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Potential Can Be Nurtured with Effort: More about College Selection

Submitted by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy on October 20th, 2012

“Doing your homework”  when it comes to choosing colleges is essential.  A former client and current college freshman’s mom, recently shared her experience how to do that “homework” and how pleased she is with the family’s final choice for her son–UC Santa Cruz.   Her son is growing, even in an unexpected triple roommate situation, and already considering possible internships for summer–all as a result from their their previous investigation during his senior year of high school.

Their “homework” was done in pieces and over time.   The steps they took included:

  1. Know their son’s interests, both what the likes and dislikes–academically and socially.  This family had a series of conversations–asking questions about their son’s learning style, teachers he could connect with and learn, topics their son wanted to explore, knowledge he didn’t already have and wanted to gain, friends he preferred, location for possible internships and future careers, distance from home.  These conversations occurred from before deciding to colleges for application and through the decision making time in April of his senior year.
  2. Doing a thorough investigation of each college and a comparison between top choices, before enrolling.  Once the family had more understanding of their son’s interests and academic needs, they started researching.  They reviewed course requirements for potential majors, comparing between colleges and departments.  They called housing departments to ask questions.  They visited campuses and attended information sessions in their local area to find out as much as possible about the entire campus environment that their son would be joining.  Their conversations continued as each parent and the student saw and heard different facts given their perspectives, then compared notes.

The effort required to find a campus that provides the value that the student needs and is going to invest both their time and capital is needed–especially as families face continued increases in tuition and other college expenses.   Families are facing difficult choices about how to fit these efforts into already busy schedules and limited resources.  Our client proved that working together, they were able to pool their efforts and choose the campus that best suits their son–both now and in nurturing his potential.

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