When you think of energy do you think of that pink rabbit endlessly playing the bass drum?
Or how about a Jack Russell Terrier? Described as a charming, affectionate and lively dog that is also a handful to train and manage. And don’t try to cage a Jack Russell. He’ll bust through those wires and wreak havoc on your living room. (So I’ve heard.)
To help you identify your passion, you need to think about what energizes you. Quickly make a list of a few things that you never get tired of doing.
What gets you up in the morning?
What keeps you up at night?
Where do you focus your boundless energy?
When you identify what energizes your life, you’ll find the keys that unlock and identify your passion.
You also need to think about out what or who drains your energy. Does that environment, person, or situation slow you down and put you in a cage? Find ways to eliminate those “energy vampires” (as Jon Gordon calls them). Doing so will free you to do your best work.
Additionally, realizing what changes you want to make in your life can give you insights into your passion. In a blog about traits that accelerate your influence at work, Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis wrote that “passion is what fuels your intention and strategies for creating change.”
Glenn encourages us to talk about what excites us most with others. It may open doors of opportunity within your circle of influence at your church or in your community. He wrote, “your passion defines the magnitude of the impact you seek to create.”
What are you seeking to create?
Energize your life today!
Experiencing life helps teenagers focus their energy and identify their passion.
You can narrow down your career choices while practicing physical distancing by volunteering remotely, earning online certifications, developing a hobby, learning a skill, or getting a part-time job in industries that energize you.
Experience gives you opportunities to fail in a safe environment while you develop transferable skills.
Perhaps you have an answer when asked “what do you love to do?”
I love to fish. I love to draw. I love to code. I love to play basketball. I love it when I win the Battle Royale.
In his book, “Reset: How to get paid and love what you do,” author Dustin Peterson asks the reader to dig deeper. He asks, “what do you love about what you love to do?” Finding those answers will reveal the talent that drives your passion which leads to transferable skills for you to develop. It may take time for you to really develop your skills before getting noticed.
Here are three simple ways to gain experience:
The first way to gain experience is to EARN.
Earn a paycheck at a part-time job doing work. Yes, work. Mowing lawns, filling orders, bagging groceries, or stocking shelves will teach you many skills and disciplines that you can apply anywhere.
Earn certifications in coding, accounting, Microsoft Office, or other skilled areas.
Earn micro-credentials from local colleges.
Jennifer Tardy encourages us to “keep thinking about your career path and think about what skills you have today that are transferable to another industry.”
The second way to gain experience is to LEARN.
Learn from webinars, masterclasses, and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). Visit Class Central for list of all free and paid MOOCs.
Learn from reading magazines and lots and lots of books.
The third way to gain experience is to INTERN.
Unfortunately, 34% of summer internships have been cut or cancelled because of Covid-19.
So you’ll need to network to find projects or online volunteer options. Visit local job boards, LinkedIn, or state workforce websites for opportunities.
If you are at least 16 years old, set up your LinkedIn and social media profiles. I would encourage you to take the social media course through Social Assurity (save $250 using the coupon code BRETT2020 when you check out). Know that 36% of admissions officers view college applicants’ social media and 32% said what they found had a negative impact (Kaplan Survey).
Whether you earn, learn, or intern, remember that what you know is not as important as what you’ve learned. While a degree will open the door, your skills will help you soar.
Experience life today!
Everyone wants to enjoy life.
You are in a place where you are free to create life exactly the way you want, with no constraints or limitations.
When you realize what you enjoy about life, it will help you identify your passion.
Pay attention to what you spend your time doing, reading, talking, and thinking about. Take inventory on your hobbies, friendships, and above experiences.
Some of your passions will not turn into a career. You may be a volunteer coach or mentor. You may write lines of poetry to relieve stress. You may draw simply because it makes you smile.
Enjoy life today!
As you add up what energizes you, your experiences, and what you enjoy, you eventually turn your passion into a career.
Addressing the impact of coronavirus on the economy, The New Yorker published a story about Kelly Bates, “a forty-one-year-old single mom who lives with her nine-year-old daughter a middle-income neighborhood of aging red-brick row houses a few miles from the Philadelphia airport.”
While working as an assistant director at a chain of local child-care centers, she is also earning her bachelor’s degree in early-childhood education. She said that, “Babies are my passion. I’m part mom, part dad, part therapist, part doctor, and part food-program officer.”
BEFORE YOU GO
Do you think your passion could be your higher calling?
Don’t be like Alice in Wonderland asking for directions on where to go but not caring where she went. Register for my FREE WEBINAR on how to connect fast growing careers to God's calling on your life!
And remember, “All things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Some of you are DONE and some of you are SO CLOSE to walking (six feet apart) across the graduation finish line. Here are a few things to remember as you prepare to attend college in the fall.
 Celebrate your accomplishment! You did it!
 Check in with your college – weekly. Some colleges are starting on campus classes in August, September, or October. Some will be completely online for the fall semester. Some won't make a final decision until early August.
 Schedule student orientation. Many colleges are holding orientations online or delaying until just before the fall semester. Either way, orientation usually includes valuable advising information and allows you to register for classes.
 Submit your final transcript and other required documents.
 Say thank you! Tell teachers, counselors, mentors, tutors, coaches and others that have helped you, “Thank you”. Give SPECIAL thanks and appreciation to your parents and family for support. Invite them to remain a part of your community to help you succeed in college!
 Make summer meaningful. Plan to work, improve your study skills, learn something new, or spend time (whether online or in person) with friends and family this summer. Save any money you earn for when you start college in the fall.
 Check your health records. Get your physical. Confirm your health insurance. Purchase a small first-aid kit. Maintain your exercise and nutrition routine over the summer. Don't allow the Freshman 15 to piggy back on the Quarantine 15.
 Reaffirm your higher calling and determination to graduate with a bachelor's in four years!
In the previous blog, I started sharing three tips to help you break through the walls and obstacles in your life that could be preventing you from accomplishing your goals. Once you are ready to forget your life, you’ll be prepared to finish the race and focus on the task.
FINISH THE RACE
Many of us are good at starting things. We start projects...
We start digital scrapbooks...
We start running…
We start movie subscription services...
We start college…
We start cooking…
But we don’t finish.
It took years of running marathons before my friend Mike qualified for the Boston Marathon. After starting strong with 7-minute per mile pace, his glycogen depleted while negative thoughts and fatigue filled his mind and body. But he was determined to push through mile 18 and mile 19 because he didn’t come this far to drop out of the Boston Marathon. Before Mike could finish, he had to start.
One way to stay in the race is to start. Mike started with 5Ks before running marathons.
In a post for CrusherTV, a program to help people with ADHD conquer procrastination, Alan Brown wrote:
“Think back to Dr. Neil Fiore’s wise advice (not to worry about finishing – and instead, setting a time to just start). This is itself a great procrastination hack. But it’s not always so easy to “just start” when there’s a powerful sense of overwhelm and dread; or when we’re reluctant to begin because we know we’ll just get bogged down soon after starting; or when we just don’t know where to start.
Hack #2 solves this. It is simply to give yourself permission to fail.
That’s right. Drop all expectations of any success, let alone finishing. The only thing you need to do is start, with no demand on yourself other than to give it a few minutes’ effort.
If you start and bang away for 45 seconds then give up? That’s a victory. If you re-start and bang away for 5 more minutes but then get stuck? Victory! Twelve minutes? VICTORY!!”
At the beginning of a semester, it’s okay to try different clubs, activities, and sit in on classes. Eventually, you need to finish starting and start finishing. You start finishing by making and keeping commitments to others and to yourselves.
Another way to stay in the race is to finish. Beth Main shared tips on “How to Finish What You Start.” For people with ADHD or ADD, “keeping a mental to-do list just doesn't work. It takes up brain bandwidth you could be using for other things. You forget stuff, and then remember while you're in the middle of doing something else.” People who are impulsive can be stressful themselves and others. Main recommends “detailed planning” to stay on task.
Work with your admissions officer, advisor, or professor to create a course of action for your major. Review your plan at the end of each semester, quarter, or block and make necessary adjustments.
At Spalding University (Louisville, KY), their block scheduling allows students to take one or two classes every six weeks, with one week between blocks. This allows athletes to take one class while focusing on their sport and students with learning disabilities to focus on a few concentrated classes instead of four and a lab for sixteen weeks.
Work with a college pastor or spiritual mentor to grow deeper in your faith while away at college. Too many students quit following Jesus because their faith was shallow – like seeds tossed on a sidewalk.
Develop a habit of praying, reading and studying the Bible, serving others, discipling others, and worshiping God with a local church.
And don’t procrastinate until Christmas. The first six weeks of the new school year is formative to your success. Beth Main shared two reasons why we put things off: “disorganization — you aren't clear on what you need to do — and disinterest — you don't feel like doing it.” Be creative and implement personal rewards and consequences each semester. Celebrate small successes to help you remain committed to finish the race.
If you are not committed to Christ, any obstacle or hill or crisis can knock you out of the race. During the 2006 Winter Olympics, snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis lost the cross-country gold when she fell – showboating or "snow"boating – on the last hill. The one thing Paul wanted to do was finish the race. Your life matters to God. So even when the course is difficult, finish the race by continuing to grow in your faith, honor God, and serve others.
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” The first step to finishing the race is taking the first step. And Paul is confident “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
FOCUS ON THE TASK
Despite the obstacles, Paul remained focused. He wanted to complete the task of sharing God’s grace with everyone without hesitation. It’s okay to struggle with your faith in college. Just don’t do it in isolation. Along with joining a local church, connect with a group of dormmates, people on your intramural kickball team, or co-workers and focus on the task.
Like I mentioned in the previous post, too many students are not getting the higher education they need to fulfill God’s calling in their life. God wants to equip you to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people you work with in your industry.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Paul, Acts 20:24).
Are you ready to finish?
Student-athletes who run cross country, swim long distances, or endure long tennis matches know that moment when they have to decide to dig deep to stay in the race or give up and fall on their faces. You know that pushing yourself mentally and physically to compete and complete the race, swim, or match would be the best story ever! It’s also just as easy to grab a protein drink and a shower when your mind and body are ready to end the madness.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the educational race, more than 25 percent of high school students drop out before graduation. More than 30 percent of college students drop out before their sophomore year. Too many students are not getting the higher education they need to fulfill God’s calling in their life.
In the book of Acts, the author (many believe it was Luke) recorded the acts of the apostles and shared them with Theophilus. Toward the end of the book, we read Paul’s words: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
I want to share three tips to help you break through the walls and obstacles in your life that could be preventing you from accomplishing your goals. In this blog, I’ll write about how to forget your life. In the next blog, I’ll conclude by writing about finishing the race and focusing on the task.
FORGET YOUR LIFE
When Paul said I consider my life worth nothing to me, he wasn’t saying that his life, or any life, was not important. He wasn’t being fatalistic. He wasn’t saying that wisdom, laughter, education, work, shopping, or eating chocolate cake was bad. Even King Solomon tried all of that and discovered that everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2). (Okay, maybe he had fig cakes, instead of chocolate.)
Paul was saying that he did not value his life above the calling God had given him. We have multiple callings in our life: salvation, vocation, occupation, and avocation. Your salvation begins when you confess your sins and trust Jesus Christ with your heart. If you are ready to make this decision, read this and then share your decision with a Christian friend, pastor, or me.
As you learn to pray, read your Bible, experience life, and discover your interests, you will hear God’s calling for your vocation as a carpenter, welder, engineer, nurse, or missionary. Then you can choose the best path to learn a trade or attend college after high school.
Paul valued and enjoyed life! He loved taking risks (he was bold), being outdoors (tentmaker), and traveling (mission journeys). He just wanted to be obedient to the teachings of Christ and follow His example.
When you are ready to forget your life and focus on the Lord, you are making the most important decision to stay in the race.
So, your fourth grader is interested in climbing trees, Minecraft, macaroni and cheese, dressing up like Princess Mulan, and college? How exciting!
One elementary school student just celebrated birthday number ten! She enjoys singing, playing the piano, drawing, and Skittles. She has already “committed” to attend Texas Southern University. That’s right! One of her young classmates was talking about college, declared where and what she was going to study, and all the girls followed suit. I told her mom not to discourage the decision, because she can build on that desire later. Let them “play college.”
If you think about it, didn’t we all have career dreams or play career dress-up? I wanted to be a fireman, policeman, teacher, architect, astronaut, and a preacher. I soon learned that I was not fond of heights, so flying to space was no longer an option.
Even though some states require that every grade explore careers and college options, nurturing your young child to prepare for college is actually a brilliant idea!
My wife and I had lunch with mom of three children ages 12, 9 and 4. After the meal, the kids were playing with cars, reading, wrestling, and crying. Once mom learned that I was an educational consultant in the world of college planning, she began asking a lot of questions. She shared that in her circle of influence, the parents were already discussing the possibility of their children going to college.
In one conversation, we discussed what it would take to major in astronomy because her middle child is interested in flying (her dad is an airline pilot), telescopes, and space. I mentioned attending space camps, playing with telescopes, and having fun. I also emphasized math, science, and learning a second language.
Kids love connecting the dots to discover the image on the paper. As parents and educators, we need to help them connect the dots from careers to majors to higher education to their higher calling.
Consider how the National Association for College Admission Counseling is helping build a career superhighway. They have a guide called “College Awareness and Planning: Elementary School.”
I agree that “introducing students to career and college exploration in elementary school will provide them the opportunity to establish a foundation for more in-depth conversations and exploration about their futures in later years.”
School counselors should help students identify personal interests, link those interests to possible careers, and encouraging students to express their initial thoughts about college. They should also prompt students to list some characteristics they might look for in a college, understand basic college-related terms, and incorporate aids that match their preferred learning styles.
Caralee Adams wrote that, “by creating a college-going culture in elementary school, the hope is that students will aspire to a lifelong path toward higher education and deeper learning that ends with a degree.” While higher education is not every student’s dream, creating an environment in the classroom and at home establishes a mindset that all things are possible.
Prepare for College
Here are four simple ways to help your children prepare for college.
Students need to do their best in school. Encourage them to try new things and work through problems.
Let your children explore the world of ideas, art, creativity, science, and diversity. Visit children’s museums, visit college campuses, invite college students to the elementary school, and have a career dress-up day. There is no replacement for a great education.
And encourage your kids to have fun playing games as they learn about jobs.
Read. A. Book. One that has paper, a cover, a spine, and the potential for paper cuts. While technology is wonderful, limit their screen time.
Another tip is to encourage your child to read a lot.
One more tip is to read aloud to your child so they develop an interest in reading, careers, and hearing the voices that you give the book characters.
After they read, encourage them to play inside and outside. They need to explore, be creative, learn to fall, learn to fail, communicate, and enjoy being a kid. Challenge them to build a “sand-campus” – a college university in the sand (I did this with adults!).
One of the MOST IMPORTANT decisions you can make as a parent is to include higher education in your annual budget. Yes, it will be hard. But it is worth it. Just know that the four-year cost of attendance for a highly selective private college bachelor’s degree program is a quarter of a million dollars ($250,000).
There are many ways to reduce that by 50%-75%, but not if you wait until the second semester of their sophomore year.
The Student Aid Checklist for Elementary School gives three steps you can take now:
Elementary school is not too early to think about what you want to be when you grow up.
Since learning, reading, playing, and saving are important for your elementary school children, it is more important if you have a student in high school. Contact me when you are ready to start planning for college!
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Ohio sponsors a $100,000 “Stop the Hate” essay contest for 6th-12th grade students.
The following paragraphs, from their website, describe the reason behind the essay. Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out celebrates students committed to creating a more accepting, inclusive society. By reflecting on real-life situations and detailing ways to make a positive difference in the world, this next generation of leaders can win big.
Stop the Hate® is designed to create an appreciation and understanding among people of differing religions, races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. By challenging young people to consider the benefits of a more inclusive society, the consequences of intolerance and the role of personal responsibility in effecting change, the contest also reflects Jewish values of responsible citizenship and respect for all humanity. You can also watch their chilling 12-minute film called HATE.
This year they honored the memory and spirit of Anne Frank, a young girl who famously wrote:
How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straight away.
Anne Frank was 13 years old when she was forced into hiding during the Holocaust. She hid in a tiny annex for two years with her mother, father, sister, and four other Dutch Jews fearing for their lives because of their religion. Despite the isolation and terrifying realities of her time, Anne remained optimistic about the power of every individual to change the world. Anne and her family were caught and murdered by the Nazis and she became one of the 1.5 million children who perished during the Holocaust. But the words live on to remind the generations that followed her that anyone – young or old – can positively change the world.
Over 75 years later, what can we learn from Anne’s perspective on human nature and creating a more accepting and inclusive society? Is justice something that requires individuals to create or pursue? Can every day, regular people change the world?
Students, grades 6 – 12, were challenged to think about their own life. Have they witnessed or experienced acts of injustice, racism, bigotry, or discrimination? How were they impacted by what they experienced, saw, or heard? What did they do, or what would they do, in response to these circumstances in order to create justice and positive change in their community?
In the fifth grade, a few guys in my class began making fun of Grant. I don’t know why he was the target, only that I joined in with the reoccurring taunts. That was bullying. And I knew better.
Also, in elementary school, Stanley made fun of me while playing scatter ball (think dodgeball with volleyballs!). Standing in line to leave the class, I threw my first punch toward him. Coach Porter saw me swinging. I then received a few swats with the paddle in front of the entire gym class (that’s discipline – 1980s style). Was I a victim of bullying or was I just very competitive and hated losing?
In seventh grade, for reasons unknown, John circulated a letter about me (think texting with pen and paper!). While I don’t remember reading the letter, I heard, from those who did, that he wrote a lot of hateful and untrue comments about me. Karla, the largest girl in our class, asked my permission to beat him up. I remember saying thanks but no, because I was already humiliated – without knowing the content of the letter – and just wanted it to stop. The principal eventually intervened.
In each instance, there was an element of hate. Nothing to the level of what teenagers deal with today. And nothing to the level that Anne Frank experienced 75 years ago.
Many Ohio students wrote about their experience with hatred. Middle school students wrote about the hate that comes through bullying, school shootings, synagogue attacks, and cruelty to animals.
Upperclassmen recounted the hate that comes from language barriers, being an immigrant, dating someone with a different ethnicity, and being a member of a transracial adoptive family.
The younger students seem to identify hate happening to other people while the older students feel the personal impact of hate.
Some hate comes from misunderstanding. Some from pure hatred.
What I learned is that students can identify hate, wrong, injustice, and immoral behavior, but are hesitant to intervene because they are afraid of retaliation (they needed a Karla in their corner!).
Many students admitted that they didn’t take personal responsibility to stop the hate. Some were emotionally or physically paralyzed. In retrospect, all wished they would have said or done something. The younger students worried if the student would turn the weapon on them for informing a teacher about the girl talking about harming herself. They wondered if they would get ridiculed or bullied for standing up to protect a boy being harassed at lunch.
One female recalled a story about a boy harassing her in the third grade. After attempting to ignore the boy for weeks, she finally punched him in the face. Then she was given in-school suspension. Reflecting on this incident years later, she concluded that in order to create change, she learned she had to be the change.
A female upperclassman concluded that, “a safe environment for people to grow is created by a community that wants to listen and learn.”
Many are in the process of being an agent of change and learning how to stand up against hate.
As a Christian, I know that “God is love” and that we’re encouraged to “turn the other cheek.” We all know that standing up against hate will not be easy, but as these students have demonstrated, once we recognize the hate, none of us can remain silent.
So, whenever you have the opportunity, do good to everyone (Galatians 6:10).
If any of you lacks wisdom about career or college planning, pray to God. He will answer generously and without reproach (James 1:5).
These college admissions blogs offer expert advice and personal insight from coast to coast. Along with your school counselor or independent educational consultant, you can read these professionals to help you make wise decisions about planning for college.
Great College Advice - Representing the East Coast is former professor and administrator, Mark Montgomery, who shares his insider views about the college admissions process.
The College Solution - Representing the West Coast is Lynn O'Shaughnessy who has a comprehensive blog about all things college.
You may have 2-3 careers in your life. That's great! The first step is discovering your higher calling - and your major. Read these career blogs to learn more about what to study in college. Major. Minor. Double Major. Major. Minor. Double major. How will you get off to the best start in life?
Cracking the Career Code - Tom Henricksen shares insights in to finding a career that fits your personality and passion.
Exploring Engineering - Brown University offers a FREE pre-college course for students interested in a career in various fields of engineering. Look for other career focused blogs and summer programs at your local college or university.
NextStepU - Laura Sestito highlights Major Mondays, Trendy Tuesday, college tours, scholarships, and more. Its a fun look at life in college.
Get expert advice from a variety of professional college counselors.
Get Into College - Steve Schwartz is a professional college admission counselor with over a decade of experience and the instructor of Udemy's most popular course on college admissions, and the moderator of Reddit's college admissions forum.
GPS College Guidance - Susan McCarter, Director of College Guidance shares a high school guidance counselors perspective on college planning.
The Ivy Coach - The IvyCoach offers advice for students wanting to enter a highly competitive college. It's good advice to meet the admissions requirements for the most difficult college on your college list. Then you'll be at or near the top of the class for every other college!
College Admissions Partners - Based in Minnesota, Todd Johnson specializes in the BS/MD admissions process. This is a great resource if you are interested in going to medical school.
Admit One - Hosted by MyCollegeOptions, this is another site with general college planning resources.
These blogs provide details about grants, loans and other ways to cover college costs.
College Financial Aid Advisors - Jodi Okun shares financial aid insights on her blog and #collegecash (Twitter).
Go Financial Aid was founded as a result of the difficulties surrounding the financial aid process. Their blog is current, but their social media posts are not.
Student Aid Matters covers timely news, developments and perspectives relating to scholarships, college savings plans, student loans, financial aid application forms and other aspects of planning and paying for college.
College Search Game Plan shares tips from a CPA's point of view.
Please share the college planning blogs where you gain wisdom.
In part one, I wrote about how easy it is for seniors to get distracted with drum rehearsals, AP classes, and homecoming floats. So hosting college planning seminar at your church, taking informal campus visits, and sharing important information on social media are ways youth workers can keep seniors focused on their college journey. You also need to
Challenge Seniors to Strengthen their Faith in Jesus
David played loud harp music, worked outdoors, took on challenges bigger than himself, made mistakes, failed and succeeded as a leader, sinned, and followed God with all his heart.
So will high school seniors.
So how can youth workers influence the spiritual lives of college-bound David’s?
Challenge them to attend church regularly – especially in the first two months of the school year. Why? It’s biblical (Hebrews 10:25)! Fuller Youth Institute researcher Kara Powell suggests that college students who do not join and begin attending a local church within the first six weeks of the semester, may not attend over the next four years. Seniors who serve will stay. Get them involved!
Challenge them to pray with and for one another. Pray about everything (1 Thessalonians 5:11). You can lead the way.
Challenge them to learn how to avoid (and respond) to temptation. It’s more than just running from temptation like Joseph from Potiphar’s wife. They need to learn how to stand firm, make wise decisions, be mature, and show self-discipline.
Challenge them to know who they are in Christ Jesus. Writing and reading their faith story will develop and strengthen their spiritual growth. Christian students who are not confident in their faith will lose their voice in a noisy college environment. Their faith story has three parts: before knowing Christ, the moment they put their faith in Christ, and after trusting Christ. Review it. Share it. Own it.
Challenge their beliefs. In my “I Believe” class, we discussed six major doctrines and examined the beliefs of our denomination, other denominations, and other religions. Then students wrestled with what they believed. Write it down. Share it out loud.
If our teenagers do not know what they believe when they begin college, there will be plenty of voices sharing theirs. School counselor and former youth worker Jen Lynch, said the best advice she gave her students was “the importance of putting a stake in the ground and deciding that you are going to follow Christ in college.”
Remember that Jesus hung out with people, talked about the future, and ate a lot of fish sandwiches.
Now grab some fish sandwiches and join the conversation!
The World Wide Web will be 25 years old on March 12. The smartphone is 26. Facebook turned 14 on February 4. The iPhone is 11. While still young, social media becoming a preferred way to communicate, even when applying to college.
A 2017 PewResearchCenter survey reports that Americans have increased their engagement of social media - from 5 percent in 2005 to 69 percent today. Social networking sites like Facebook are used 3 times more than microblogs like Twitter and Instagram. Among the five platforms studied, 76% of users check Facebook every day (up 5 percent since 2015). Teenagers make up 61 percent of Tumblr users and growing. This is why social media is being used to recruit potential students.
ARE YOU A GOOD FIT FOR THEM?
College admissions officers are engaging potential students on social media. They are viewing your profiles. Christine Koening surveyed colleges within 150 miles of Chicago and learned that 89 percent of admissions officers viewed students' social media. When I posted a photo along with a caption saying I was visiting the University of Oklahoma campus, I received 6 retweets and 19 favorites before my tour ended. A few even reached out to say hello. Talk about engaged!
Some Ivy League colleges use social media to boost their applications. Colleges are posting more pictures and videos so students can imagine themselves on campus. They are answering questions relating to the social and emotional life on campus allowing students to make informed decisions.
ARE THEY A GOOD FIT FOR YOU?
When you are researching colleges on social media, don’t just focus on the strengths of the college. Each college is going to present itself at its best, just like you. Engage with them. Ask what makes them stand out. Find out how they are resolving their challenges. Savvy students need to discover the truth before committing 4-6 years of their life to a university. And if you are not able to connect and engage with people on the college you’re interested in, it may not be the right college for you.
Since social media is a way for teenagers to express themselves, potential employers and colleges will dedicate time to review your feeds, So you should be aware of a few things regarding your social footprint. Being comfortable on social media gives some a tendency to say and share things publicly that may have kept private otherwise. Admissions officers are measuring your application against your public thoughts. The University of Oklahoma will view your social media if you are being considered for a scholarship.
Admissions officers may question the judgment of potential students who takes the time to post disparaging remarks. In Natasha Singer's article, They Loved Your GPA Then They Saw Your Tweets, she reported that “30% of the admissions officers said they had discovered information online that had negatively affected an applicant’s prospects.”
Here are some steps you can take to improve your social media footprint:
A former student, who was applying for a master’s level program, asked me to write a letter of recommendation. Before I wrote what I knew about his character, I reviewed his social media presence. After a brief conversation with him about the content of this photos and posts, he quickly untagged himself from pictures of places he’d never visited. He was accepted.
Will you be accepted? What impression is your social media footprint leaving when it comes to college admissions? Contact me so I can help you prepare for college.
College planning philosophies will differ from high school guidance counselors to independent educational consultants. However, the goal remains the same. It’s not about graduating high school. It’s not about being accepted to college. It’s about coaching students through the college planning process to find a college or university where they can graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years. This will result in a lifetime of opportunities including saved time and money (4 vs 6 year graduation), increased earning potential (2xs more than a high school diploma), and establishing a healthier lifestyle regardless of age, income, or demographics.
With that goal in mind, mastering Internet technology for college counseling is important. You should log every podcast, virtual tour, college search engine, scholarship search database, and more so you can guide your students with confidence. Here are some tips to become their digital filter.
Podcasts give you a way to listen to relevant career and college planning content on your time schedule. Listen to a few before recommending them to others. Don’t be afraid of social media, it doesn’t bite. As a college planner, take the time to teach students how to interact and behave with adults using various social media platforms. Videocasts and videos are great ways to learn more about a specific career or topic.
The career search is missing from so many plans and usually limited to what major a student is interested in studying. Help students use personality, learning style, and career assessments to understand who they are and what they like. Look for a college search engine that does not focus on the best marketing campaign, but one that shares the best matches for your student. Before taking campus tours, virtual tours will give students insight, spark excitement, and generate questions to ask on their actual tour.
Since paying for college is at the front of everyone’s mind,helping students find and use quality financial aid, scholarship, tutoring and test prep companies is important. Financial aid sites will include federal and state aid. While students shouldn’t pay for scholarship options, they may find more value in paying for the personal interaction for tutoring and test prep.
Read. Take notes. Read. This is great advice for a student entering college. It’s also great advice for every career and college consultant. Books share planning tips and great stories. Blogs share ongoing, relevant information based on every subject mentioned above. And don’t be afraid to share your own personal experiences either. Write a blog for your local audience.
Once you’ve become your student’s digital filter, you’ve reached your destination. Success!
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.