College planning can be painful.

Here you are trying to help your child make these major life decisions. You want it to be an exciting, joyful experience.

Instead, you find yourself face-to-face with everything you would rather avoid:

  • time passed so quickly and your baby is leaving you (is she ready?)
  • time passed so quickly and you are getting older (who am I now?)
  • time passed so quickly and you didn’t save what you had intended (can we afford this?)
  • time passed so quickly and you didn’t get to do everything you wanted (what did we forget to tell him?)

Did you give her everything she needs to be on her own? Do you know enough to help him get into the right college? Will you have enough to keep supporting her and taking care of yourself?

The stress and worry can turn college planning into arguments, tears, sleepless nights, and silence.

And it doesn’t end when you move them into their dorm room. Oh, that’s just a Facebook pic reprieve before diving in to a whole new world of worries.

Stop the insanity, you say!

Yes, let’s stop.

Let’s stop doing the same old thing and expecting different results.

The fact is that the traditional approach to college planning has failed far too many students and their parents.

College planning traditionally puts the emphasis on the what, the where, the how much, leaving the why as an after thought for the kid to figure out on their own.

Simon Sinek’s call to Start With Why is not just for business people.

Effective college planning starts with why.

The problem is that we have taught our kids to NOT ask why.

“Why do I have to learn this?”

“Because the school board says so. Stop asking questions. That’s rude.”

Over time, these messages take root. One thing I see consistently in the students I work with: they’re not asking why they want to go to college. They just accept the “fact” that college is the next step.

This is hazardous because college is not effective when students take a passive approach.

A study of 30,000 college graduates revealed that the greatest benefits of a college education are linked to whether or not a student had 6 key experiences during their undergraduate stretch.

Students did the best when they self-reported one or all of the following statements:

  • I had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams.
  • I had at least one professor at [College] who made me excited about learning.
  • I had an internship or job that allowed me to apply what I was learning inthe classroom.
  • My professors at [College] cared about me as a person.
  • I was extremely active in extracurricular activities and organizationswhile attending [College].
  • I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.

Each of these experiences requires active engagement on the part of the student.

Students who do not actively engage in college are significantly less likely to find work that engages them and a life that fulfills them.

We can change this by getting down to the why.

Students need a way to begin connecting into their personal WHY for going to college.

To help them get there, here’s the tool I am using with my clients.




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