What Being A College Counselor Taught Me
I started my original company in 1999 and for the first decade, our focus was academic tutoring, test prep, and college counseling. My personal passion was college counseling…finding the right fit colleges and assisting with the application process.
Sometimes some students hit snags during our process that we’d diligently work to solve. Other students sometimes hit bumps in the road after they started college. Many were successful throughout. However, as a perfectionist, I really wanted everyone and everything to go well which led to me deeply analyzing what could go wrong and trying to figure out where to fix it.
- Difficulty Choosing Colleges for Application
- Trouble Answering Some of The Supplemental Essay Prompts Colleges Require to Apply (Follow the Link to Get Tips!)
- Limited Options for Internal Transfer into Choice of Major after Being Undecided or Changing Direction
- Not Graduating in 4-years
- Overpaying for College
- Needing Graduate School When It Wasn’t Planned
- Entering the Workforce and Not Loving Their Job
What was a common component of these struggles?
Identifying a college major for college and a career for that first step into the workforce.
I went on a search to find how I as a college counselor could do better for the families I was serving.
The most common mistake I identified was students choosing a major based on a course they liked in high school….and sometimes they later figured out it was the teacher, not the subject, that they loved. For instance, I’ve never met a student who took psychology or AP Psychology in high school who didn’t at least like or even love the class. Yet, this field as an undergraduate major almost always requires a graduate degree – and at great cost. My own now-adult son who works in IT actually enjoyed his 10th grade English class because who wouldn’t love Mr. Weber.
So how could I resource my families? I started with personality assessments and took practically every single one myself to check for both accuracy and usefulness with the end goal in mind. It wasn’t until my second to last test drive that I discovered the Birkman Assessment.
While I truly believe the assessment I chose is second to none, I found taking a test and issuing a report wasn’t enough. Next, I developed a debrief coaching session to connect the results to the student and generate a list based purely on their wiring then I sent the family on their way to walk out their results. BINGO! The needle moved and barriers to success were being broken.
Over time, my colleagues across the US, other College Counselors and Financial Planners, asked me to provide this same service for their clients while they took care of all the other pieces.
When I hit about 3,000 individuals served, I felt what we were all providing our clients was so essential I decided to double down and make it my full-time pursuit….College Major and Career Counseling. And that’s where I am now.
What Problems are Helped
- When a student knows what they want to study, it becomes much easier to choose colleges to visit and apply to
- Many colleges require essays asking students why they are selecting their chosen major or what their career aspirations are and these are quite easy to write once students have an end in mind
- Students who have designed a plan for college and career switch majors much less
- There are many reasons students might not graduate in 4-years, only 41% do, but when a student has put in the work to identify the major changing majors which often delays graduation won’t be one of them
- Graduating on time means staying in budget and time in school won’t exceed the 4-year life of merit scholarships
The average person will work 90,000 hours in their lifetime…..we all deserve to discover jobs we are wired for and thrive.