Over two decades of working with students, our founder created a comprehensive, 11-step college planning curriculum to guide students through the application process. It is not meant to feel like more homework—the goal is to help students see that there is a clear path from initially thinking about college to building a list of schools and ultimately completing applications and choosing where to enroll. Rather than reacting to the noise and frenzy surrounding college applications, students can proactively create and attain milestones throughout the process.
The curriculum includes everything from understanding the majors connected to various career paths to learning how admission committees will evaluate each element of an application. The primary goal of the EXPLORE stage is for students to have a clearer idea of how the next phase of their life might look. Students sometimes think choosing a college means choosing their whole future. We just want them to focus on the first stage. That’s a lot more manageable than trying to plan for an entire lifetime.
The first 8 steps of the curriculum are designed to let students EXPLORE both their interests and how they connect to their goals and ultimately the schools that best align with them. Different from high school, students have a lot of freedom in crafting the experience they want in college. Taking the time to EXPLORE all the different opportunities available can actually be quite fun. The ultimate goal is to have as many options as possible.
Once a list of schools has been approved, we begin the last 3 steps of the curriculum. This includes everything from planning conversations with teachers who might write recommendations and creating applications to brainstorming essays and communicating with admission offices. Students often dread recalling meaningful experiences and brainstorming essay topics because writing about themselves isn’t something high school demands. So, it’s thrilling when we identify an essay topic that really captures how they want to present themselves to schools. Often they are anxious about filling out the applications too, unsure of what to expect. However, we liken that step to data-entry. Responses are important, to be sure; but, this part of the process might be the easiest to EXECUTE. Clicking submit on the application forms is a fantastic feeling which many students have documented on social media!
Once we are in the thick of essays and applications, students have weekly meetings to ensure that everything is completed well ahead of the deadlines. Students who EXECUTE their action items effectively are able to enjoy their last year of high school with minimal stress. But, our relationship doesn’t end when the applications are finished. We maintain contact through graduation (and often beyond), helping students choose where to enroll, evaluate scholarship and aid packages, and providing any other assistance they would like.