all a greater opportunity to build a better future, with purpose, passion and more happy moments.
Because at the end of the day, what do we want as parents for the future of our children?
For them to be happy. Visit: www.3stepstocollege.com