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College Planning

John Carpenter

John Carpenter is an educational consultant whose goal is to build confidence and equip students to take ownership of the application process. He is the author of “Going Geek: What Every Smart Kid (and Every Smart Parent) Should Know About College Admissions.”


About half way through junior year of high school, establish a regular time to talk about college once a week, and then agree to not talk about it at other times. Two things happen. First, the student gets a week of reprieve, and the second is that the parent gets a guaranteed time to get answers and ask questions. This works brilliantly when both parties agree to stick to the bargain. High school kids respond well because it means they'll have six days of peace each week. By their nature, many in high school don't talk about everything. They feel a lot of pressure about where they might or might not be admitted. The way they deal with the pressure is by NOT talking about it or by internalizing the worries, putting things off, or avoiding everything related to college admissions. Add to that a well-intended parent who wants to SEE things being done or who wants to talk about college often, and it’s easy to see how tension can grow.