college

How to Pick a College

When it comes to college admissions, the problem you don’t want – a problem that you’ve probably considered numerous times – involves not receiving an acceptance letter from any of your top-choice schools.

That would stink.

But there is another problem, one that I would bet has yet to cross your mind.

What if all of (or most of) your top-choice schools accept you?

Yes, for some of you, there will come a day when you open your digital or physical mailbox and find it stuffed to the gills with acceptances. It didn’t happen to me, but I’m sure your first emotion will be sheer giddiness.

But after the excitement fades, you’ll be faced with a unique problem – which one do you choose? You’ll have 30 days or fewer to make up your mind. Additionally, let’s not forget that during that time, you’ll still have to study for a slew of exams, including AP/IB.

That’s a lot of stress.

In this article, we’ll discuss the three most vital things to keep in mind as you weigh your options. 

Academic Offerings

Let’s discuss your future academic major. Now, you may not know which one you’ll pick, and there’s always the chance that you’ll change your mind halfway through freshman year. Even so, it’s time to compare what each of your top schools offers.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that most top schools feature the same majors. That’s not much help. What can help is when you deep dive into each program’s academic requirements. Here are some questions to keep in mind while performing research. (Note: You should ask these questions not just for each school but also for each major you’re considering.)

  • What are the graduation requirements?
  • What electives/concentrations/specializations does this program offer?
  • Does this program have a special feature, such as a unique study-abroad program?
  • If I select this major, can I perform research as an undergraduate?
    • This question is REALLY important if you want to go to graduate school.
    • Related question: What is this program’s graduate school acceptance rate?
  • Can I complete a second major or a minor in a different area?
  • What career services does the school offer?

If you can find answers to these questions, the differences between your top schools should become more apparent. In other words, you’ll know how each school meets your academic needs and expectations.

Cost

After academic offerings comes cost. Top schools often charge top dollar, and although you won’t know about financial aid for a while, it’s time to run through a few hypotheticals. Here’s what you can do now.

  • Find out exactly how much – if anything – your parents will contribute to your college education.
  • Start researching your top school’s scholarship websites. Many have a search engine with the latest scholarship opportunities, requirements, and deadlines.
    • If possible, begin preparing scholarship application materials even before you know about an acceptance. Many schools have similar requirements.
  • Research what current students are saying online.
    • How much institutional financial aid did they receive?
    • What are the best scholarship websites?
    • What are the worst financial aid traps?
    • Do current and former students regret attending because of the cost?

As you perform these and other tasks, keep in mind that in the vast majority of cases, it is not worth going into debt to attend college. So, if you don’t want to say no to your dream school, start racking up the scholarship and grant dollars ASAP.

Personal Preference

So, let’s get back to the beginning of this article. All of your top schools said yes. Also, potential majors look good at all of them. Additionally, these schools are offering you a full ride, or you have attained the necessary scholarships and grants. If all of these wonderful things should happen, what do you do then?

Besides flipping a coin or throwing a dart at a board, it’s once again time to dig deep and consider your personal preferences. Maybe some of your high school friends are attending School A, while at School B, you wouldn’t have to have a roommate. Maybe School C has pleasant weather all year round.

In other words, if all of the choices are great, it’s up to you, which, at 18 years old, can seem like an impossible decision. Even if it’s just between two schools, go with what feels right. Yes, you’ll set aside a whole world of possibilities by saying ‘no’ to one or more great schools, but you’ll also be saying ‘yes’ to what I’m sure will be an incredible four years.   

Final Thoughts

Let me restate this article’s most important point – think about these ‘what-ifs’ now. As with anything college application-related, the sooner you start putting in the work, the easier the process becomes.

Lastly, wishing you a mailbox full of ‘fat envelopes’ this spring.

Handling Admission Deferrals

Getting into your dream school is great!

Getting rejected stinks!

But what about a deferral?

You probably haven’t considered how you’d react if a college told you, “Well…maybe. We’ll get back to you in a month or so. Until then, enjoy being on the waitlist. Laters!”

Okay, colleges don’t say that last part, and, to be honest, it’s no fun waiting to see if a spot will open up.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can handle admissions deferrals in a positive way that preserves your sanity and ensures that you finish your senior year strong.

Don’t Overanalyze It

First off, let’s make sure that a deferral doesn’t send you to a dark place. It would be far too easy to think, ‘Oh, if only I had been just a little bit better…earned one more good grade…studied more for that one AP Exam…et cetera ad infinitum.’

Take a deep breath. You’ll never know exactly why a school put you on the waitlist. Instead of the negative examples the previous paragraph highlights, maybe your dream school had a surplus of highly qualified candidates, you included. And maybe, just maybe, you are at the top of the waitlist, virtually guaranteeing an admission letter in May.

My best advice would be to allow that self-doubt to wash over you for no more than five minutes. It’ll happen no matter what, so get it out of the way early.

After that… 

Continue on Business as Usual

As you can’t change what will happen at this point, do your best to push the situation out of your mind. There’s still plenty to do between now and graduation day:

  • Final exams
  • AP/IB test
  • Making some good memories with friends
    • That’s important, too 🙂
  • Etc.

Focusing on what’s still on your plate will make time go faster. It really works.

A Bird in the Hand….

Now, I have my fingers crossed really tight that as you’re waiting to hear back, you’ll receive one or more acceptances from other schools. Hopefully, these letters will boost your spirits and make you feel better about yourself.

However, at this point, you have a dilemma. There’s at least one school that wants you, and one that hasn’t made up its mind. Do you go for the sure thing, or see what happens with the school that waitlisted you?

Before you decide, determine if you can wait it out. Maybe you’ll find out if you got off the waitlist before any other school’s deadline to commit. If so, waiting it out is no big deal. I recommend it.

But if deadlines make waiting it out impossible, it’s time to make a hard choice. If you have one or more ‘birds in the hand,’ do you let it go to wait on the one still hiding in the ‘bush’? In this case, I’d recommend choosing one of the schools that accepted you. Yes, it’ll be a bummer to let your dream school go, but you’ll be doing the right thing.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of uncertainty in these times, and I know that a deferral can make things even more stressful – stress you don’t need. So, if it happens to you, take a step back, set it aside, and push on.

Fingers crossed that only acceptances arrive in your mailbox this April.

How To Guide Your College-Bound Teen Through The Coronavirus Pandemic

A lot has changed since many states ordered a shelter in place in early April of this year. Millions of students have found themselves sitting at home, wondering how this global pandemic is going to impact their future plans. While there is very little one can do about the situation we find ourselves in, there is plenty that both students and parents can do to make the best of it.

Even if you are working from home, you are saving over an hour of time since you no longer need to commute. Your child may be learning online, but they are no longer attending after school activities. You as a parent are no longer running around, shuffling kids to sports, making lunches, going shopping and running around like your hair is on fire. The world has slowed to a crawl. It’s important to use this extra time wisely and talk to your college-bound teen about their future.

Now that you are both finally home at the same time, take a moment to sit down with your child and have a conversation about college and their future plans. We move so fast through life that we often view everything as an obstacle we have to overcome. We consider applying to college like a series of challenges that need to be completed as quickly as possible. We rarely stop to actually examine what we are doing and why we are doing it.

Ask your son or daughter how they are feeling about the college application process. What has them concerned or confused? You may learn that they have a serious concern about writing their essay or filing for financial aid. Now that you are aware of it, you can use your newly found free time to explore resources such as MyKlovr’s Financial Readiness section or a YouTube video series on writing college essays. The important thing is that you conquer this obstacle together before it becomes a more significant issue.

Next, talk about the colleges they are considering applying too. Challenge your child to explain why each college is on their list. This is not meant to be negative but rather to have an open conversation about what they are looking for in a school. You can talk about the importance of things like internships, alumni networks, tuition costs, and campus size. If your kid is struggling to create a list of schools, our College Finder service will work with them to create the ideal list based on their interests, qualifications, and needs.

As we’ve covered in past blog posts, there are a number of things that you may know a lot about, but your kids will not. This is the perfect opportunity to dispense that wisdom and guide them in the right direction. For example, many of the grads I speak to tell me they were basically clueless when it comes to student loans. They had no idea how they worked or how much money they would be paying back per month after graduation. Be sure to sit down with your children and discuss these things before they start applying for loans.

The chances are that this pandemic has canceled at least one if not several college visits your student was planning to attend. Encourage them to visit the school’s website and YouTube channel and find any virtual tours they can check out. Then, visit sections on the website like student activities, student life, campus activities, and residence life to learn more about the various events they hold on campus throughout the year. Lastly, visit the school’s social media pages to get an idea of what life is like on campus. It will not deliver the full picture that a campus tour would, but at least it is something that will yield information about what it might be like to attend that school.

Lastly, you should encourage your child to use this time to do their own research once this particular conversation is over. If they haven’t done so already, I highly suggest all high school students create a LinkedIn profile. Next, use the search bar to find alumni that have graduated from that school. Then, send them a private message and ask questions about the college such as what they liked, didn’t like, what they studied, and if they would do it all over again if given a chance. You will find great value in their answers because, unlike college employees, they are not being paid by the school and have no reason to sugar coat anything.

In addition to alumni outreach, LinkedIn is perfect for connecting with working professionals. If your child has an idea of what career or industry they are interested in, they should seek out those who are already doing those jobs. Those are the people who can give you an idea of what that career is like and whether or not you will enjoy it. Encourage them to ask questions to learn more about their day to day responsibilities, what they studied in school, and what advice they have for someone just starting out.

This pandemic will be long and hard. It’s not fair that so many students have had their progress stalled, and their futures be thrown into question. Unfortunately, we can do very little but stay home and wait it out. However, what we do at home can make all the difference. Commit to having a conversation, or series of conversations, with your children about the importance of using this time wisely and preparing for the future. This way, when they look back on 2020 ten years from now, they will remember that it may have been a dark time, but it was also the start of something positive as well.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several student-focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.

5 Books To Read Before Starting College

Almost anytime someone successful is interviewed and asked questions about their daily routine; they almost always mention how much they read. Reading is crucial because it’s a great way to gain knowledge that you can use in your own life. Thanks to the internet and social media, there is a lot of content vying for your attention. However, nothing beats a book written by an experienced author who is sharing practical advice they have already learned.

Of course, saying you are going to start reading more is great, but where does one begin? There are a ton of books out there to choose from, and it can get overwhelming. Furthermore, there are plenty of college-based books as well. That might seem like the right place to start, but it really depends on what you need to learn. Starting college means beginning a new chapter of your life and starting your journey towards becoming an adult in the real world.

Therefore, this post will provide five suggestions on what books to read before starting college. The list was created based on several factors. First, I have conducted years of research to learn what skills first-year college students are lacking. Second, I chose books that will help you begin to develop skills that will help you in college as well as life afterward. Lastly, I wanted to suggest books that you, as a high school student, wouldn’t think to read or may not even know about.

The Compound Effect

Overview

The Compound Effect is written by million-dollar business owner Darren Hardy. In this book, Darren breaks down how repeating small habits each day can lead to significant long term results. He covers topics such as work ethic, positive mindset, eating habits, time management, and much more. This book is engaging because he uses practical examples that you can relate to your own life.

How Can It Benefit You?

Before starting this book, you should write down three habits you need to break and three habits you want to create in order to be more successful at college. For example, habits you want to break could include procrastination, eating junk food, or lack of motivation. Habits you want to create could consist of planning for the week, managing your time better, or staying calm during stressful situations. Keep these habits in mind as you read the book. By the end, you will have the advice and processes you need to implement them into your life.

Start With Why

Overview

Start With Why is written by a popular motivational speaker and best selling author, Simon Sinek. What started as a simple Ted Talk has become a rallying cry for so many people and brands around the world. Its primary focus is on helping you figure out your “why.” Why are your goals what they are? Why do you get up every morning and try to achieve them? By starting with and remembering your why you can remain on course and put purpose behind everything you do.

How Can It Benefit You?

As a high school student, you should be focusing on why you are going to college. What are you looking to accomplish? What type of life are you looking to build for yourself? Take the time to figure out what kind of person college is going to help you become and what exactly you need to do to get there. As you progress through college, you will have moments where you will stumble and get overwhelmed. Remembering why you started and what you are working towards is a great way to get back on track.

Secrets of Top Students: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Acing High School and College

Overview

Secrets of Top Students, written by Stefanie Weisman, is significantly less well known then our first two books but can be just as, if not more helpful. This book focuses specifically on advice for college that you would never think to ask for. The best part of this book is the information being offered was collected from over 40 top students across the country. Theses success stories are offering up the tips and tricks they learned and used to get to where they are today.

How Can It Benefit You?

This is the type of book you should read twice. First, read it cover to cover before going away to college. Pull out any information you can use right away, like preparing for dorming, habits you need to work on, etc. Then, highlight anything you find valuable and think you may need in the future. Once you are done, keep it handy because you will want to go back to it throughout college. Anytime you run into a situation and are unsure how to proceed, you can go back into the book and see what the experts have to say on the matter.

Stuff Every College Student Should Know

Overview

This pocket-sized book is written by Blair Thornburgh. It makes our list because it covers the “non-educational” part of college. This is a perfect book for anyone who is planning to go away to school. It covers life skills such as doing laundry, cooking basic meals, getting along with your roommate, and much more. Many of the college graduates I have spoken to over the years regret not learning these types of skills before college started.

How Can It Benefit You?

The beauty of this book is that it doubles as a reference guide throughout college. During your first read, you can identify what skills you don’t already have. Once you make that list, it will be crucial to dedicate time each week to learn them. This will prevent you from getting overwhelmed once college starts. Due to its convenient size, you can carry this book with you at all times and look back on it when you get stuck.

To The Next Step: Your Guide From College To The Real World

Overview

Full disclosure, I am the author of this book. However, I am including it because I wrote with you in mind. I wanted to take all the information I had learned from my interviews with college graduates and present them to you in one place. This book was designed to ensure you make the right choices the first time and learn from other graduates’ mistakes. It covers topics such as setting goals, learning adult responsibilities, creating good studying habits, finding internships, and preparing for the workforce.

How Will It Benefit You?

This book will help you do two main things. First, it will help you clarify your mission for college. You will have a firm understanding of why you are going to college and what you want to achieve. Second, it prepares you for what lies ahead during all four years. You will understand the importance of working hard, when to starting looking at internships, when to build your network and when it’s time to start preparing to look for jobs. It is also meant to be a reference guide for you to re-read at the beginning of each new school year.

Conclusion

Reading is a great habit that will provide you with an endless supply of valuable knowledge. The books listed here are meant to help you gain clarity before you start the next chapter of your life. By reading these books before college, you will have a leg up on other students who did not take this type of initiative. You owe it to your future self to prepare for college, the workforce, and the real world by learning everything you can by those who have already done it.

Transitioning to College in the Time of COVID-19

COVID-19 has brought innumerable challenges to American life, too many for any one article to list. For high school students such as yourself, classes may have gone online or stopped altogether. So much seems up in the air right now.

And what about college in the fall? What’s going to happen then?

In this article, we’ll take stock of the situation – examine a few ways that the current pandemic will (and might) affect your life in the coming months, as well as discuss how you can react healthily.

AP/IB Exams

The College Board has risen to an immense challenge by revamping its AP Exams so that students can take them from home. As information might change, please use this link to receive the most up-to-date information about each test’s new format.

Additionally, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has canceled all May 2020 exams for high school juniors and seniors. The IBO will award diplomas to seniors based on the grades a high school reports.

What You Can Do: If you still have AP Exams in the future, keep studying for them. Although they’re shorter this year – and maybe next year – the graders will have the same high standards when they review your work over the summer.

Graduation Day

When I think about all the teachers out there working tirelessly to ensure that students can keep up with schoolwork at home, I know they haven’t forgotten you and all that you’ve accomplished over the last four years. However, large gatherings are likely out of the picture for the next few months. The following are two ideas that your school might adopt to ensure that you’re recognized on graduation day.

Going Digital

Some countries battling COVID-19 have already adopted elaborate virtual graduation ceremonies. Although these ceremonies are pricier than what your school may be able to afford, who knows. Also, don’t expect your entire senior class to have to call into a Zoom chat on graduation day. Even if one chat could handle that many people at once, it would be impractical, to say the least.

One option that comes to mind is that teachers create a series of videos that not only mimic the traditional graduation experience but also give each teacher the chance to address and recognize students that he/she knows well.

Your school may have other plans for a digital graduation. But if you liked my idea – or come up with a few of your own – feel free to contact your high school principal.

Delay

The other option is that some schools might schedule a graduation ceremony at a later date. At that time, your principal may decide to host multiple ceremonies – each would recognize a small group of seniors to limit the number of people in attendance. Additionally, your school might forbid guests and instead steam the ceremony live so family members can view it at home.

What You Can Do: Recognize that graduation day won’t be what you and your family imagined. If this fact makes you sad or angry, that’s okay. You and your immediate family members can still celebrate your accomplishment at home, and once it’s safe, celebrate with others.

Fall 2020

With all that’s been going on, Fall 2020 – your first year of college — may seem like a lifetime from now. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that by the time August rolls around, the situation with COVID-19 will be a lot less scary, but not completely safe yet. That brings us to…

Fall (and Maybe Spring) Semester at Home

There’s a good chance that the online learning colleges and universities are mandating now will still take place during the fall semester. The main issue is space – cramped dormitories and lecture halls are the perfect environment for a virus to spread (Why do you think you need a meningitis vaccine before going to college?). As a result, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be staying at home for your first semester as an undergraduate.

How about spring 2021? That depends on how much COVID-19 infections change during the winter months – a time when other viruses like the flu and colds reach their peak. For now, all I can say is, “We’ll see” and “Hope for the best.”

What You Can Do: If you know which college or university you’re going to attend in the fall, keep up to date with their COVID-19 policies throughout the summer. As always, be sure to reach out with questions if you have them.

Final Thoughts

These are trying times, and, regrettably, the milestones you had looked forward to for so long will not be what you expected. If nothing else, take solace in the fact that the college experience you want will happen. You might arrive on campus a few months later than you anticipated, and campus life may be a little different than what you thought. But it will happen. That, I guarantee.

But for now, stay inside and stay safe.

5 Skills To Learn Before Going Away To College

Going away to college is a life-changing event. For the first time in your life, you will be entirely on your own, independent from your parents, who you lived with your entire life. It’s an exciting time where many students grow and mature. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and prepare yourself for the real world that awaits you. However, living in a dorm room is not all fun and games. You are living on your own means new responsibilities that you may not be used to having.

When I started my educational coaching company three years ago, I did extensive research regarding what college graduates regretted about their time in school. Many of them spoke about going away to school without knowing how to do anything for themselves. Several graduates actually had to leave school and come back home because of how unprepared they were. To prevent this from happening to you, here are five skills you must learn before leaving for college.

Cooking

This is a skill that gets overlooked because most students assume they will eat all of their meals in the dining hall. What they don’t realize is that sometimes their schedule may not match up with the dining hall hours. You may find yourself getting out of the library or a club activity later than you thought and having nowhere to go for food. As a freshman, you most likely will not have a car on campus. It’s critical that you are prepared for these types of situations.

Now, I am not expecting you to whip up a 3-course meal. However, I do expect that you could cook up some frozen veggies, rice from a box, scramble some eggs, or make a grilled cheese. You could also buy some grilled chicken, freeze it, and then take it out thaw on days you know you will be cooking your own dinner. You should know how to cook any of the food listed above before living on your own. 

Laundry

I cannot tell you how many freshmen tell me they have no idea how to do their own laundry. Thinking you can keep wearing clean clothes and wait until you go home is a poor strategy. Your dorm room will begin to stink due to the mounting pile of dirty clothes. You will also undoubtedly run out of clean clothes quicker than you think. Furthermore, you are in a new place, meeting new people. You should try to look presentable at all times.

If you don’t know how to a load of laundry, find your Mom or Dad and ask them to show you. Pay attention to the difference between how to wash your colored clothes as opposed to how to wash your whites. Trust me, you will not be happy if you screw that up. Once they teach you, it’s now on you to do your laundry moving forward. Don’t let them keep doing it and wait for college to start. The only way to learn and be prepared is by starting now and not stopping.

Budgeting

When entering your freshman year, you most likely will not be working. This could be the first time in several years you won’t be earning a paycheck. While this may change at some point, it’s essential to prepare for not having an income for at least the first two months of school. Whatever money you get from high school graduation or your summer job will need to last until you start working again. If you run out too soon, you won’t be able to go out and do things with your new friends.

The easiest way to save money is only to spend it when you have too. For example, if you have a meal plan, use it! Yes, you can order pizza on the weekend. However, do not fall into the trap of ordering food every time you don’t feel like walking to the dining hall. If you think you might struggle with this, ask your parents to only deposit a certain amount of money into your account each week to avoid spending too much too soon.

Time Management

A high school class schedule and a college class schedule are entirely different. In high school, you start and end each day at roughly the same time. The most significant difference is that in high school, all your classes are back to back with very little room for breaks. In college, depending on your schedule, you could have breaks that last as long as 2-5 hours. Unlike your previous school years, your parents will not be around to get on your case about doing your homework.

As soon as you get your schedule for the semester, map out all the breaks you have throughout the week. Those are the times you will go to the library to do homework, study, or prepare for the next class. Avoid going back to your dorm room when possible. There will always be someone doing something much more fun than the schoolwork you have to do. The key is to commit to this schedule. Being in a class by 8 am is just as important as being in the library by 10 am.

Communication

As we mentioned before, going away to college means meeting a ton of new people. This includes roommates, neighbors, professors, and college employees. These are all people who do not know you very well. Unlike your friends or family, they cannot guess what you are feeling. They have no idea what makes you happy, sad, frustrated, or overwhelmed. You will need to learn how to communicate your feelings and thoughts in various situations.

For example, you may have a professor who teaches in a way you are not used to. They will not stop and make sure you are okay. If you are falling behind, it is up to you to communicate that to them before it is too late in the semester. If your roommate or neighbor does something you don’t like, you have the right to stand up for yourself and say something. However, you must do it in a respectful way that does not damage the relationship. The last thing you want is poor communication causing long term tension between you and someone you have to see every day.

Conclusion

Going away to college is something everyone must prepare for. Your life is going to radically change in so many ways. Now is the time to start learning these types of skills while you still have time to make mistakes and ask for guidance. By mastering these skills, you can enter your freshman year with confidence and focus on growing as a student and a person.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several student-focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.

How To Continue Your College Search During The Coronavirus

The coronavirus has put a halt to many of our everyday activities. The things we used to so freely are now no longer available to us. Schools are closed, events are canceled, and we are basically being told to stay in one place until whatever is going on is finally over. Even then, no one can really tell us when that will be. This can be nerve-wracking for people of all ages. Even the perfectly healthy can’t help but think about there various life plans that are being completely upended.

While it might not be the most important thing in the world, it is natural for any high school student to be concerned about how this national pandemic is going to impact there college search process. How do you properly research a school if you are unable to go to the campus and visit? How do you know what life will be like on a campus when all the students have gone home for the foreseeable future?

These are valid concerns that need to be addressed. Unfortuenly, nothing can truly replace the value of going on an official campus visit. We have talked in detail in past blog posts about what to look for and questions to ask as you gather all of your information. However, there are a few things you can do while you sit at home and wait this thing out.

Schedule A One On One With Your Admissions Counselor

No campus tours mean no opportunity to ask your tour guide important questions about the campus. Therefore, we suggest e-mailing your admissions counselor and request a one on one video call. Since you are home from school, you will be readily available during there work hours. In addition, this type of initiative and interest in the school will certainly be noted when it comes to acceptance time. If the counselor has a full schedule, as them if you can e-mail him or her a list of your questions.

Since you want to be respectful of there time, make sure your questions are specific and to the point. Be sure to write out 10 questions and order them by importance in case you do not get to all 10. Once you create your list, browse the school’s website and make sure none of the answers are already there. Your questions should cover a variety of topics such as dorm life, graduation rate, internships, alumni relations, average class size, student transportation and anything else that can help you understand if the school is right for you.

Take A Virtual Tour

In today’s world of technological advancement, most schools will offer some sort of a virtual tour for you to take. We would advise you to reach out to your admissions representative and see what your options are. Some schools may offer a pre-recorded tour of the whole campus, while others may have a series of videos based on your major of interest. If you are lucky, the school will be on the cutting edge and offer live tours at a certain time.

While a virtual tour should not fully replace an in-person one, there are several things you can look for as you get to know the campus better. The size of the classrooms can give you an idea of how big your classes are going to be. The technology in those classrooms can provide insight into how much the school reinvests in there students. Take notice of what they choose to focus on in these tours and more importantly what they chose to skip. If the tour spends a lot of time on the sports fields and completely skips the dining hall that could be a red flag worth researching further.

Interview An Alumni

Typically, we suggest reaching out to college alumni after you have visited a school. However, these are the times to get creative and ensure you are getting the information you need. If you haven’t already, create a LinkedIn profile so you can easily reach out to alumni who are now working professionals. Send them a direct message and explain that you gathering information on the college they went too and would like to ask them a few questions either on the phone or in-person.

Make sure you have created your list of 5-10 questions before you contact them in case they offer to speak to you the same day. Just like before, be sure your questions are direct and to the point. It is important to remember that unlike your admissions counselor, the alumni you are connecting with do not work for the school. They will much more likely to give you more honest and straightforward answers. Ask questions centered around there time at the school, what they liked, didn’t like and if they would do it all again if they had the chance.

Contact The Career Center

One of the most important reasons you are going to college is to work towards a fulfilling and prosperous career. The value of a degree is limited if it does not prepare you for the real world and workforce that will await you after graduation. If you are going to dedicate four years and thousands of dollars to a school they need to earn it. This is why it is important to learn all about the school’s career center and what it can offer you.

When speaking with your admissions rep, ask them to directly introduce you to someone at the career center via e-mail. Once you have made the connection, ask them to set a time where you can tell you about things such as internships, company partners, and job placement programs. Unlike your previous conversations, here is where you can ask open-ended questions about the type of internships the offer, the companies they partner with and the processes they use to place the students with those opportunities. Any career center worthwhile should be able to give you specific answers and examples as to how they will help you prepare for life after college.

Conclusion

Once the coronavirus is over, and life returns to normal, be sure to plan an in-person visit to any college you are considering. Until then, stay focused on conducting as much research as possible. Remain proactive by reaching out to the people who have the information you seek. Most importantly, remember to enjoy this journey, even when it takes an unexpected detour.

Covid-19 and the High-School Crisis – A Path Forward in Unfortunate Times

The Covid-19 pandemic poses a tremendous problem for seniors everywhere. With no real warning, many seniors at the end of their high-school experience have seemingly and abruptly had their year ended. Prom’s all over the United States have been canceled. Athletes who worked their whole lives and were ready to take the “state championship” lost all possible hope of the win in a flash. Many schools are currently closed for two to three weeks, and that timeframe could likely be extended as the coronavirus cases go up. Some speculate that in some states, High-School Seniors may even miss their graduation ceremony, a right of passage for students everywhere. The Covid-19 crisis we face is a challenge on many fronts. Students bound for college or those that wish to go to college are faced with ACTs and SATs being canceled, and schools are rushing and struggling to assemble online education tools to try and bridge the gap between being closed for social isolation and to avoid a worse outspread in communities. While the Board of Education may grant emergency waivers for helping these seniors graduate in response to school closures and Covid-19, students are still left with an abrupt end to twelve years of planning.

Companies like Khan Academy and myKlovr have set up war rooms with their teams to strategize the ways that online technology can stop the widespread fear and pressure that parents and students are facing. Some parents are considering having their children repeat the year, while others are rushing to find solutions so that they can continue to grow and achieve their dreams while not be held back during these uncertain times. It isn’t only high-school seniors that are having challenges.  Children in 9-12 grades are all preparing for their future and with such an unprecedented incident, the idea that planning for future couldn’t be more important.  We know that our country will course correct as the Nation heeds the social distancing warnings, however this still remains.  In this time of reflection, we must consider how we plan for our future, and that includes the future of our children.

“We at myKlovr are removing all the stops for employers and associations to help their employees and members with high school-aged children plan for their future and continue the pursuit of higher education,” said CEO, Gustavo Dolfino, “We know that before the pandemic, this group of individuals faced incredible difficulties even trying to navigate all the steps it takes to get into a college that fits the needs of their children and their budget.”

The solution for all is to take a step back and look at all the options. MyKlovr provides students with step-by-step instructions, career assessments, and with over 50,000 participants already using the platform, it has proven data analytics and algorithms that will help kids understand where they are and what they are missing. Though Covid-19 has arisen, perhaps some optimists could find a silver lining with all this time off. Given the fact that 70% of high schools don’t even have a guidance counselor, with companies like myKlovr and its marketplace, students can spend the time they have off inputting some simple data to help them see where they are missing things that could get them into their reach college. Understanding exactly what coursework is required for a particular major is just one of the ways that myKlovr helps. The tool also explains what volunteer work would be appropriate, what grades need to be improved. It allows parents and their students to understand the various scholarships, grants, and financial aid options are out there. The tool enables this process for participants to complete a full assessment with a click of a button.

Those kids that need more help can get it with myKlovr. They can receive virtual tutoring and a “to-do list” of sorts that will help them organize their next steps to their future. The other important thing that myKlovr does for students is help them realize their career goals. Some individuals are not college-bound but may be more wired for a vocational trade. MyKlovr can help these individuals in the same way, reach their potential. Parents and their children need to be strategic about how they invest their money.

America’s workforce needs welders, truck drivers, electricians, and plumbers as much as we need doctors, teachers, and lawyers. Setting a student on the trajectory towards a traditional brick and mortar college when they should actually be getting an associate’s degree and working in a trade is not only a waste of funds but can weigh heavily on the student. With mental health issues on the rise, financial burdens and forced educational goals contribute to an already burdened society that our children are already facing. According to the World Health Organization, sixteen percent of adolescents aged 10-19 suffer from a mental health condition. Globally, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in 15-19-year-olds. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health Add to these statistics on of the worlds most unprecedented pandemic to the mix of an already burdened group of adolescents, and it makes us realize we must address this crisis immediately.

Parents have a difficult task of raising kids in an all-digital world where cyberbullying is prevalent, cell phone and tablet use is at an all-time high among teens. The white noise of high-schoolers day-to-day is always going. By merely understanding solutions are out there to better plan, parents and their children can alleviate the stress of the unknown through simple tools.

Another big concern is that many Americans don’t have the money to put their kids through college. MyKlovr helps parents and kids not only navigate the funding for college; it helps them determine the best course of action for the planning towards a dream career. Many students have no idea what they want to be when they grow up. With 1.5 trillion dollars in student debt, it is incumbent on companies who provide benefits for parents to help them understand benefit offerings that give a clear path to the future. https://time.com/5662626/student-loans-repayment/ Employees today are searching for financial wellness tools to help alleviate the financial strain they have on their families. Having tools that help them and their children can take the weight of the world off their shoulders. This tool provides equitable opportunities for students going through the college admissions process. It doesn’t stop there.  Soon, Colleges in the U.S. will have an opportunity to recruit students that they’d never have seen before without the data we are providing.  They’ll find the perfect match for female mathematicians from socioeconomic backgrounds that they may have never seen due to lack of information and lack of communication. They’ll have a tool for recruiting athletes with certain grade point averages that they may have never seen due to lack of information.  As the process has become more competitive, this platform will allow students to truly differentiate themselves by the advice and counseling they receive from our virtual tool.  It will allow for a more personal look into prospective students and help see beyond grades into the tenacity of the heart of a child seeking admission.

There is only one clear path for helping our students now during a pandemic and when the country recovers from this crisis. That is taking a step back from the many roads that can lead to success and finding a solution that has removed all the pitfalls that lead to debt and poor outcomes. As our country recovers, as it always does, we should take this time to be diligent as employers and associations and provide tools that will help employees and members in times of peace and times of crisis.

5 Ways To Help Your Child Apply For College When You Never Went Yourself

In 2020, attending college is commonplace. In today’s world, a college diploma is required for the majority of careers out there. However, this was not always the case. Decades ago, thousands of students would graduate high school each year and enter the workforce. Most of these graduates went on to have stable careers and were able to start a family and build a beautiful life for themselves. That being said, what happens when the child of a parent who did not go to college decides they want to go.

When a parent is faced with a dilemma, they tend to lean on their experiences to get them through it. They may rely on life lessons they have learned when giving their child advice about a problem or the future. However, going to college is a unique, complicated, and lengthy process with many steps and obstacles along the way. If you, as a parent, never went to college, you may seem lost in your attempt to help your child as they apply to college themselves. Today, we are going to review five ways to help your child through the college process regardless of whether or not you went to yourself.

#1 – List Out The Skills You Do Have

The odds are good that your child is going to be overwhelmed by the entire college application process. The problem is, if you never went through it yourself, you may be overwhelmed too. You may be wondering how you could possibly dispense valuable advice on a topic you know nothing about it. The critical thing to remember is that while you may not know the ins and outs of college admissions, you do know how to tackle complicated problems.

Make a list of your own skills and how they could help your child. For example, if you are a highly organized person, then you can help your child do the same. Applying to college is all about paperwork and deadlines, and knowing how to stay organized can be the difference between getting in or getting rejected. Another skill that can be passed on is attention to detail. You can review these documents with your child to ensure nothing is missed. You can also be an extra set eyes on campus tours to make sure they are getting the full picture.

#2 – List Out The Topics You Need The Most Help On

Just because you never went to college does not mean you cannot be educated on the essential topics. The key thing is to list out what about applying to college you know the least about it. This way, you can spend your time gathering this information so you can give your child the best advice possible. Financial aid is a complicated topic that even college graduates who applied for it years ago are still confused about. Another topic that falls into this category could be going away to school or writing college application essays.

Whatever it is, understand you are not alone. MyKlovr offers several services that are designed to provide you with the information you need. The Financial Readiness section of our app was created to inform both students and parents of there financial options when exploring ways to pay for college. In addition, our Personalized Marketplace feature is your go-to place to find the services, resources, and answers to all of your questions.

#3 – Perform Research

One of the most common pieces of advice I give my student coaching clients is to perform as much research as possible about the colleges they are looking at. While they are researching things like internship options and campus sizes, you should be investigating the topics we listed above that you need more information on. There are several blogs dedicated to preparing students who are planning to attend college. This is where you can get tips about what to buy for a dorm room, questions to ask on-campus tours, and everything else your child will need to know.

Our College Finder feature was created to help conduct this type of research. We have compiled data and information on hundreds of colleges so you can make informed choices.

When your child chooses to look at a school, you can direct them to straight to our app. You may not have the answers they are looking for, but we do, and we will make sure we answer all of there questions.

#4 – Partner With Another Parent

Parents often go to each other for advice when raising their children. Applying to college should be no different. The chances are good that you know a parent who is either going through the process themselves or have been through it in the past. Reach out to them and ask for there help. Explain that you want to be there for your child but fear you may struggle because you never went through this process when you were younger.

If a fellow parent does agree to help you, be sure to make the most of it by asking specific questions. Go back to the list you made earlier about topics you were unsure of and write out questions you have. The parent may be able to give you the answers you seek and save you the time by not having to look it up. They may also be able to point you in the direction of any resources they have discovered or share lessons they have learned on what mistakes to avoid.

#5 – Be There For Support

As much as you want to be able to answer every question your child has, that is never going to be possible. What is possible is to be as supportive as possible during this complicated time in their lives. Even though you never went through it, try and remember that applying to college can be confusing and stressful. You may not be able to solve their problems immediately, but just being there to listen will be just as helpful.

Conclusion

Just because you never went to college doesn’t mean you are useless in your child’s pursuit of secondary education. You still a lot to offer your child and can be a valuable resource for them along the way. The key is to identify what you don’t know and seek out help from professionals, experts, and other parents. By following these five steps, you will be able to support and guide your child from application to acceptance. 

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several student-focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org. 

 

aerial view of college campus

When Looking At Colleges, Your Kids Won’t Know To Ask These Questions Part 2

Last month, we started a conversation regarding what questions your kids won’t know to ask during their college application process. You can find part one of this series here. Today, we are continuing to focus on building out that list. As adults, we know a lot about the world our kids are going to enter. There are undoubtedly several things we wish we knew when we were younger. This is why it is imperative we stand by their side during this complicated process and ensure they are asking the right questions and gathering the right information. Here are three more questions that your child may not think to ask.

When Do I Have To Declare A Major

Most schools do not require incoming first-year students to declare a major on day one. For some students, this is an opportunity to keep their options open and learn more about the majors they are considering. On the other hand, some students know exactly what major they want to choose, and they are eager to get started. Regardless, once they begin classes, things might begin to change. 

As adults, we know this happens in all phases of life. We take a job or sign up for a class, and it’s not what we thought it would be. This type of knowledge comes from experiencing different situations over time. For a high school student, they are blissfully unaware that these types of scenarios unfortunately exist. Therefore, it is important they understand the school’s rules about declaring or switching a major.

For example, if the deadline is the end of freshman year, the student can take that time to understand the various options open to them. They can research what classes to take and what career paths are open to them. By assigning a due date, you are creating a sense of urgency. For students who have declared a major, it’s still essential they know the deadline to switch. They should still be using that time to confirm this is what they want to pursue. If they change their mind, they can avoid the nightmare scenario of missing the deadline and being stuck taking courses they don’t like heading for a career that is no longer their aim.

The College Finder section on the MyKlovr app can come in handy when asking questions like this. This service will provide the answers you are looking for regarding which schools require students to declare a major and when. If your student feels they may change their mind after starting courses, then you can find schools that allow them to switch majors during or after their sophomore year. This will enable you to focus on specific schools and skip the ones that do not fit your needs.

Is Housing Guaranteed All Four Years?

The idea of living on your own is thrilling for any high school-aged student. Their mind races with ideas of how to decorate the dorm room and what their future roommate might be like. When on tour, the guide will undoubtedly show you the freshman dorms. Yet, not every school guarantees campus housing for all four years. Some schools will tell you flat out that they do not have room for juniors and seniors to live on campus. This is something that many graduates have told me surprised them after they started their freshman year.

This is an important question you should encourage your student to ask. If the answer is no, and you will need to start finding housing starting your junior year, you will want to explore the surrounding area and ensure it is somewhere they will want to live. An excellent follow-up question would be, what role does the school play in finding your housing? Do they have relationships with local apartment companies, or is it every student for themselves? This is a factor to take into consideration when comparing your options and preparing to choose a school.

On this topic, the Custom Recommendations section can produce the information you are looking for. If you only want to look at schools that guarantee housing for at least three years, then this service will provide a list to fit those criteria. As long as your student understands the importance of this question and the answer, the myKlovr app can ensure you spend time looking at schools that will fit this need.

What Is Your Internship Process?

The number one thing employers look for experience. Hiring someone fresh out of school is a gamble for any company. The graduate has never worked full time and does not yet have a proven track record of being a valuable employee. Furthermore, entry-level jobs see hundreds of applicants at once. For hiring managers, they have to sift through all of these resumes that often look very similar. These applicants come from similar schools and have the same degrees. How does a student stand out and win that first job?

The key is internships. Being an intern means you are getting that real-world experience that companies are looking for. It is an opportunity to learn how to act in a workplace and ask questions about how to be a valuable employee and team contributor. Internships can also help your resume stand out. If a hiring manager sees you have already done some of the things that the role in question requires of you, they are much more likely to bring you in for an interview.

Every college will claim they can help you get an internship. However, you deserve to know what the exact process is. Will the career center sit down with you and help you find internships that will be beneficial? Is there a portal that you can log into and review the different open internships? How many companies does the college partner with and routinely send interns to? There has to be a reliable process in place, or your chances of landing a quality internship will diminish. Colleges that can lay out out a plan to help you achieve a quality internship should be ranked significantly higher than the ones that can’t.

Conclusion

When it comes to college, your child will be both excited and overwhelmed. They will also be without the knowledge that comes with getting older and living through various life experiences. You owe it to your kids to ask the questions they won’t think about asking. This is crucial information they are going to be happy they had as they choose a college and move forward in life.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several student-focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.

When Looking At Colleges, Your Kids Won’t Know To Ask These Questions Part 1

As a parent, if your child is applying to college, you are basically applying as well. The application process is long and complicated, with several steps, questions, and deadlines along the way. As a student coach, I am always advocating that students take on more responsibility as they get older. They should spearhead the task of getting into college because it is their future at stake. However, there is only so much a student will know before starting the process.

This is where you, the parent, play a pivotal role. Managing the whole process from end to end is not a reasonable solution. You will get overwhelmed, and your child will become disinterested. Plus, this robs them of the opportunity to grow and mature as a person and student. Instead, think about the knowledge you have gained over the years. What questions do you wish you would have asked when you were their age. Based on research, and my experience as a youth coach and speaker. This is part 1 of my list of questions that your kids might not think to ask when looking at colleges.

Will all my classes be on one campus?

When we as humans experience something new and impressive, we become star-struck and maybe even overwhelmed. This is what tends to happen when a high school student tours a campus for the first time. They are preoccupied with looking at the buildings, watching the students, and taking in all the facts and figures that are being thrown at them. This where the parent can step in and ask questions on their behalf.

It’s essential to know how far away their classes will be from each other. If everything is within walking distance, as is the case at smaller schools, then they are free to create their schedule as they want. There is no reason to worry about taking two classes back to back. However, if the college has several campuses and requires students to take a bus to travel back and forth, this could cause an issue. Students might be unable to take certain classes because they won’t make it on time.

If a school has multiple campuses, it’s important to know which majors host their courses on which one. For example, let’s say the majority of business courses take place on Campus A. If today’s tour only covers Campus B, then you are not getting the full picture of the school. The beauty and functionality of campus are pointless if you won’t be spending time on it. You want to make sure you take a tour of the campus you will be spending the most time at.

Lastly, multiple campuses mean additional transportation. For students who are used to spending an entire day in one building, the idea of mastering a bus schedule, on top of a new school, new friends, a new town might be too much to take. I have spoken to several graduates over the years who talked about being unable to adjust and having to transfer home as a result.

Speak with your child about what they need to succeed, including class location. Once you determine this, you can work with MyKlovr’s Custom Recommendations section and find colleges that fit this need. This allows you to spend time looking at the right colleges and avoid wasting time at the wrongs ones.

Do You Have An Alumni Network?

The idea of college itself can be an overwhelming proposition. High school students are thinking about things like the SATs, essays, campus visits, major, living away from home, and amongst other things. Essential items such as career prospects and applying to jobs might be pushed to the back of their minds simply because they are perceived to be years away. However, you, as a parent, are aware of how quickly time flies by.

You are also aware of how competitive the job market can be and the importance of having an advantage when applying. While your child is looking at classes, you can be thinking about what comes after college. Be sure to enquire regarding the school’s alumni network. A good school will have relationships with graduates and pipeline that allows new grads to apply to companies where alumni currently work. By showing that they have a job placement partnership with past students, they are proving that they understand the importance of employment after graduation.

MyKlovr’s College Finder function can help you in your research. This function allows you to review various schools for what they offer, including things like alumni relations, job placement, career readiness, and much more. Any school you are giving serious thought to should be providing these types of services to your child.

Do You Partner With Any Local Businesses?

This last question for today’s list also falls in line with career readiness. As we covered earlier, you are much more aware of how the corporate world works because you have worked in it. As you already know, companies will always prefer a candidate with experience if they are going to spend time and resources on a new employee they want proof that they have performed like a valuable member of a team before.

The best way to gain experience as a college student is to serve in one, if not several, internships. The college your child attends must emphasize placing their students into these types of opportunities. Be sure to ask questions about how the school’s career center finds internships for the students. Specifically, what kinds of partnerships do they have with local businesses. It’s one thing to have a platform that collects and presents open internships, but a good school will have partnerships with companies and a pipeline for placing students each semester.

Once again, the College Finder function can help here. When reviewing schools, be sure to check out the career center and internships. See what past students and graduates have to say about the opportunities that were open to them. Doing this type of research now will be invaluable in the future as your child’s list of schools continues to grow.

Conclusion

This was part 1 of my list of questions that your kids won’t think to ask. Your greatest asset when helping your child is the knowledge and experience you have gained over the years. It’s vital that they take responsibility, but it’s okay to ask questions that will help their choice. These questions were chosen based on the research I have done over the past few years. We will continue to release more questions in this series throughout the year.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several student-focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org

3 Things To Review On Any College Website

In today’s world, the first thing we do when we hear about something that interests us is hopping on the internet and look it up. This is no different when you are starting your college search. Before you start your college visits or have a full understanding of what you are looking for in a college, you tend to hop online and starting visiting their websites. Most students begin to visit sites of colleges they have heard of before simply so they can start to look around.

The issue is, if you dive into a college website without a plan, it can get very overwhelming very quickly. As you learn, colleges have a lot of moving parts. Furthermore, their official website is tasked with relay a high volume of information to a variety of audiences. Students, graduates, alumni, professors, job seekers, and the media are just some of the various groups that use this website to gather information about the institution.

Over time, if you choose to consider and apply to the school seriously, you will understand which parts of the site are most valuable at different times. However, for those who want to conduct primary research, I have listed three things to looks for and review when visiting a college site for the first time. As I mentioned, as you move forward, you will need to review additional sections more carefully. For now, to avoid being overwhelmed, you can stick to these three parts.

Admissions

When you enter the site, you will most likely be greeted with a lengthy menu of options. Start by clicking on Admissions. This is where you will need to start if you are giving any thought to attending this school. If you don’t get in, then the other stuff doesn’t matter. Once you land on the admissions page, click around to find the “undergraduate programs” section. This may be in the form of a new page or a downloadable catalog.

Take a few minutes to review the various courses that are offered. This will allow you to learn what the school focuses on. That college with the billboards on the highway may not offer you anything you are interested in. On the flipside, by reading the descriptions of the different courses, you may discover something new. You do not need to make any decisions at this time, but it is helpful to begin to understand what this and other colleges have to offer.

Before leaving the admissions section, find a link to request more information. This usually is a simple form that allows you to exchange your e-mail for a PDF brochure about the school. It also shares your information with an admissions counselor who can reach out and answer questions. Again, you are not committing to anything, but it may be helpful to speak to someone about the information you just learned about the school.

Student Life / Campus Life

These two sections may be combined into one page or separated into two different parts. The purpose of both sections is to show prospective students, like yourself, what life is like on the campus of that school. They will show pictures of past events and provide information on the various clubs, sports, and future events open to the student body. This is a great way to learn more about the non-academic side of the school. If the site boasts photo albums of happy students and a long list of events, then it’s clear that they prioritize the happiness of there students.

This is also where you can look for activities you might be interested in joining. They may offer an organized club centered around a hobby you have always wanted to take up. Joining one of these clubs or groups could be an ideal way to make friends right away. These are the little things that are worth noting because they might convince you to choose this school over similar ones on your list.

When diving into content that speaks about campus life, dig around to gain a better understanding of what the campus is like. How big or small is it in size? Are all dorms and class buildings located within walking distance of each other? One of the things I work with my college-bound coaching clients on is determining what type of environment they need to succeed at school. Will they thrive on a large campus, or should they be sticking to smaller schools to ensure they are comfortable and able to focus on their academics. Beginning to understand the makeup of the different campuses will be valuable when comparing these schools int the coming months. 

Alumni

The last section to visit before getting to overwhelmed with the alumni section. This may seem odd since you are not even a student yet. The alumni section is not terribly overwhelming. It also does not force you to make choices about what information to read about. It is a section devoted to students who have graduated from that school and the successes they have enjoyed.

Every school will boast an alumni network that includes former grads that are now in the workforce. Research this network to understand how many grads are in it, where they are located, and how active they are. If a school boasts active alumni, it means typically those grads enjoyed their time in the school enough to actively give back. This is yet another insight into what life might be like as a student at that school.

The alumni network can also have an impact on your career after graduation. When you graduate, you are among thousands of grads who, on paper, look identical. You all come from similar schools with the same degrees and grades. When it comes to getting that first job, being able to connect with a hiring manager that went to the same school as you could be invaluable. Being able to call on alumni to help grads get jobs is a huge selling point for any school. Now, you will need to continue to do extensive research as you move forward to ensure this network is as valuable as they claim. If it is, then it could be the driving force behind your final selection.

Conclusion

As you move through this process and determine major and other things you are looking for in a school, you will return to the site and take advantage of the additional information it has to offer. For those just starting, it is essential to have a basic plan when visiting a website with such a high volume of information. The three sections above will allow you to get comfortable in navigating college sites. It will also let you to get familiar with what college is all about and what it has to offer you and your future.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.

New Years Resolutions for High School Students

Believe it or not, 2019 is almost over. As a high school student, I didn’t take the time to think about the year that had passed or the upcoming one. I was usually in straight survival mode, just trying to get to Christmas break. Once on break, I didn’t dare think about school or how I could better myself in the new year. As an adult, I can only wish I had played less video gaming and done more planning for my future.

Don’t get me wrong; holiday vacations are a time to take a break from the routine of the school year. However, out of the 10+ days you get off, it would be beneficial if you put aside a few hours to focus on your future. By simply committing to sitting down for a few hours one afternoon after Christmas, you will be setting yourself up for success for the upcoming year.

Setting resolutions for the new year is a popular topic and exercise for most people this time of the year. Millions of Americans commit to making changes such as eating better, exercising more, switching jobs, or starting a new project. The reason so many people have to make resolutions to change bad habits is that they never took the time to prevent them from becoming habits in the first place. Another reason why this exercise is so crucial and with several days off in a row coming up, there is no reason not to do it.

Year In Review

You can start this exercise by thinking about the year that just passed. Specifically, list three things that went well. This could include excellent grades, new habits, making a sports team, or anything that you look back on with joy or pride. Once you list them out, think about what you did to make them happen. What positive habits did you create to reach these milestones? By doing this, you are accomplishing two critical things. First, you realize what works for you and what solid habits you already have.

Second, you have proven to yourself that you can handle stressful situations and accomplish your goals. When it comes time to start looking at colleges, you can enter the journey with confidence, knowing that you have already had many of the positive habits you will need to navigate such a complicated process. You will also look at that list of habits and figure out how to best put them to use.

What’s Next?

As you already know, you can’t live in the past. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know my message is based on being prepared for the future. I cannot tell you how many college grads tell me they regret not planning for the next steps in life. Therefore, your time during this project should be focused on what’s coming next for you in 2020.

What major life events are taking place? Are you taking the SAT’s? Are you visiting colleges? Perhaps, you will turn the legal age to start working and plan on finding your first job. List all of these out so you can see just how vital these upcoming 12 months are. Then, think about if you are ready to tackle these significant life milestones. If not, what specific things do you need to accomplish? If the SATs are on your list and you have poor study habits, then this is the time to make a resolution to improve those habits. If you are getting ready to enter the workforce via part-time work, then resolve to find a job where you will be challenged to grow. Choose a job that will help you become a better person. Ideally, you will work somewhere that you can mention on your college application

Create Sub-Resolutions and a Timeline

The majority of new years resolutions fail. This is because people set broad goals without mapping out how they are going to get there. Furthermore, they do not acknowledge that they need to make specific changes to reach their desired destination. For example, “losing weight” is a weak resolution because it’s too vague. There is no way to gauge success or pre-determined deadlines designed to hold you accountable. Also, most people say they are going to lose weight but admit that they need to change there eating habits or commit to incorporating exercise into their daily routine.

The point I am making is that if all you do is make resolutions such as “Study more” or “get a good job,” then the odds of the resolution creating a lasting impact are very slim. You need to break these resolutions down into attainable sub-resolutions. Once you do this, then you can assign yourself deadlines. This will give you small goals to reach for and motivation or completing them in a timely fashion.

Below I have taken the popular resolution of “Study More” and broken it down as an example to follow:

Original ResolutionStudy More
New ResolutionBreakdown studying into multiple nights instead of just one
Sub Resolution #1Study for 1 hour per night leading up to exam day
Sub Resolution #2Complete Sub Resolution #1 for 5 straight exams
TimelineComplete Sub-Resolutions #1 and #2 by March 1st

 

As you can see, you have taken a broad goal and transformed it into specific mini-goals. Each time you learn of an upcoming test, you will schedule 1 hour of studying each night the week leading up to the test. You want to ensure this habit sticks, so you are committing to not only doing it for the first test of the new year but for accomplishing the feat for five straight exams. Lastly, by setting a goal of early in the year, you are motivating yourself to complete those five consecutive exams as soon as possible. If you do not set a deadline, you may slip and figure you have all year to complete the sub-resolution.

Conclusion

The theme of this new year should be “Preparing for the future,” and there is not a better time than to start now. You can enjoy Christmas and the days afterward. However, before the new year hits, set aside a few hours to complete the tasks above. This process will help you create better habits for not only the new year but every year after that.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org. 

3 Ways To Use Holiday Break To Help Your Kid Plan for College

There comes a time in every parent’s life where their child reaches a certain age, and it becomes time to start looking at colleges. It is an extraordinary and exciting time in the life of not only the teenager but also the parents as they prepare to guide their kids through this critical and complicated process. The problem is, just because it is time to look at colleges doesn’t mean you magically get more time in the day to do so.

Your free time does not expand simply because your child is now 16 and ready to start researching schools. Most parents have jam-packed days, including their day job, taking care of a house, and tending to their other children who are not on the college hunt. For the typical parent, the idea of adding a complicated task like keeping up with college admissions could seem flat out impossible.

Unfortunately, this is what I hear when I talk to college graduates about their application process. So many grads regret not putting in enough time and conducting enough research and for many, applying to colleges messy and chaotic. The result being they ended up going to schools that weren’t a great fit and taking out student loans they didn’t understand.

The holiday break is right around the corner. This is a rare time where tasks and responsibilities are at an all-time low for the year. You must use this free time to begin the college planning process. You should be sitting down with your child and having critical conversations without the distractions of the typical everyday life. It is also a chance to map out your plan of attack and determining how you are going to fit this crucial process into your daily life.

#1 – Establish the importance of what is coming next

The common theme across all of my research is that today’s graduates are in the state they are in because they did not understand what was coming next. As previously mentioned, the majority of the grads I interviewed admit they did not put enough time and research into their college search. They ended up choosing a few colleges based on family suggestions or location, and that is where they applied to. It is imperative to have a conversation with your students to help them understand the importance of this process.

A student cannot have the mindset that college application tasks are mundane nuances that are meant to be completed as fast as possible. This is serious stuff and needs to be treated as such. It is time to start becoming an adult and caring about their future without being nagged about it. You can motivate your student to develop this mindset by asking them what they are interested in and passionate about. If you can find ways to connect their passion to a future career, they will begin to be excited about the prospects of college.

This is also a time to explain to them what the real world is like and what will be expected of them. In most of my keynote speeches, I show a slide that outlines how much time you spend at work. This is a solid wake up call for those who do not fully understand how much time, energy, and resources go into your career. By helping your student to understand what’s coming next, it will give them the motivation they need to prepare for their future.

The Holistic Student Planner section on the MyKlovr application is the perfect support tool for this conversation. MyKlovr’s virtual counselor helps students begin building a comprehensive student portfolio. It helps the students see the big picture regarding their personal stories. By the end of there college preparation journey, this profile becomes there showcase college application portfolio.

#2 – Determine how you are paying for college

This is an uncomfortable conversation. As a parent, you want to give you kids everything they want and more than what you had. Graduates, I speak to often talk about never having this conversation. As a parent, you probably are trying to avoid it because you are afraid your child will get discouraged or not try to apply to their dream school.

Based on my research, I highly advise you take this break from school to figure out how much if any, financial aid you are prepared to provide to your child. It is much better to do this now than have them choose a school they cannot afford and be disappointed. Once you determine the amount of money you can offer, you can begin exploring financial aid options. This allows you to set a price range before you start looking at college.

The number one regret of graduates I speak to does not understand the loans they signed up for. Many students applied for the amount they needed without understanding how loans worked or how much they would be required to pay back. Make sure your child understands the basics of a loan and what their financial responsibility will be based on how much money they borrow.

Again, you do not have to tackle this alone, thanks to the Financial Readiness service that MyKlovr offers. This service provides valuable insight into the many financing options that are open to future college students. Once you determine your price range and your student has a full understanding of how loans work, they can use this valuable tool to select the right option for your family.

#3 – Map out key milestones and commit to weekly check-ins

Everything cannot be accomplished in just one week. The college application process is long and includes many time-sensitive milestones along the way. Take the time to map out these milestones and markdown essential dates. For tasks that do not have hard deadlines, assign your deadlines to them. This will ensure that they do not fall through the cracks. Lastly, by creating a roadmap for your journey, you will never have to worry if something is being missed.

However, like most new year’s resolutions, they will fade unless you keep working at them. This is why you should schedule 30-60 minutes on the same day at the same time each week to review your student’s progress. The meeting can cover two main topics: what was accomplished last week and what needs to be started/finished this week. This ensures that you hit every one of your milestones on time. It also ensures that each milestone is given the time and attention it deserves.

Once again, you do not have to tackle this alone. The key function of the MyKlovr app, the Assisted Action Plan, is designed to help you map everything out. You can review this action plan each week during your weekly check-in. It will lay out what is due that week, what is on the horizon, and what else you can do to increase your chances of getting accepted to the college of your choice.

Conclusion

Life is busy and moves very fast. Often, we do not make time for the things that matter most. Be sure that your child’s college application process is not something that has to get squeezed into a packed schedule. With life temporarily slowing down after Christmas, be sure to set aside some time to meet with your child and discuss the points listed above. A few hours this month could result in years and years of a prosperous career and life.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.

How To Choose a College That Fits Your Specific Needs

One of the most overwhelming parts of the college selection process is the sheer number of options to choose from. Even if you have a general idea of what you want to study, it is easy to be intimidated by all the different colleges that offer your desired major. This scenario can lead to students limiting the number of schools they research or choosing the wrong college altogether.

Over the years, I have spoken to many graduates regarding the college application process. Many of them talked about not knowing where to start and often just simply choosing a school without doing the proper research. As I have documented in past posts if you are going to dedicate four years and thousands of dollars to a college than you need to be sure it is the best fit for you.

As a high school student looking at colleges, it is important to remember that you are unique and that you should never make decisions based on what everyone else is doing. Before you start spending time researching and visiting colleges, take the time to think about who you are a person and student. Only you know what kind of environment and situation you need to be successful. To get started on this journey of self-discovery, I have listed a few key items to think about when determining what type of college is right for you.

Class Size

Class size is an aspect of college that often gets overlooked. As a high school student, you are used to a classroom of fewer than 25 students. In college, class sizes will vary based on the course, the major, and the school you are attending. Some colleges will offer class sizes that are similar to a high school setting. Others conduct the majority of their courses in large lecture halls where you could be seated with 50-100 other students.

When you start looking at schools, figure out how important class size is to your success as a student. Are you someone who benefits from individualized attention? Do you learn best when you can interact directly with the teacher? If this sounds like you, then one of your first research questions should be how large the class sizes are. There is nothing wrong with deciding that a huge lecture hall is not for you. The important thing is that you are putting yourself in an environment that is best suited for your learning needs.

Campus Size

College campuses come in all shapes and sizes. The stereotypical college tends to be large, with many buildings sprawled out across several campuses. However, smaller colleges can and will offer the same level of education. Do not buy in the myth that the bigger the college, the better it is. It is not about what works for most people. It is what works best for you.

If you attend a college with multiple campuses, you may be forced to take a bus to each class. This might not seem like a big deal at first. However, you have to factor in all the other new things that you will be getting used to. I have spoken to several students who have spoken about how the transition became too overwhelming and their grades suffered as a result. Some of these students were unable to recover and ended up transferring back home. 

How are you when it comes to time management? Do you think you will be able to thrive in a scenario where your three classes from the day are all in different areas? If yes, then, by all means, continue to look at those large sprawling campuses. However, if the situation seems overwhelming, you may want to look at colleges that will allow you to take all your classes within walking distance of each other. Again, there is no wrong answer here. It’s about knowing what works for you. The last thing you want is to be so stressed about getting to the class that it takes away from your ability to learn and grow as a student.

Distance From Home

Another common stereotype surrounding college is the idea that you must go away to school. Society often portrays college as this four-year party and that the only way to get the right “college experience” is to live in the dorm, away from your parents, family, and friends. This is not only false but is a dangerous trap that many students fall into.

Yes, there is a benefit in going away to college. You get to meet new people, experience new things and learn how to be independent. That being said, just like everything else on this list, it’s not for everyone. It is a significant life change that requires the ability to transition quickly in new surroundings. Not only are you getting used to a new city, friends, and bedroom, but you will be doing all of this while taking new, challenging courses.

This is not an impossible task. Thousands of students do it successfully every year. The key is to understand if you are that type of student. Will you thrive in the situations I just mentioned? Perhaps you benefit from being surrounded by family and friends. Contrary to popular belief, you can still get a valuable college experience by staying local and commuting to class. The important part is that you are honest with yourself from the start to avoid making a costly mistake in the future.

Conclusion

There is no one right answer when deciding what makes the right college. The answer is different for each student because each student is unique. Everyone reading this post has different strengths and weaknesses. Only you know what you need to be successful in school and eventually in life. Applying to college is a serious process that deserves the proper time and attention. Set aside the time to understand what you need from the start and you will be able to select a college that will set you up for long term success.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org. 

3 Popular Myths About Going To College

By Kyle Grappone

According to a recent research study, about 70% of high school graduates attend college. This means there is a large number of students and parents who are looking to consume college related content to prepare for this critical process. This high demand for content has resulted in an overwhelming amount of articles, interviews, case studies, and videos about what you need to know to make the best possible choice when selecting a college.

Typically, this blog is dedicated to helping you sift through all of that well-intentioned advice. It is essential to identify all the factual information out there. However, it is also important to admit that there is a lot of incorrect data, as well. Somewhere along the way, various myths regarding what’s important about college starting popping up. Therefore, this week, we are going to debunk three popular myths regarding going away to college.

Myth #1 – You must go away to school

As a society, when we speak of college, we automatically connect it with going away to attend it. Somehow, we have forgotten about millions of students who attend college and still live at home. When you begin this process, you will be tempted to look at schools far away from home. After all, the idea of being out on your own is very attractive. Attending a college out of state is an opportunity to become independent, meet new people, and experience new things.

For many, this is the right call. It is important to get out into the world and experience things that are different from what you are used to. However, if this is your next step, you have to do it for the right reasons. Do not go away to school because you want to get away from your parents or you want to party all the time. If you are choosing a school far from home, you should do so because it aligns with your goals and your plans.

Also, there is nothing wrong with deciding that going away is not for you. The most important thing a student must do when looking at colleges is to understand what type of environment they need to succeed. Are you the type of person who benefits from familiarity? Will a new bed, town, and friends on top of harder classes be too much to adjust to? If that is the case, please understand it is okay to choose a college close to home. This does not make you lazy, nor does it make you ill-equipped to handle new responsibilities. It merely means you have identified what you need to succeed and refuse to put yourself in a situation where that is not going to happen.

Myth #2 – You must go to a 4-year school

Community colleges get a bad rap. For some reason, they have been labeled as a place that are reserved for those who were not driven or smart enough to get into a four-year school. This is not true. Community colleges offer high-quality education at lower prices than there four-year counterparts.

A community college is an excellent choice for someone who is not clear about what they want to study in college. It is also an option for someone who knows they want to go to college but cannot yet afford it. You can attend for two years and complete your basic requirements while you work and save money for the last two years. This allows you to continue your education and take our fewer student loans.

Again, this comes back to what your plan is. What are you looking to accomplish? Why are you going to college in the first place? Understanding your needs and goals is imperative. Many of the college graduates I speak to talk about how they regret not going to community college first. They speak about “falling into the trap” of thinking that only the unmotivated start at community college. Do yourself a favor and research your local community colleges. You will be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer and how it can fit in perfectly with your future plans.

Myth #3 – You have to have all your career mapped out before you start college

This is the biggest one of all. I left it for last, so you have something to think about after you have finished reading this article. There can be a tremendous amount of pressure placed on a high school student when it comes to planning for the future. They often think that by choosing a college, they must also know exactly what career they want to pursue and how they are going to get there. I promise you; this is not true.

The most flawed question we ask students is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. This implies that they must already know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. It is flawed because how are you supposed to be able to answer that question without knowing what all the options are. This is not a time for you to be making these types of decisions. This is a time for you to be asking yourself, “What type of person do I want to become?”.

By exploring this question, you are opening yourself up to a field of options based on the type of person you want to work towards being, and the impact you want to have on the world around you.  This allows us to have an idea of what we are working towards while keeping our options open.

You are not expected to have a concrete answer regarding your future before you go to college. College is supposed to be the time in your life when you ask more questions. Where you explore your options, talk to those who came before you, and then start to determine what you want to do with the next steps of your life. You do not need to have everything figured out; you need to start thinking about what questions you need answers too.

Conclusion

The college application and selection process is challenging. There is a lot of information floating out there. Most of it is based in fact and therefore can be helpful. However, there are, unfortunately, several myths surrounding this process that need to be addressed and debunked.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.  

3 Ways To Stay Motivated During Your Senior Year

By Kyle Grappone

Senioritis. Nearly every high school student has heard of this term and almost all high school graduates have suffered from this at one point or another. In case this term is new to you, senioritis is the term used to describe how seniors feel about school before graduation. They have worked hard for several years, chosen what college or trade school they are attending and begin to lack motivation when it comes to school, classwork, homework, or studying.

It is important to note that feeling this way does not mean you are lazy. It is natural to want to take a break after a stretch of difficult or time-consuming activities. The college application and selection processes are long and difficult. Once you decide on that next step, you will feel inclined to reward yourself on a job well done. Yes, in some ways, you do deserve a slight pat on the back for getting into college. However, this is hardly the time to take the foot off the gas pedal. This is the time to keep moving forward and working towards your goals. To help with this, I have listed 3 things to remember in order to stay motivated during your senior year.

#1 – Colleges still care about your grades

The majority of college acceptances are based on successful completion of your senior year classes. Remember, colleges are looking to accept the best and the brightest. If they are going to let you come to their school, they want to make sure you are going to be a hardworking student and represent the school well.

Imagine putting in all that hard work and telling everyone what college you will be attending just to have it taken away due to poor grades. If you used getting into college as motivation before, there is no reason to stop now. As you sit in class, think about your future. Think about the college you will be attending and the things that made you choose that school. That should supply you with the motivation to keep working hard towards your goals and not slack off as your time in high school comes to an end.

#2 – It is only going to get tougher from here

Your senior year may feel like the end of an era. However, it is just the beginning of the rest of your life. Each step from here on out will be tougher. As you get older, more and more will be expected of you. College classes are longer than high school classes which means there is more you need to learn each time. The class sizes are larger which means less personalized attention. The professors move faster which means they expect you to already know how to pay attention and take notes.

The point is that you need to use your senior year as a time to build up important skills such as note-taking and studying. This is the time to learn how to focus on and increase your attention span.

Pretend you are already in a college lecture hall. Instead of going straight to your teacher with a question, try to answer it on your own. Try your best to take exceptional notes and absorb as much information as you can, regardless of what class it is. Use your senior year as a practice to prepare for the tougher courses and experiences that are coming next.

#3 – What are you working towards?

When I coach my students, we always begin with the same question. I ask them what type of person they want to become. We talk about the type of life they want to work towards. What are they passionate about? What are they good at? We figure out what type of impact they want to have on the world and then we create a plan to achieve that goal.

Figuring out your purpose is key to staying motivated. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now, but you should begin to think about where you are going. Think about why you are going to college and what type of career you are looking to achieve. Any type of life you want is going to require hard work and determination. It’s going to require you to become the type of person who always works hard and is trying their best. That type of person does not slack off in their senior year, or ever for that matter.

Conclusion

Senior year is not the end of the road. It is simply a stop on a much longer path to your future. You must continue building towards becoming the type of person that you will be proud of. Skills like problem-solving and independent thinking only become more valuable as you get older. It is up to you to continue to work at building these skills and preparing yourself to enter college and eventually the real world.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life including college, entering the workforce and the real world. He offers several students focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org. 

 

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help You Get Into College

By myKlovr

The College Process is Similar to Starting a Business

Much like starting a business, getting into the school of your choice requires a plan which extends beyond good grades. A successful college strategy includes how well you utilize resources. Resources include people, tools, information, Technology, and much more.

Entrepreneurs know that it can be a struggle to compete with larger companies with more resources. This situation requires that the entrepreneur think and operate creatively, which is beneficial. The ability to leverage existing resources more effectively (and in new and imaginative ways) can provide an advantage.

Technology: the Resource that you need to be using 

What is an accessible resource that students can be leveraging Right Now? If you guessed Technology, then you are correct.

Students can proactively use Artificial Intelligence (AI). As described by Techopedia, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.[i]

AI enables machine learning; machines are taught from experience and can adapt to new information and complete jobs. The Statistical Analysis System (SAS) Institute points out that “[m]ost AI examples that you hear about today – from chess-playing computers to self-driving cars – rely heavily on deep learning and natural language processing. Using these technologies, computers can be trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data.[ii]

How can AI be leveraged during the college admission process? 

Well, the ability to process large amounts of data and recognize patterns means that computers can do much more than predict a chess move or drive a car. AI can make valuable predictions and suggestions relating to the college admission process.

For instance, Technology has introduced virtual platforms and mobile applications that play the role of a personalized guidance counselor. A personal college counselor is of particular interest for the majority of high school students who do not have readily available access to college advisors. College advisors are a crucial part of the college admissions process, providing students with the insight and information needed to make critical decisions.

Common questions include:

  • “How do I choose a college?”
  • “What are my chances of getting into my dream school?”
  • “What can I do to increase my chances of getting into college?”
  • “Once I get in, how will I be able to afford college tuition?”

Tools that combine AI and data science can answer these essential student questions, and the best part is that AI-based college counseling platforms and websites provide personalized consulting at any time. The suggestions provided by these tools are based on extensive data sets, including personalized information provided by the users. Platforms combine the experience of multiple guidance counselors into a cohesive individualized plan.

5 Examples of How You can use a Virtual Counselor Right Now

AI-based virtual counseling platforms can instantaneously help you to:

  1. Find colleges that are a strong fit for you and meet your needs.
  2. Develop a list of safety schools.
  3. Receive guidance on how to get into the schools of your choice.
  4. Learn about available college financing solutions and how to use them.
  5. Plan and execute the activities necessary to complete the college application process.

What’s Next?

Whether you’re a parent or a student, it’s a smart strategy to learn more about AI-based virtual counseling platforms and similar solutions. These can be a helpful supplemental resource to assist with making more informed decisions and start students on a path to success!

[i] “What is Artificial Intelligence.” N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jul. 2019 https://www.techopedia.com/definition/190/artificial-intelligence-ai

[ii] “Artificial Intelligence – What It Is And Why It Matters | Sas.” N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jul. 2019 https://www.sas.com/en_us/insights/analytics/what-is-artificial-intelligence.htm.

[Press Release] MyKlovr Offers Best-In-Class Virtual College Counseling Benefits via Namely’s Brokerage Services

By myKlovr

Partnership Makes Disruptive College Planning Technology Available to Namely’s Clients as Voluntary Benefit

(New York City, June 4, 2019) MyKlovr, a growing virtual counselor for college-bound students and their parents, has entered into a partnership with Namely, a leading HR platform for mid-sized companies, to offer a first-of-its-kind benefit to its 1,300 corporate clients. Starting today, companies that use Namely’s brokerage services to manage employee benefits can offer myKlovr’s virtual college counseling services as an innovative education planning benefit.

Founded in 2016, myKlovr enables students and parents to leverage artificial intelligence to receive personalized, step-by-step guidance to increase their chances of being admitted into the college that suits them best. The platform offers in-depth support for the whole college-planning process, from school identification and academic readiness to detailed action plans and financial preparation.

“Planning for college is one of the most important life phases for a student and their parents, and it is often one of the most stressful,” says Gustavo Dolfino, CEO of myKlovr. “We wanted to work with an innovative partner like Namely to ensure we are bringing our platform to a wider audience who can benefit from the relieved pressure and stress our first-of-its-kind platform offers.”

With this partnership, Namely now offers myKlovr as an efficient post-tax voluntary benefit for clients’ employees and their families through seamless, convenient payroll deductions.

“We are thrilled to offer myKlovr’s suite of products to our valued brokerage services clients as part of our growing portfolio of both traditional and non-traditional benefit options,” said Vin DiDonna, benefits director at Namely. “We are always looking for ways to extend the innovative benefits we offer, so we can help our clients differentiate their mid-sized businesses by better serving employees, and we expect this college planning platform to provide immense value.”

Namely’s award-winning, powerful, easy-to-use technology allows companies to handle all of their HR, payroll, time management, and benefits in one place. Coupled with best-in-class account support, every Namely client gets the software and service they need to deliver great HR and a strong, engaged company culture.

About myKlovr
MyKlovr is a media division of Student Global, LLC, established in New York in 2016. MyKlovr is the first-of-its-kind virtual college counseling platform that utilizes predictive data analytics and artificial intelligence to increase every high school student’s chances of college admission. For more information, visit www.myklovr.com.

Near Year’s Resolutions and You

By Thomas Broderick

Happy 2019! It’s a new year, which means new challenges and new opportunities. As a high school student, you certainly have a lot to do over the next 12 months. No matter what lies ahead, I want to help you start your year on the right foot.

Let’s talk resolutions!

Should You Set a Resolution?

You probably know the story by heart: a well-meaning person sets a new year’s resolution only to give up on it within a month, week, or even a day. With so many people unable to keep their resolutions – and feeling bad about themselves when they do – does it make sense to make one at all?

First off, no, there’s nothing inherently wrong about setting a new year’s resolution. It’s just that for most people, they set their sights too high. I’m going to the gym every day isn’t an impossible task, but for someone who never works out, that goal is too big. Missing a day makes people feel like they failed, and then they give up entirely.

Let’s make sure that you don’t fall into the same trap by picking a reasonable resolution and seeing in through to the end.

Picking a Resolution 

You’ll have different priorities depending on whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior. That said, your resolution should relate to one or more academic or personal milestones the next 12 months will bring. Maybe you’re taking the SAT/ACT for the first time or going on your first college tour. How can you tie these events into a resolution? Here’s a sample resolution for each grade level:

  • Freshman: I will select a new extracurricular activity this year or continue one that I enjoy.
  • Sophomore: I will go on at least two college tours this summer.
  • Junior: I will take three ACT/SAT practice tests before attempting the real thing.
  • Senior: I will maintain my grades until graduation.

Each of these resolutions requires a different set of steps. However, no matter which resolution you set, achieving it boils down to the same strategies.

Achieving Your Resolution

Break Up Your Resolution Into Smaller Goals

If you want to increase your chances of success with your new year’s resolution, break your goal into smaller, more manageable goals. Let’s use the same resolutions from the previous section as an example.

  • Freshman: 1. I will write down what I like and don’t like about my current extracurricular activity. 2. I will research what new activities I can join this semester. 3. I will decide on whether to change to a new activity or keep my current one.
  • Sophomore: 1. I will research at least 10 colleges by exploring their websites. 2. I will talk to my family about which ones they think would be a good fit. 3. We will go on the tours this summer.
  • Junior: 1. I will pick an ACT/SAT study guide to use for my test prep. 2. I will see if I can find a free one at the library or a used copy online. 3. I will take three practice tests.
  • Senior: 1. I will continue to prepare for tests and assessments. 2. I will ask teachers how I can maintain my grades during this crucial time. 3. I will research how having good grades as a senior can qualify me for merit-based scholarships.

If you set the same resolution as in the last section, you may not follow these steps exactly. Everyone is different and may need extra or modified steps. The point is that you need to break down your big resolution into 3-5 smaller pieces.

Set Dates for Completion

Once you have your smaller goals, give each one its own ‘due date.’ Keep in mind that even if you and your best friend have the same resolution and goals, you may have different completion dates. No one is the same, and you want to ensure that you give yourself enough time while still completing everything by the final deadline.

Final Thoughts

You’ll have a lot to do this year, but give your resolution the time and attention it deserves. Yes, it’ll be a lot of hard work. However, when you see it through, you’ll be one step closer to attending your dream college.

Good luck in the coming year!

Back to Top