Mission statement

What should seniors and juniors be doing right now?

What should seniors and juniors be doing right now?

This is a tough line to walk, senior year. On one hand, you really ought to be shifting your focus to next year. You have a lot of big decisions to make, and you need to allocate time and resources to working on strong applications and making informed decisions. Your daily high school homework isn’t quite as compelling as it was a year ago. On the other hand, you also need to be preparing yourself to be a good college student, and the best way to prepare for college is to be a good high school student.

Making a useful college mission statement

Making a useful college mission statement

Last weekend I went to see Ocean's 8 with my wife. We're fans of the story: I've seen the 1960 original with Frank Sinatra and the "Rat Pack," the 2001 re-make with George Clooney and Julia Roberts, the not-so-great sequels Ocean's 12 and Ocean's 13, and now this new one. Except Ocean's 8, I've seen them all multiple times. They're well-executed, elegant cinematography to look at, and they're clever. The movies are just smart enough that you don't feel like you're watching mind-numbing entertainment, but don't actually require a whole lot of thinking. 

And while I was watching Ocean's 8, I was thinking a lot about college admissions. Partly because thinking about college admissions is just what I do, even on the weekend, but also because I've used the "bank heist movie" analogy for college applications before.

My talk with seniors

My talk with seniors

Last week I had a chance to go over to my neighborhood high school and talk with juniors and seniors in their International Baccalaureate program. The students sent three questions ahead of the visit, and I had a chance to respond. I'm repeating the questions and answers here, because I think these are pretty common questions for college-bound students.

If you have other questions, leave them in the comments or email me. I'd love to talk about them!

Summer's almost over

Summer's almost over

Depending on how your school calendar works, you probably have somewhere between two and six weeks of summer left. If your house is anything like mine, you're beginning to run out of planned activities and good ideas. So I thought I'd give some suggestions to smart and ambitious high school students for wrapping up the summer.

Using your college mission statement

Using your college mission statement

I've written about how and why to craft a college mission statement, but I want to follow up with more detail and give a sense of how you might use the mission statement to help make your college search more efficient and effective.

This week I had a great coaching session with a client working on her mission statement, so let me walk you through what we did.

Last-minute decisions

Last-minute decisions

The deadline for most seniors to accept or decline most admissions offers is coming up soon--May 1. You may have already made that decision a while ago. If so, congratulations! (And thanks for continuing to read my blog!) But if you're still struggling to choose between two schools, or three schools, or seven schools or however many, then you may be looking for some help. 

Here are some more exercises to help you make that final decision, ordered from most serious to most arbitrary.

Writing your college mission statement

Writing your college mission statement

I normally hate mission statements. Ideally, a mission statement is honest, written well, to the point, helpful, and something that directs the group on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, no mission statement actually meets all those criteria. Personal, as opposed to organization, mission statements are even worse. They're usually so grandiose and vague that there's no way they can actually direct a person's energy and actions toward a better future. To my thinking, a feasible and actionable to-do list for tomorrow is almost always going to be better than a big fuzzy mission statement that covers the next three years.

But the thing is, college admissions season is actually a pretty good time to write a mission statement.