You are a mother of a high school student, and you are freaking out about the empty nest ahead? Together we will channel your freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy! You will THRIVE as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college. ~ Christine, Your Empty Nest Coach
Recently, I was a guest on the Scholarship Shark podcast!
The lovely Pam Andrews hosts this podcast and invited a couple of amazing ladies and me to share our thoughts and experiences as college moms. I had a tremendous amount of fun chatting with Pam, Monica, and Debbie!
I am unbelievably excited to have Carolyn Allison Caplan AKA Admissions Mom as a guest on my episode, today. Honestly, I could have spoken with Carolyn for hours, but, alas, I had to return to work from my lunch break. But, no worries, we already discussed having her back on the podcast. Yay!
In this episode, we chat about those extracurricular activities that are so necessary for a college application. Carolyn’s viewpoint is one that I adore, and her heart for the students she assists is evident and infectious. Seriously, take a look at the karma this amazing lady has on Reddit! Good stuff!
Whether you have a kiddo heading off to college in the next few years or not, there are tremendous nuggets of wisdom in this conversation with Carolyn. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed chatting with her (look at that screenshot)! As always, thanks for listening!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 19: Let’s Talk About Extracurriculars. … Today’s episode is all about those extracurricular activities that our children feel pressured to be a part of in their high school years. Sure, some of our kids are all in and it’s hard to keep up with them. But what about parents who have kids that have no motivation to participate in school activities?
00:00:00 Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast, with Coach Christine, episode number 19: Let’s Talk About Extracurriculars. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
00:00:35 Hello, my empty nest friend! Thanks for listening today. How is your month going? I hope it is fantastic. Today’s episode is all about those extracurricular activities that our children feel pressured to be a part of in their high school years. Sure, some of our kids are all in and it’s hard to keep up with them. But what about parents who have kids that have no motivation to participate in school activities? What does this all mean? You know me, I’ll tell you it can mean whatever you want it to mean, but I’m bringing in someone with a lot of Reddit karma to share her thoughts on the topic. I found a post on Instagram about extracurriculars, and took a read. It was written by my guest, AdmissionsMom, and to be honest, I felt connected to her, and was continually saying, yes, yes, yes, as I read her post. The best news is that when I asked her to join me for an episode to talk about this topic, she said yes. My future empty nest friends, if you have a child heading off to college soon, you really should get to know AdmissionsMom. This episode is for you. If you don’t have a child heading off to school soon, still take a listen because AdmissionsMom is all about your child learning who they are. That is likely why I feel a connection to her.
00:01:55 To share a little more about AdmissionsMom, a.k.a. Carolyn Allison Caplan, she started on a simple subreddit, Applying to College, that has taken on a life of its own. Carolyn went through the college process with her three amazing, but very different kids and lived to tell the tale. That subreddit has matured with over 70,000 subscribers. Now, she has both an app and a book in the works. AdmissionsMom helps students and parents through the stressful college admissions process with tips on choosing the right school for your child, learning to leave the pressure behind, and practicing mindfulness. She’s my kind of lady.
00:02:37 Christine: Carolyn, a.k.a. AdmissionsMom, thrilled to have you here. Welcome to the Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast!
Carolyn: Thank you so much, and thank you so much for having me here. I’m excited to be able to learn from you and maybe share a few ideas.
Christine: I think we’re all going to learn from you. I was like, she’s got 70,000 subscribers on Reddit, people! Is that right?
Carolyn: Ninety. Ninety thousand, now.
Carolyn: Ninety something.
Christine: I can’t believe you’re talking to me. How do you have time?
Carolyn: They’re not my subscribers, by the way. It’s Applying to College, I’m just a moderator.
Christine: Did you start it?
Carolyn: No. I didn’t. I came on when we had about 8,000 subscribers.
Christine: Good clarification, but excellent nonetheless. My goodness!
Carolyn: Yes. We have a lot of helpful adults. I’m not the only one there by any means.
Christine: That is wonderful. Carolyn, while I know you are able to speak to many aspects of the college admission process, today, let’s talk about those extracurricular activities that our kiddos feel extreme pressure to add in their high school years. I have some questions for you that might be on my audience’s mind, as they prepare for their child heading off to college in the years to come. Are you all ready?
00:03:50 Christine: All right. Question number one, how important are extracurriculars really, in the college admission process?
Carolyn: I think extracurriculars are important in life and I pretty much take everything out of the college admissions process because living a good life, living a full, human-being life makes you a good college admissions prospect. Yes. They’re important, because it’s important to be involved in life. That’s where I can kind of come in. I think that you get involved in your life, personally — your personal life. You read, read, read, get a job, take care of yourself, exercise, practice mindfulness, meditation, yoga. Learn things that help your brain development, like an instrument, or a language. Take up a project, all of those things. Get involved in your own life. Get involved in your family by doing the dishes, by making dinner, by helping out with siblings and grandparents. Then, get involved in your school. It can be by starting a club, joining a club. That’s great if that’s your thing, and that’s what you want to do. Go for it. But it can also be something independent, like simply sitting next to somebody who you see sitting alone in the cafeteria and making a point to say hello to them. There are all sorts of ways to be involved, and get involved in your community. Find where you have gifts that you can share and find where you can help. If you don’t feel like you have any gifts, simply go pet kittens at an animal shelter, or walk a dog. There’s all sorts of ways, and if you’re not old enough to do that, make goody bags to pass out to homeless people. There’s so many ways to be involved. But if you’re involved, then you’re doing extracurriculars. That’s where I feel like it’s important, and I feel like that’s important as a human being in the world.
00:05:36 Christine: Love it. So good. Just being involved in your own life. That’s wonderful. This is what I got from reading your blog and I loved it. It’s great.
Carolyn: I can go into a lot more specifics if you want. I have tons of specifics.
Christine: Yes. You know what? Maybe we’ll wrap up there because I think you’ve already given me ideas and I’m like, man, petting kittens! Yes!
Christine: Do you think there’s such a thing as too many extracurriculars?
00:06:05 Carolyn: I think that there’s too many extracurriculars if you’re feeling stressed out about it. If you’re doing the extracurriculars simply because you think they need to be done to be in college, or because you just have so many interests that you’re overwhelming yourself. I am very guilty of this, of doing too many things and sometimes I have to sit back and prioritize. I know for some of us who have a lot of energy, that can be the case. Then, it’s more about just taking care of yourself, and finding the balance. If you’re doing it just for college admissions, then, yes, you can definitely be guilty of doing too many extracurriculars. You certainly don’t have to be involved in everything. But I do want the kids who I talk to, to be involved with something in their own lives, physically, mentally and emotionally, to be involved with their families in some way, to be involved with their school in some way, and to be involved in their community in some way. I think that’s just what makes a good well-rounded, and not well-rounded in a bad way, like college admissions. Just a good well-rounded person, a human being on this earth.
Christine: Wonderful. Wonderful. I can think of three more episodes I want you on. That’s so good. I love that. That physical, mental and emotional thinking about that. I think sometimes, especially as parents, we just get caught up on the checkboxes that we need for college admission, and there’s so much pressure. Yes, you’re in choir, but maybe you’re not the president, and do you have to be the president of everything, and just, whether or not that’s right for your kid is really important.
00:07:40 Carolyn: Exactly. That’s why I talk a lot about taking leadership of your life. I think parents and kids get really caught up on leadership. To me, leadership means making the world a better place around you, right around you. It doesn’t even mean it has to be on a global scale. If you make your family a better place, then you’re taking leadership in your family. If you make yourself a better person, you’re taking leadership in your life. We’re all responsible for making ourselves a better person, and when we make ourselves a better person, we’re taking leadership of the world because then we’re contributing to a better world. Leadership doesn’t have to have a title. It can be just being a leader in your own life, and your own family and your own community.
Christine: Yes. Yes. I like to say be the CEO of your life.
Christine: No one else is going to do it for you, and you may not get to be the CEO of a corporation, but you have your own life to that with.
Carolyn: Who wants to be? Seriously.
Christine: I know. Right? Our own life is enough. Let’s get that one down before we run everyone else’s, and our kids. This is for moms, let’s be the CEO of our own life, so we can do the best for our kids and help them to be the leader of their own life.
00:08:58 Carolyn: That’s the best kind of parent, when you show them that you are the CEO of your own life. When you show them that you’re taking care of yourself, emotionally, physically and mentally, then they learn by example, rather than you’re having to run their lives.
Christine: So true. It’s wonderful. I’m thinking you don’t think there’s like, a magic number of extracurriculars that should be on application? Or do you?
Carolyn: I have this philosophy, there’s this big push right now to have a spike in extracurriculars, that I have a problem with because then kids feel like starting at 14 years old, that they have to figure out what they want to be, so they can figure out what they want to major in, so they can figure out what they need to be doing extracurricularly, starting at 14 years old. I find that to be very, very sad, and I have a lot of issues with it.
Christine: I agree with you.
00:09:46 Carolyn: If that’s natural for them, then great. I’m all for it. But so many kids are fabricating that now, and they’re kind of like curating their lives to have this application. There’s other kids who feel the pressure to be so super well-rounded. I call it, I take kind of a combination, and I call it star-shaped. Find the four or five things in your life that are really important to you, that mean a lot to you, and make yourself into a star. Be star-shaped. That’s kind of my compromise between the spike and the well-rounded. If you’re spikey, good. Go for it. Be totally spikey. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re well-rounded and you want to be captain every club, then president every club, then go for it. That’s you, too. But if you’re not, if you’re trying to just like find a way to find your life, and figure out who you are, then do that, and think about being a star, four or five little spikes, that help you move forward.
Christine: I love that. I’ve never heard that before. I love it.
Carolyn: I made it up. Not just now.
00:10:52 Christine: It’s fantastic. It’s really good. It’s interesting. I homeschooled my daughter, and it wasn’t something that was like I went in going I’m going to homeschool. I was thrown into it, like this is your only option kind of thing. I did find that a lot of things were outside of normal, in the box. The things that other people wouldn’t consider activities, we did. As you were talking, I could picture the points in her life coming out.
Christine: It’s a really, really good one. I like that.
Carolyn: Yes. I’m glad you like it.
Christine: This next question, I think I know what you’re going to say. I don’t know what you’re going to say. It’s been good. My next question is for the mothers who have the introverted child, who needs to come home, recharge their batteries from all the social time they’ve had in school during the day. Maybe after their school days they head right to a video game, or they knit, or they read. Something that could be viewed as very solitary. So, although many, I know, some parents will be like, yeah, but my kids are social online. I know. I know. Any way, here’s the question, if that’s my kid, should I be concerned about their lack of participation in school activities and clubs?
00:12:03 Carolyn: That question comes up a lot on Reddit, too. Let me just say first of all, something about video games. If your kid is a solid video game player, and it’s something that they’ve really kind of perfected and gotten really strong at, colleges are looking to create video game teams, and a lot of money is being made out there in video game world, with League of Legends and, I don’t know, I don’t know the names of all of them. That is a path for sure, and that can be a spike. I have always told kids, and I encourage my private students to write down video game playing as an extracurricular. Having said that, one of my children was an hours-long video game player, and it was concerning to me. It wasn’t concerning me as far as college applications go, because I kind of new that we would be able to figure that out, otherwise. I always feel like the kid should apply to college as the person he is, or she is. That wasn’t my concern. My concern was that my child was spending too much time playing video games, period, as a person, a human in the world. That was actually when I started coming up with this getting involved thing.
Christine: Got you.
00:13:10 Carolyn: It’s great. Play video games, but make sure you’re doing these other things also. Make sure you’re involved in your life, emotionally, physically, mentally. Make sure you’re involved in your family, not just sitting and playing video games. Offer to do the dishes, bake that, or whatever it is that you want to do, that shows your involvement. Make sure you’re involved in your school in some way, however it is that you want to figure that out, even it it’s an independent project, and make sure you’re involved in your community. As long as you’re doing those things, then play video games all you want, outside of those things. Having said that, as long as it’s something that’s interesting to you. An admissions officer from University of Chicago, who I was talking to a few years ago, told me don’t try to figure out what we want on your application, because as soon as you think you’ve figured it out, we’re going to change our minds, and it’s going to be completely different. Five years ago, or seven years ago, probably playing video games was something they would have looked down upon. Now, it’s not. Now, they think oh, cool, because we’ve got to fill our team. Kids are getting recruited for it. You have to kind of go with who you are, and if it’s something that interests you and keeps you going and makes you want to wake up in the morning, go for it. As long as you’re involved in your life in other ways, also.
Christine: Love it. Wonderful. Great advice. I didn’t know about the video games, like the teams.
00:14:29 Carolyn: Yes. Yes. There are colleges out there making teams, and there are kids out there making a lot of money playing on professional teams.
Christine: Wow. Okay.
Carolyn: My son, when he was a video game player, ended up getting a Turner Broadcasting internship simply because of all that time he had spent playing video games in high school, and in college, a little bit, on his match, because they were looking to expand their video game channels. When he was applying for internships, they told him that. He was oh, cool, I can like, tell you all about it, I know everything, I’ve played for hours. He was so excited to call and tell me about that, because he was like, mom, remember when you kept telling me to get off the stupid computer all the time.
Christine: I know. It always comes back to us.
Carolyn: I know. Yes.
00:15:18 Christine: That’s fantastic. Those are all my big questions I have for you. Now, I have some that are just popping into my head. Do you have a most unique activity that you remember somebody using in the college admission process?
Carolyn: I hate the word unique.
Christine: Okay. What word would you use?
Carolyn: I’m banning it. I’m banning it from college admissions. No. I honestly don’t. I don’t think there are unique activities any more. I think that these Gen Z kids are so talented and so creative, and so interested in life and in the world around them, that I see kids doing all kinds of amazing things. I mean, like kids who organize March for Our Lives, I think that’s incredible, but it’s not unique, there’s a bunch of them. Internships are a dime a dozen now. I’m trying to think of the things that really stand out to me. No. Honestly, I can’t, because there are so many kids doing so many amazing things, that for me what I like to see are the kids who are doing what they want to do. The one thing that I don’t see often, that I encourage a lot, is getting a job. I mean, like a real teenage summer job, making smoothies, flipping burgers, chasing kids around a pool. William Fitzsimmons, the Dean of Admissions at Harvard talked about that a few years ago, and he has it on his website, where he was, you know what, I just want to see teenagers doing old fashioned teenage stuff, and stop the arms race, of the super-teenager.
00:16:56 Christine: Right.
Carolyn: That’s something that I don’t see often, are kids who just have a job. But that shows so many different aspects to admissions officers, in addition to making yourself into a better person. It shows resiliency. It shows leadership. It shows responsibility. It shows your willingness to get out of your comfort zone a little bit and be around people you might not ever be around again in your life. What I found is that the kids, even if they don’t need the money, the kids who put themselves out there for those jobs, do have interesting outcomes when it comes to writing their essays, because they have a whole different world to write about in their essays, that they might not have ever had. There’s a difference between going to work where you have a boss who is paying you hourly, versus going to an internship, where you’re not getting paid. There’s a big difference in the expectations of what they expect you to be doing. Your expectation of what you know you have to be doing, when you’re getting paid by somebody. I think it’s a good experience for kids. That is something I had. All three of my kids had jobs every summer and often during the school year, too.
Christine: That’s really good advice. Get a job.
00:18:07 Carolyn: Yes. That’s my first thing. Whenever kids come to me and say what do I need to do for extracurriculars, I’m always get a job, and then, find an independent project, and then, I go into my whole get involved with your life.
Christine: Love it. Love it. It’s great. Is there anything else you’d like to share about that topic in particular?
Carolyn: Here’s the thing that I say to pretty much every kid that comes in, because I often have kids on Reddit who haven’t had a lot of privilege. A lot of our kids on Reddit are coming from schools where they don’t have great college counseling, because they’re just overwhelmed with too many students, and there are first generation kids and low income kids. These parents haven’t had the experiences to be able to help them. They’ll come in and they’ll say I don’t have any extracurriculars because I have to work, or I don’t have any extracurriculars because I have to take care of grandma every day after school. What I have to tell them is those are your extracurriculars.
Christine: Yes. Yes.
00:19:04 Carolyn: What I say is keep in mind, anything you do outside of your classwork, your test prep and your homework, is considered an extracurricular. Think about that, too, as you’re spending your life, do you want it to be playing videos eight hours a day?
Carolyn: If that’s what it is, that’s what it is. Do you want it to be that your surfing Youtube videos and watching the Kardashians all day long? Because maybe that’s something you want to go into. Maybe you want to go into fashion, or not. Whatever it is you’re spending your time on, those are your extracurriculars. That’s jobs. That’s your family and home responsibilities. That’s elderly or child care. That’s your personal projects, that’s you interests, your hobbies, working out at the gym, whatever it is. Independent research. In addition to all the more typical things that we think of for high school kids, like in and out of school community service, clubs, sports. Those things that you’re doing, that’s what your extracurriculars are. I think a lot of people don’t understand that. A lot of people don’t get that oh, I have to take care of grandma every day, or my school doesn’t have clubs.
Christine: Right. Yes.
00:20:06 Carolyn: You don’t have to be in a club to have an extracurricular. It’s being involved in some way. You just write down what you did.
Christine: Yes. You’re so much more involved in life that way. It’s funny because you think there are parents who think well, my kid has straight A’s, my kid’s the president of the student body. My kid has done the vice-president of this, but they’re not the only one. Like you said before. That is your child is not the only one like that, that meets all of those qualifications, and it might be why they didn’t get into Harvard, because they’re not the only one.
Carolyn: Right. If you think about it, there’s 30,000 high schools in the United States. There’s 30,000 valedictorians, there’s 30,000 class presidents, and then, if you add on the vice-president, and the salutatorian, that’s a lot of kids. There’s only so many spaces. I think there’s 10,000 spaces. We have so many kids trying to get into that one little place, and that’s why I think it’s more important to be focused on your life, than about getting into any certain college. In fact, I came up with, yesterday, this is one of my new slogans. You’ll be the first one to hear it, but it’s switching getting in, I’m now going to start calling it getting inward.
00:21:24 Carolyn: Figuring out who you are, because that’s more important than getting in.
Christine: It is.
Carolyn: Getting inward doesn’t mean sitting and staring at your belly button all the time. It means also figuring out what you want to do, to be involved. I think that’s important for kids to understand. I know a lot of kids have to have jobs, and I think that they have to understand that that is their extracurricular.
Christine: I love getting inward. I don’t remember, I think it was one of my episodes about the major, and I’ve just seen so many people go through life and you do the next thing, you do the next thing, and you’re a lawyer, or you’re an accountant, or an author, whatever it is your career is, and then, your career ends for some reason. Maybe you’re sick. Maybe you get fired. Maybe you just don’t like it. If you don’t know who you are inward, that inward stuff, and you don’t know who you are, you have an identity crisis because you think you’re your job, and you’re not. I feel so strongly about this, I love that you’re doing this. If our kids can figure out who they are, before they even go to college, or tech school, or wherever they go, they are so ahead in life.
Christine: Everyone should know this.
00:22:41 Carolyn: Yes. This is why I started doing college counseling and college consulting, because I felt like it was an opportunity to help kids figure this out. There are so many kids who are literally suicidal over the stress of the whole process and about getting in, that what I want them to understand is that it doesn’t matter whether they get into a certain school or not. Extracurriculars are not about getting into college. Extracurriculars are about developing into the person you are, and helping yourself find that. It’s just become this super random weird checkbox that I hate, with things to do, and it’s really not. If you want to make a checkbox, think about it with your life.
Christine: Carolyn, maybe my child isn’t involved with their community much, do you have some suggestions on how they would go about doing that? Or some ideas?
00:23:38 Carolyn: Yes. I do. I think it’s important to be involved in your community, not necessarily for college purposes. For example, my own child was super involved in his community, but refused to put it on his college admissions applications because he felt like that was, I’ll use his word, gross. However, I feel like it’s important to be involved with your community, and I don’t think it’s gross to put it on your application, because it is what you’re doing, if you’re doing something. Here are few suggestions that pretty much any kid can do. Go to a food bank and make sandwiches. That’s a simple thing and they’re always looking for helpers. Go to a retirement home. This is where I think you can really make a big impact. If you’re a musician, go to retirement home and play your music on Sunday afternoons, no matter what instrument it is, even it’s your voice. But if you’re not a musician, there’s all sorts of other things you can do. You can play games with them. Awesome. Great. The activity that my kids did, that I felt was really meaningful and this did not come from me, it was from one of their teachers, that they would go and they would write down life stories. They would meet with the people and they would write down the life stories, then they would go home and put those stories into song form, and then go back and present the songs, and sing them. But you can do it in all sorts of ways. You can take that home and write another piece of paper in pretty writing, and do art around it and frame it, and give it to the family. Or you can just simply type it up and give it to the family. It doesn’t have to be anything too impressive or fancy. There’s all sorts of ways to do it. You can turn it into a poem and give it back to them. It’s such a treasure for the families to have this life story of someone. You’ll be amazed that they’ll hear stories that they never heard before.
00:25:19 Carolyn: They’re just willing to sit and talk. I think that’s such a treasure and a way to learn about the world, and history, also. Something that I do in honor of my mom, and that my kids have always helped me with, and I have the kids on Reddit doing it, too, is just to make goody bags for homeless people you see on street corners. You don’t have to be any certain age to do this. You just put in whatever you think might be helpful, we encourage bottled water, nuts, maybe some wipes or whatever it is that you think would be helpful to them. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on it. Whenever you see somebody on a street corner, give it to them. I usually put a little note in it, that just says, hey, somebody cares about you, and somebody’s thinking about you. We know life’s hard, but we just wanted you to know that there are people who care. I talked about the walking dogs and petting kittens at an animal shelter. There’s all sorts of ways to be involved that don’t have to be like, official.
00:26:10 Carolyn: You can still write it down. You can still put it on your application.
Christine: I think that’s important for parents to know.
Carolyn: Yes. There are so many other ideas out there beyond the few simple ones that I have, that people have. Those are some that I feel are easy for kids to just immediately jump into.
Christine: Love it. They’re great. I love the goody bags, too. As homeschoolers, we did a lot of visiting retirement center, and played bingo with them, and such.
Carolyn: They love that. Yes.
Christine: It was really nice. It was a good time.
Carolyn: They’re so grateful for the attention.
Christine: They are.
Carolyn: So many of them are so lonely.
Christine: Yes. I know you’re working on a couple of exciting things, so please, tell us about both your upcoming book and your app?
00:26:53 Carolyn: Okay. Great. My book is actually getting typecast right now, or ready to be printed, which is super exciting. It’s called, “Hey AdmissionsMom, Real Talk From Reddit.” Basically, it’s just conversations between me and the kids on Reddit, or between the kids and the kids, or the kids and other helpful adults. I have about 100 of their fellow ATC kids out of the 90,000, who agreed to be part of the book. I divided it into subjects, so it’s easy to just to turn to extracurriculars, or turn to essays, because on Reddit, it’s hard to find exactly what you’re looking for, because we’re constantly streaming and moving on. It’s divided into subject matter. It’s easy to just flip to that subject and read about that subject. You’ll find my opinion, my philosophy, but in addition to that, you’ll find the kids and what the kids are saying, and how the kids are helping each other, which is so amazing to me and what I love the most about, separate is watching the kids as they learn and help each other with this process. That’s the book. It should be out hopefully within the next month, finger’s crossed.
Christine: Oh. Congratulations!
00:28:01 Carolyn: Yes. Yes. Thank you. I’m so excited about that. The app is called CollegeVizzy. We have the landing page for it right now, at www.CollegeVizzy.com. It should also be out in beta version within the next month or so. College Vizzy started on the subreddit, and my first year I was on there, I was having at this time, kids were trying to decide between colleges and they were having to decide without ever visiting. I was trying to figure out how could they get the feeling of what it was like to visit, without ever visiting, because they would say, okay, I’ve gone and I’ve seen all the pictures. I’ve watched all the videos.
00:28:38 Carolyn: I’ve read what the reviews are on Google and Niche.com, and I still don’t know what it feels like. I want to know what it feels like. I had this idea of experience sharing between the kids who go to the colleges to visit, then to share what it feels like with the kids who can’t go. The kids who go to the colleges, I have 10 tasks for them to do, basically, on the college campus, that are the things that I tell them to do all the time, anyway, on the separate, when they go to college visits. For example, just like sitting on a bench, and putting your phone away, and just listening to the conversations around you, then writing them down. The kids who can’t visit, I’m hopeful that, if the app works, and is successful, if you can’t go visit, Trinity University in San Antonio, but two or three hundred kids have, then you can read through that enough to get a feel for what it was like to be able to be there. That’s what the app is. It’s kind of a social media experience sharing app, for what it’s like to visit for the kids who can’t.
Christine: Oh. I love it! It’s so expensive to visit.
00:29:47 Carolyn: It’s very expensive to visit, and prohibitively for many people, whether they’re around the world somewhere, or just on the other side of the United States.
Carolyn: Even if it’s driving distance, at three or four hours, sometimes their parents can’t take off.
Christine: It’s true. Yes.
Carolyn: To take them. I felt like it was a need for kids, and also, this lack of being able to visit prevents a lot of kids from being able to apply early decision, which is becoming a big issue these days, when schools are taking more than half their class in early decisions.
Carolyn: This way I’m hoping we can get a feel for it a little bit more.
Christine: Yes. It’s great. I love that idea! It’s fantastic. It will be great.
00:30:31 Carolyn: Hopefully, that will be out soon.
Christine: It’s will be great, not if. It’s going to be great. There’s a need. I know. Before you go, I have the four questions that I ask every guest of mine. They’re the most important, of course. Waffles or pancakes?
Carolyn: I would go with pancakes; however, I’m a Texas girl and so, in Texas we have breakfast tacos. I’m going to have to be a little bit different and go to breakfast tacos.
Christine: What is a breakfast taco? Is it an actual taco?
Carolyn: The breakfast one, you take a tortilla, and you put some eggs and salsa, and I like avocado and cheese in mine, and you roll it up and eat it.
Christine: That sounds really good. Maybe I come try one.
Carolyn: Yes. They’re delicious.
Christine: To be honest, I don’t eat wheat right now, or flour, so I don’t either anyway.
Carolyn: I actually take the tortilla off my breakfast taco.
Christine: What is one item you couldn’t live without, and why?
00:31:32 Carolyn: I gave a lot of thought to this question. A lot of things popped in my head. The first thing that popped in my head was diet Coke, but I’m gonna move on from that one. I think it really is meditation. I think the importance of being able to sit and be with myself, everyday, for even five minutes, and sometimes, it literally is only five minutes. Letting everything settle in, and turning inward, and finding the observer of my life, not the one who’s always doing things, and moving, and thinking, and craziness, but the observer. The one who kind of sits back and watches everything. Tapping into that is really important. I feel like when I don’t do it, and there are days I don’t, I can tell a difference. I can tell the difference in how I approach the world in my frenetic, oh, my God, oh, my God, versus I’m gonna just sit. Even five minutes will often make a big difference. I’m going to go with meditation for that, even though that’s not really a thing, but it is.
Christine: No. It is. It’s important. I like that. Good answer. Not that you’re being judged or graded. It’s all good. Your all-time favorite movie, and any particular reason?
Carolyn: “Forrest Gump.”
Christine: “Forrest Gump?”
00:32:57 Carolyn: “Forrest Gump,” for sure. There’s a few reasons, first of all, because it’s a family tradition movie. It’s one we watch on our driving trips across the country, so we all have it memorized in my family, the whole movie. I have this great family connection to it, just like when my kids were little watching that movie over and over. Also, it spoke to me, and it was a movie I wanted to be part of my kids’ life, because it was such an example of somebody living his life for himself. Living a good life, not worried about the opinions of others, really just living the life that he felt like he needed to live. If you really pay attention to the philosophy of the book and to Forrest, himself, he’s such a deep thinker in so many ways but yet, he doesn’t stop that. He doesn’t let that stop him from getting out and fulfilling his life’s goals at the time.
Christine: Right. Yes. I need to re-watch it now. It so good. It is so good.
Carolyn: It’s insane.
Christine: I listen to the music, actually it’s on my work playlist.
Carolyn: I do too. Yes. I was going to say the music is amazing, too.
00:34:01 Christine: I’m wondering if this is going to be meditation, too. You have an hour of alone time, no one will bother you, what is your go to thing to do?
Carolyn: I go for a walk. If I have an hour of alone time, and I’m gonna put on my walking shoes and put on my headphones, and get out. I like to be in nature. I have a bayou not far from here, and there’s a lot of birds and wildflowers, occasionally, and fish in the water. I just love to be in that and then, I also love music, so I listen to my music, or podcasts, or books, kind of depending on my mood. I kind of rotate among those three, or sometimes I just don’t listen to anything, and just pay attention to nature. Yes, it’s for a walk, for sure. But I like to walk for more than an hour, it’s usually two hours.
Christine: Is your weather good most of the year to walk?
Carolyn: In Houston?
Carolyn: In July, August, and September, I have to get up really early, because it’s just too hot during the day. As long as I’m up by 7:00, and walking, it’s good.
Christine: You can walk in January?
Carolyn: Oh, my gosh, yes.
00:35:05 Christine: I mean, I can, it’s just really cold.
Carolyn: Oh, no, no, no. Our weather from October through June is amazing.
Christine: Okay. Hubby and I are always talking about where we want to move to.
Carolyn: I’m wearing shorts in January frequently.
Christine: Nice. Good piece of information, everyone. It’s been fantastic having you join me. I’m so excited that you are here. Thanks for being here. Thanks for all that you do.
Carolyn: Thank you for having me.
Christine: You do so much, and I can’t wait to see what this app does. I’m so excited about it really.
Carolyn: Thank you.
Christine: Thanks for making the transition to college easier on the students and the parents. Well done.
Carolyn: Thank you very, very much. I appreciate being here, and your asking me.
Christine: Wonderful. I’m glad you said yes.
Carolyn: Thanks. Glad you asked me.
00:35:58 Christine: My friend, links to all resources and how to connect to AdmissionsMom will be in my show notes. Check them out on my website youremptynestcoach.com/p19, that’s P for Podcast, and the episode number 19. AdmissionsMom’s handle on Facebook, Instagram and Reddit, is AdmissionsMom, and on Twitter, she’s AdmissionsMom_.
If you’re ready to dig in and create a change in your own life that impacts both you and those around you, I invite you to join my upcoming coaching program. Be sure to get on my waitlist as space is always limited. The questions I have for you in this episode are: Did AdmissionsMom give you a new perspective on extracurriculars? Number two, how do you feel about extracurriculars? Fly on over to our Facebook group, our name is Green Popsicle Sticks. Want to know why? Listen to episode number 17, or head to my website, youremptynestcoach.com/community for links to join our flock. Why should you join our group? Well, the adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. We look forward to seeing you there. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. You’ll also find show notes for this and every episode on my website.
My next episode’s title is: You’ve Found Future You, Now for the How. If you are a first time listener, or even if you’ve listened before, and you’ve enjoyed this podcast, I have a favor to ask. If you could take the time to subscribe to this podcast, that would be fantastic. It is free, after all. Also, if you have an extra moment to give this podcast a five-star rating, it will help other future empty nest mothers to find it when they need it. Thanks for your time and energy with that, and thanks for listening, my empty nest friend. Remember, you are amazing!
Hello, my future empty nest friend. I’m jumping in your feed, yet again, this week – to make a quick announcement about an upcoming college fair that I will attending in April.
If you are in the Greater Philadelphia area; have a rising sophomore, junior or senior; and want the opportunity to meet with college admission counselors from over 300 colleges and universities – this is THE place for you.
Hello, my future empty nest friend. I’m jumping in your feed, yet again, this week – to make a quick announcement about an upcoming college fair that I will attending in April.
If you’re attending that fair – when mom (or Dad) starts to get anxious about all that is involved, head over to my table – I’ll show you how to subscribe to my free podcast online, if you haven’t already; and I’m happy to listen. I’ve been where you are, my friend.
You are going to be okay. It is a big transition ahead but with the right resources, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Links with more details may be found on my website : YourEmptyNestCoach.com/MainLineFair2019
I hope to see you there!
Thanks for listening! Have a great day and remember – You. Are. Amazing.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 14: What To Do Before Going to College: Now That the Decision Has Been Made, What Should We Do Next? … Hello, my empty nest friend! Super excited! This is my first episode with a guest for the entire episode. One full guest. My guest today is Anne Vaccaro Brady. Anne is the founder of Parents’ Guide to the College Puzzle, a blog that helps families navigate the college admission process and freshman year experience. … Anne is here to share with you her list of most important things that you need to keep on your radar once your child has officially decided what college they will be calling home for the upcoming years.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 14: What To Do Before Going to College: Now That the Decision Has Been Made, What Should We Do Next? This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that has been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it is freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my empty nest friend! Super excited! This is my first episode with a guest for the entire episode. One full guest. My guest today is Anne Vaccaro Brady. Anne is the founder of Parents’ Guide to the College Puzzle, a blog that helps families navigate the college admission process and freshman year experience. She is the mom of two college graduates and her goal is to alleviate much of the stress parents experience when their children apply to college.
Anne shared some fun facts about her with me. In her younger years, she was the advice columnist for the teenage magazine, Sassy. She is a writer and has authored three young adult contemporary novels. Her third one is currently on submission to agents. I’m sending her really good vibes on that. Anne also, currently works with high school seniors on their college applications and essays. Anne enjoys helping her clients shape their unique interests and talents into a compelling package to share with their perspective schools. Anne is here to share with you her list of most important things that you need to keep on your radar once your child has officially decided what college they will be calling home for the upcoming years.
If you’re driving, or are on the treadmill, don’t worry. I have created a list for you with all of Anne’s, and a few of my recommendations. You find this downloadable checklist in my show notes, on my website, youremptynestcoach.com/P14. That’s P for podcast, and episode number 14, P14. I’m going to turn this over to today’s expert, Anne.
Anne: Thank you, Christine. Let’s start with orientation. Number one: I call this a family affair, because at least one parent is usually required to attend. Most colleges schedule their sessions throughout late spring and summer. Because your student makes their class schedule during orientation, I suggest signing up for the earliest session that fits your family’s schedule. Remind your student, this is very important, to read their college emails, because that’s where they’ll find any requirements and details on orientation, like that all-important online placement test they must take before hand, which my son did not do, until he arrived.
Number two: Second-guessing. It’s perfectly normal for your teenager to wonder if they picked the right school, right after you sent the check with the deposit. Whether they chose to go away or commute, they may doubt their decision. A lot of it is fear of the unknown. College is portrayed as that first step into adulthood, and that’s scary. Be supportive. Remind your teen of the reasons why they chose this school, and that they’re ready for this, but this is not the time to share how much you’re going to miss them and add to their anxiety.
Christine: Isn’t that the truth? Oh, my goodness. We had that and my daughter, she didn’t have many college options because she went four years early, so there weren’t many options, and they decided to allow the college to be co-ed, and it wasn’t that way when she started the application process, so it turned into this huge “what am I doing.” It was a little earlier in the process, it wasn’t March or April, but it was December or January when we came up on this and we actually went and looked at local colleges for her, and then she was finally, “Yes, this is where I need to be.” We had that, totally.
Anne: Yes. It’s very normal. Sometimes they have it after orientation, once they’re there. That can happen also. We’ve had that one. They all get themselves back on track —
Christine: They do.
Anne: — and, remember why they wanted to go there.
Christine: Yes. Us moms need to keep our own emotions in check.
Christine: For sure, because it’s not a time to make them feel bad about leaving home.
Anne: No. You do not say, “you’re going to be so far away, what am I going to do without you?”
Anne: You keep that all to yourself.
Christine: That’s true.
Anne: Be the adult in the room.
Anne: Number three: You have to keep your senior focused. Final grades are reported to their college, so they really can’t slack off, and if they’re taking any AP and IB courses, those exams matter, because they can receive that college credit for all their hard work. They need to be focused.
Anne: Number four: Check that those AP and IB scores are sent to the college. This is important for making their class schedule at orientation. You don’t want to sign up for Calc A and B, if you already took it in high school and received a score that should get you credit at this college. They can confirm or request their scores were sent through the College Board, or their IB accounts online.
Christine: Yes. Do you have more on that?
Anne: No. Unless you want to add?
Christine: Yes. What I want to add is my daughter had dual enrollment credits, and what we found is that even though the credits were transferred and they came through admission, they didn’t automatically make it to the Registrar’s Office. We actually had to follow-up, do that extra step. We didn’t get it by September. Luckily, it didn’t affect her GenEd’s but it is something to be on top of, that not all colleges automatically do that. You would think they would, but they don’t.
Anne: That’s true. You might be able to check your student account before you go to orientation to see if they actually list anything there as well.
Anne: If you have a printout of your scores, or the dual enrollment papers, you might be able to bring those as well, to show your counselor or your advisor, who you’re working with at orientation.
Christine: Yes. Looking back, I think that’s what I would do. I would just send her with a copy of all of that.
Anne: Yes. It’s true. I think that is the way to go, to have it confirmed. Yes. They at least know who to follow-up with on the other end.
Anne: Number five is moving off the waitlist. If your senior was placed on a waitlist, they should write a letter to that college stating why this is their top choice school, and add any awards or achievements they’ve had since they originally applied. They should also place a deposit on their second choice school, because you want to be sure they have a college to attend in the fall. They won’t hear if they’ve been accepted off the waitlist until after May 1st, which is National Decision Day. If they have, then they need to inform the school where they placed a deposit and other schools where they’re on the waitlist that they will not be attending those schools.
Christine: This is good. I feel like there could be a whole episode on waitlists.
Anne: Yes. Number six is medical forms and other health matters. Colleges usually require your student has a physical and specific vaccinations before they come to campus, so schedule that physical and make sure the vaccinations are included. Sooner, rather than later. You want all this taken care of before your child goes to college in August, and remember to bring the forms from the college to that appointment, so that they get filled out in time.
Anne: At that visit, your child should talk with their doctor about staying healthy at college and if they’re on any prescriptions medications that they take regularly, whether they should stay on them, or go off and why. You and your teen should make a plan about if you have prescription refills, how they’re going to get those and maybe, if they need allergy shots, where they’re going to get those on campus, so that’s all taken care of in advance, and they’re not scrambling once they get there.
You might also want to consider getting a healthcare proxy, because if your student is over 18, they are considered an adult by the college and the medical community. You don’t have to be informed if they have a visit to the hospital, receive any medical treatment, any mental health services or having any medical issues. Having a healthcare proxy can help if you are called and they know that you have that information. Usually, your student can give them your information. They can say, “you can call my parents,” but some kids don’t want their parents to know, so be aware that could happen.
Number seven is finalize how to pay the college bill. Confirm where the money’s coming from. If you have a 529 plan, if you have savings, CDs, if grandma and grandpa are helping out, if your child has savings, any scholarships or loans, know what’s available and how you’re going to access it. If you or your student plans to take any federal or private loans, this is really important, only borrow as much as you need. I always advise people to use loans as a last ditch effort. You don’t want to put yourselves in debt if you don’t need to be. Your teen may receive scholarships or grants from their college. They have to go online to accept those. If they don’t press the little button that says they accept, they won’t receive them. That’s very important. They can find that on their account and their billing site. If your student is receiving any scholarships from local organizations, keep on that organization to get that money, because you want it to help pay the tuition bill. If it’s coming June or July, you really need to be on top of them if the money has not already been sent to the college, or if you have not received the check directly. Check the college’s website to learn how you actually pay the tuition bill. It’s going to be online. It’s either going to be withdraw from an account, a checking or savings account. It could be moved from a 529 account. It could be a credit card. There are other options. Colleges also have monthly plans, as well as semester plans, so become familiar with that now, so that it’s not a scramble in the end, come August.
Anne: That’s what I have, so back to you Christine.
Christine: That is great advice. There is something Anne said earlier, that I cannot stress enough, is to have your child check their email.
Christine: I know in this day and age, my daughter does not check her email.
Christine: It’s not a normal thing. Also, something I’ve noticed is that a lot of students have their primary email is their school, like their high school, and their high school will block the emails coming from a college.
Anne: That’s interesting.
Christine: I have seen that, so make sure that you are getting all your emails. If you feel like you should be getting something from a college and you’re not, you may want to give them a call and just see what email address they have and that it’s going through. That email is really important to check.
Anne: Yes. I heard some families actually set up a specific email for college emails that both the parent and the child can have access to.
Christine: That’s what we did.
Anne: That can be helpful as well.
Christine: It worked really well. Yes. It worked good, because parents are checking it.
Christine: I do know that.
Christine: I have three to add to Anne’s wonderful list. My first is make a communication plan, and this sounds really formal, but it’s not. It comes from the fact that I have a lot of friends with their children in college, that their child goes off to college and then, they don’t hear from them. They don’t get a text. They don’t get anything and they’re highly frustrated over the fact that they’re not getting these texts. What happens is, the parent has an idea of how their child should communicate with them, but that has not been communicated to the child.
Christine: Especially, if you’re paying for this college.
Christine: I think it’s fair for you to say, “hey, I need to know you’re alive, text me every week and just say something,” or I need more than, “hi, I’m good.” Give me a little more detail. Whatever that is for you, I think it’s really important to do ahead of time, and it will save everyone a headache at the end. Some families have group family texts, which is nice.
Anne: Yes. We didn’t.
Christine: Because the siblings who aren’t in school, you can all keep up. I love that idea.
Anne: You should also check their social media accounts, because that will tell you if they got up that day and made it to class on time, sometimes.
Christine: That is true.
Anne: Talk a little and just see if they like something or posted something, and that might give you an indication of how they’re doing that day.
Christine: That is great.
Anne: I also have friends who schedule, if they want to do phone calls, it was Sunday at 2:00, was their time. I had one who texted a lot and called a lot, and one who didn’t. That was an interesting approach.
Christine: It is. Yes. You work it out for the child, because they’re all different.
Anne: Yes. They’re all different.
Christine: Luckily, mine will FaceTime and we get all caught up on everything, but I know everyone’s child isn’t like that.
Anne: Right. Yes.
Christine: My next point, or thing to do, is get the school’s calendar on your schedule. Most schools you’ll be able to find this on their website, multiple years out, so you can find when the move-in day is, when the start of the semester and the end of the semester, the winter breaks, if there’s an extra May term. All those things, so you can start to plan things like your vacations. If they’re out-of-state you need to think about travel arrangements, as well as doctor appointments, because if they come home, you’re going to find your winter break is a lot of doctor appointments you’re filling in.
Anne: Yes. You can find that, it’s listed as the Academic Calendar. I think that’s what it’s called. You can search the website in the little search box, and also, keep in mind, because my kids did have to fly home from college, and we would do flights early, then after the freshman year, we learned that even though the holiday break is scheduled for the Wednesday before, or December 15th, or something, some professors will cancel class December 12th and 13th. We’ve learned that sometimes it’s okay to schedule it a little bit sooner if it fits our schedule or our price.
Christine: That is a good point.
Anne: Keep that in mind. You might schedule something, or your students plan on coming home, and they’ll go, “oh, I can actually be done two days early.”
Anne: It’s okay if they’re getting a ride with their friend, but if they’re flying, it’s a little more complicated.
Christine: That is. That is great advice. Yes. I’m usually picking mine up and I drive a long time, so I’m like, I’m sorry, you’re stuck there, until I can get there.
Christine: That is good. My last thing is to make a fun to-do list. Just think out five years from today, and what are things that you wish you would have done now, that you can do together? Whether it’s a hobby, whether it’s binge-watching a movie, whether it’s going to a museum you always said you would go to, but you never did. Plan things like that to do before they go, because everything changes a little when they go to college. It’s not bad, it’s just very different. It’s a good time to capture that. I’d also recommend doing date times for you and your partner, so go out with your daughter, and then, have your husband or partner take them out and do something solo. I think that’s a really good time to make memories.
Anne: My other piece to add to that is realize that just because your child’s in college, doesn’t mean family vacations end. So many parents say, “oh, my kid’s in college, they’re never going to want to go on vacation.” Kids will always want to go on a free trip, so don’t worry about it. They still come along, generally.
Christine: That is great. It is awesome. I love this list so much, Anne. I wish I had it when we were at this point. It would have helped me tremendously.
Anne: Me, too.
Christine: Yes. It’s good you do this. Thank you.
Anne: Yes. My pleasure.
Christine: Since Anne is my first full episode guest, she gets to be the first person to answer my questions that every guest will get going forward. Anne, waffles or pancakes?
Anne: Pancakes with blueberries.
Christine: Nice. What is one item you couldn’t live without and why?
Anne: My iPhone, because it carries everything, my music collection, my pictures, an easy way to communicate with my family. I can turn it off when I want to, and not communicate with people when I don’t want to. I feel like it holds your whole life. You have access to your news. The music thing is always important to me. It’s amazing I can carry that in one little container.
Christine: That’s awesome.
Anne: It’s my iPhone.
Christine: Excellent. Number four, you have an hour of alone time, no one will bother you, what is your go-to thing to do?
Anne: It’s a choice usually, between watch a show no one in my family is interested in, or read a book.
Christine: Nice. Wonderful. Thank you, again, Anne, for being here and for being my guinea pig. It’s been such a pleasure.
Anne: It’s been fun. Thanks so much for having me, Christine.
Christine: Anne with an E. Keep that, and both links are in my show notes, and don’t forget to download our checklist, youremptynestcoach.com/P14. The questions I have for you in this episode are:
1) Do you have a question about what is next in the college process, that you would like addressed in an upcoming episode?
2) Do you have a tip to share with us, before getting ready for college?
Fly on over to our Empty Nest Flock at youremptynestcoach.com/community to share your answers with the entire flock. You’ll find everything you need to connect with the flock there. Feel free to also answer the question on your phone’s voice memo app and email it to email@example.com for potential inclusion in an upcoming episode. I also have a new Facebook community, just for this podcast. It’s at emptynestpodcast is our groups name. It looks like this may be our flock’s home base moving forward, so come on over and join in.
Why should you join our flock? The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. I look forward to seeing you there, and it is free. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that impact your life in a positive way.
In my next episode, I am going to talk about being brave when your child picks a school that, to you, is just so far away. Let’s talk about being that emotional adult in the room.
Thank you so much for listening, my friend, and remember, you are amazing!
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 10, What Your College Enrollment Management Office Wants You to Know About Admission and Financial Aid. … I thought I would take advantage, for you, of the fact that I have access to some amazing admission and financial aid staff members.
Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 10, What Your College Enrollment Management Office Wants You to Know About Admission and Financial Aid. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy with volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that’s been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it’s freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my empty nest friend! Episode 10 is here. I’m in double digits and I am super excited. This episode is a bit of a crossover episode for me. This is because I spend my 9:00 to 5:00-ish hours working in the Enrollment Management Division at Ursinus College. Ursinus is a College that Changes Livescollege. If you’ve never heard of that, check out the link in my show notes. Ursinus is a private liberal arts college, located in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. The campus is beautiful. The faculty is engaged with students and we have a brand new, gorgeous Science Center. Ursinus College is definitely worth checking out, if you’ve never heard of us. There’s just way to much to list in this podcast.
I thought I would take advantage, for you, of the fact that I have access to some amazing admission and financial aid staff members. They kindly have shared with me their most important things to know about the enrollment process. All guests on this episode were asked to respond to the question: what is one thing you would like parents and/or students to understand about the enrollment process? I hope you enjoy this and learn some things.
My name is Ashling Suppan, and I’m the Assistant Director of Student Financial Services. My advice to families going through the enrollment process, is that it should be a collaborative effort. Parents shouldn’t do everything for students, but they also shouldn’t throw them in the deep end without any help. Work together towards your common goal, which is the student’s future.
Hi guys, this is Doug Ulrich, one of the Assistant Directors of Admission at Ursinus College, and I think my best advice for parents, specifically first-generation students and parents, is to don’t be afraid to ask questions and educate yourself. There are a lot of resources that are out there, whether it’s through your local high school, or your community college, or just any college that you’re looking at, to go speak to somebody about financial aid or understand the FAFSA, or whatever you’re having any questions about. Don’t be afraid to reach to your Admissions Counselor. That’s what we’re there for. Email us, call us, text us if it’s allowed, but don’t be afraid to ask any questions. It’s never too early to get started within the college application process or the enrollment process and let us try to ease your mind as much as we can. That way we can make the transition from high school to college as seamless as possible.
Alyssa Worrilow, Associate Director of Admission. The one thing that I would like parents and/or students to understand about the enrollment process is if you plan ahead of time you can have a lot of fun with it and you should make it fun, because this is a really important time in your lives, and it is a fun process because you’re exploring where you’re going to be spending, hopefully, the next four years of your life. You’re going to be planning trips and doing research, and if you’re not so stressed out about it, and you plan efficiently, then it can be a lot of fun, and you can make projects together. Just have fun with it. Don’t stress out, and of course, like I said, if you do enough planning in the beginning, it will be fun.
Hi, everyone. This Shawn Kennedy, Assistant Director of Admission, here at Ursinus. When asked what is one thing that is not stressed enough is your admissions counselor really can be a great resource for you. The college, we’re already here for you. We already want to help, regardless of the institution that you end up ultimately choosing, your admission counselor really cares about you and wants you to be successful, wherever you are, wherever you’re going to reach that full potential. I definitely wish I knew that kind of going through the process as I didn’t have a lot of people to rely on. I wish I knew I could rely on the Admission staff more often throughout the entire process.
Hi, my name is Destinee Harper, and I am an Assistant Director of Admissions at Ursinus College. If there was one thing I could advise parents during the enrollment process, for their child, when they’re looking for college. I would say utilize the guidance counselor’s office or the college advising office, whatever the student has at their school. Really have the student go to those visits when the colleges come and to talk about different programs at whatever school, so they can learn more about the school. I say also, to utilize the admissions team at a college. Ask as many questions you can. Talk to Financial Aid about FAFSA, scholarship information, loans, educating parents about loans, and that understanding that it could be a necessary evil for your child to go to school, but you necessarily won’t be in debt for life. There’re other options about taking smaller loans versus a big one. Lastly, I say visit the school. Do interviews at the school. If the school has that available for them, so the student can show the admissions team, who are going to be reviewing the application how great they are, and how well rounded they are, because sometimes the application doesn’t reflect that. Also, visiting the campus so you can see people like to go there, and for their parents can be comfortable leaving their child there for four years. That’s the advice I would give.
My name is Jesse Randall, and I’m the Associate Director of Student Financial Services. One thing I wish that parents would know going into the whole admission process and the financial aid process, specifically, is that we are on the same side as you. The reason I’m in this job is because I want to be an advocate for students and despite sometimes having to deliver bad news, it’s not something that I enjoy doing. It’s typically regarding regulations that I have to deliver bad news. At the end of the day, all I’m trying to do is help the student out as best as I can.
There we have it. Aren’t they great? Should you have any specific questions that were not answered here, or mentioned, that you would like answered in an upcoming episode, please feel free to email me. I will mention the email address in just a moment. If you would like another episode like this, definitely let me know that too. I would also love to do an episode of what is one thing that parents want college admission officers to know, and I’d love to do one from the student’s point of view as well. If you would like to participate in that, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put guest in the subject line. I would also like to take a moment to state that this episode is not sponsored by Ursinus College. Actually, I’ve made it a commitment in my first year of podcasting, and potentially for all of my years of podcasting, to not have any outside sponsors. I hope you like that, and if you do, thank The Minimalists. If you want to keep it that way, be sure to share my podcasts on social media, or with someone you think would benefit from it. You are the best. Thanks!
The questions I have for you in this episode are: 1) If you could tell your child’s college enrollment team one thing, what would you want them to know? If you answer that, and you’d like to be included on the podcast, just write podcast okay, in there.
2) What is the most important thing for you, in your child’s college search? Meaning, what’s the one thing? Is it they need to be an hour away from you or less? Or, is it cost? Or is it a major for them? I’m really curious. What’s the most important thing for you in your child’s college search. Great. I invite you to fly over to my Empty Nest Flock Community at youremptynestcoach.com/community to share your answers to this episode’s questions and a reminder to sign up for my free Thursday Thoughts email. There I will send you weekly thoughts on what is on my mind, as well as updates on my coaching programs and podcasts. As always, if you have a question you would like me to answer on my podcast, you may submit it to me in the Empty Nest Flock Community Forum or email me at email@example.com. Include your question and how you would like me to refer to you or, if at all. My next episode’s title is Misery Loves Company, But What Does That Get You?
It is listener feedback time. I would like to share listener feedback in my episodes going forward and I’ll start with my very first Apple podcast review. This one is titled It’s Mine, I Like It, and it says, giving my own review to see how it works. Thank for checking this out. Yes, the writer of that review is Your Empty Nest Coach, me, but I would love to read your review in the future, so don’t be shy. Thank you so much for listening, and remember, you are amazing!