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!
Planning for college can be time consuming! Career and college planning podcasts give you, as college-bound students and parents, a way to listen to relevant content on your time schedule. While listening to music may be way more appealing than listening to podcasts, they can be easily downloaded and played while driving or walking. But you need expert advice to complement what you’re learning from your guidance counselor or college consultant. Listening to podcasts can also make good use of your time between eating food, submitting applications, hanging out with friends at school events, and procrastinating your dissection homework for biology.
Finding quality, relevant podcasts is important. First of all, if the recording sounds like they are walking along the beach, camped out in a cave, or trying to be the college-whisperer, don’t waste your time hoping it will get better. It probably won’t. But you already know that!
Next, look at the dates for the podcasts. Some information shared in 2012 might be relevant; some might be time-sensitive. One example would be taking the ACT. While the strategies and tips would still be relevant, the testing deadlines and possible test prep sites might not.
One benefit of podcasting is saving time. Unfortunately, some average 40 minutes in length – without commercial breaks! TED talks are limited to 18 minutes. Half-hour shows (like sitcoms) are typically 18-21 minutes long. So as a student, your attention span is generally equivalent to your age – which means you are anxious to find out why your phone just beeped. So if a podcast is longer than 20 minutes, just download it or bookmark it for listening later.
You’ll also want to consider the content. There are podcasts sharing test prep tips, admissions do’s and don’ts, and ways to make the most of a campus visit. You should also listen to a few podcasts to determine if they are they informing you about a topic or interpreting how to master the topic. Also, many colleges have student-led blogs sharing about life on campus.
Finally, you’ll want to know who is delivering the content. Always check the About Me tab on the website to learn more about who is sharing. Find out how long have they been working in college planning. Ask yourself if their education and credentials would benefit you as the listener? Are they interviewing experts or just sharing what they know?
It’s a lot to consider, so to save you time, I’ve listed some preferred podcasts on my website under Resources. Contact me if you need help finding career and college planning podcasts. Here are some to get you started:
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.