posted Apr 1, 2011, 11:15 AM by Glenda Durano   [ updated May 1, 2011, 10:33 PM ]

Competitive College Coaching is officially changing its name to College Advising and Planning Services.  Do you care?  Probably not.  What you care about is how we can help you and whether or not we can give you and your student the tools and training necessary to find the right college at the right price.  Well, along with our name change, we have some new services--including a couple of packages in which we will actually provide you with a list of schools based on your needs (and your budget). It will really open the door to some options. The service I'm most excited about, however, is our new "Countdown to College" Workshop scheduled for early June--a five-hour, intensive, hands-on seminar where your student will learn about developing college criteria, searching for universities, gaining financial aid, making productive college visits, preparing for standardized tests, writing essays, and much more! It's VERY reasonably priced ($200 for 5 hours) and will be in a small group setting to ensure lots of interaction.  Plus...(I know, I kind of sound like an infomercial, but I'm very excited...and besides, you'll like this one alot...) I'm offering two free "For Parents Only" seminars in May at Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, NM. (If you can't make those seminars, I will gladly do one at your church.  Just give me a call!)  Space is limited for both the "Countdown to College" workshop and the "For Parents Only" seminars, so make sure you call to reserve your place today: (505) 867-1207.   More information is available both on our home page and our services page.  Now, before I start sounding like a stereotypical used car salesman (no offense meant to you car folks!), let's get on with the newsletter.  In honor of the change that's happening in our business, we thought we'd address that same topic of "change" in terms of the college search process.

When a student begins the college planning process, there are several phases (changes) that occur over a period of years.  At first (usually when he is fairly young), he thinks he can take on the world and that Harvard may actually pay him to attend.  Of course, this is probably not something that will be visible to you or anyone else; rather it is only in his dreams. That cocky self-assuredness evaporates very quickly when he sees that this is not cool and when he realizes that going to college means that mom won't always be there to cook his meals and do the laundry.  Then, he swings the other way, landing in a position of denial wherein it appears that college couldn't be further from his mind.  Usually this happens in junior high.  As your student enters high school, he may succumb to dread and procrastination. This is not good.  Scripturally, we know that Satan would love to have us stay stuck instead of move forward in our gifts, but students figure, "Hey, no one else is worried about it, so why should I be?"  What your student doesn't realize is that, as the parent, you may be going through exactly the same thing.  Little did I know, until my first child began searching for a college, that apron strings bleed when you cut them.  As a student begins his junior year, he starts to see the possibility of college looming in the not-so-distant future.  This is when Satan shoots his fiery arrows of fear into the student, frequently causing paralysis.  Let's face it, for a 16-year-old, the idea of college is scary.  It means he's going away on his own, and somewhere deep inside he wonders, "Will I be okay?  Will I make the right decision?  What if I fail?"  As parents, this is the time (if not before) to intervene with love and encouragement. Rekindle your student's dreams.  Encourage him to exercise his talents. Of course, this is also the time when students have decided that mom and dad don't have an ounce of sense in their brains and it's amazing that they've survived so well thus far.  So...it can be difficult to offer wise counsel in a loving manner...in fact, it can be like talking to a brick wall, except brick walls don't roll their eyes.  Persevere.  As a parent, you are to be the model of Christ.  Don't get frustrated.  Your child may not want you at this time in his life, but he definitely needs you.

During this time, it appears that the overarching question is, "Where will I go to college?"  But that's not true at all.  The real question is, "Can I trust God with my future?"  You see, the question of where to go to college is a million questions all rolled into one----"How far do I want to be away from home?"  "How difficult will college be?"  "How much will it cost?"  "Will anybody like me?"  There are concerns about academics, social life, finances, future, abilities, values, self-esteem...you name it, it's there!  Unfortunately, too many students (and parents) let those questions overwhelm them, and they decide that the thing that would make the most "sense" is that they attend the an inexpensive, large in-state university.  While the college that is the easiest choice, closest to home and least expensive (or so it appears)  may indeed be the best choice for that student, my question for that student is:  "Have you truly sought God on the matter and surrendered the choice to Him?"  If so, then, as Proverbs 3:5-6 promises, he will "direct your path."  If you refuse to wholeheartedly surrender, however, you may be headed for a detour in His ultimate plan, but praise God--He is sovereign and He will get you on the right track eventually--if you allow it.

The most convenient choice is not always God's choice. As Christians, we trust God with eternity, yet frequently we refuse to surrender our college career to him.  That fear (and remember that fear is always a bad motivator) convinces us that we know what is best.  Instead of allowing your student to ask questions that send him into a frenzy that focuses on a 37% national drop out rate, a 54% four-year average graduation rate, and single digit acceptance rates, lead your student towards asking questions that can be answered with the TRUTH...not merely fact.  

Before a student ever looks at any university, he needs to first, diligently seek God and understand the truth about the plans that God has for him; second, look inside himself and recognize that God has equipped him for his own unique calling; and third, search for a university that will facilitate his gifts as well as offer him significant financial aid. 

At our core, one of the things College Advising and Planning Services strives to do is to lead college-bound Christians and their families in asking the right questions.  Only then can they find the answer.  This is one of our primary purposes in our "Countdown to College" workshop, our free seminars, our college consulting, and our step-by-step book "The Christian's Guide to College Admissions" (formerly "Transitions").  

When a student receives the tools and training he needs to ask the right questions and get the right answer, it's an awesome transformation--a change for the better!  The college planning process changes from being a time of fear and worry to a time of hopes and dreams--as it certainly should be.  

I hope you'll take advantage of at least one of these tools today and join us on the positive path to change.  

For more information, please feel free to contact me through this website or email me at glendadurano@gmail.com.  For more frequent advice, have my blog delivered directly to your inbox by subscribing at thecollegeadvisor.blogspot.com.