My Teen LAUNCH partner, Kristine, and I have been working hard on a new program as a follow up to last year's Carve Your Own Path workshop. 

It's called Ready for the Real World: How to Make the Most of College.

I actually put an announcement out about the event a couple of weeks ago, and a mother I've worked with before (who also has a current high school freshman) asked if we weren't just creating more anxiety by talking about the "real world." Her daughter has three and a half more years of high school! Aren't we getting ahead of ourselves?

I don't think so. Here's why:

This isn't a nuts-and-bolts sort of workshop; it's about asking questions and looking at the overall context of college, which I believe everyone should do. If you grew up like me, you just assumed you were going to college. But it's not necessarily the best option for every single high school graduate. (Check out this PBS News Hour testimonial as an example.) 

Understanding the underlying reasons for why and which college is the right fit for you helps you build a better case for going there. This is critical thinking, friends! Admissions officials appreciate students who are informed about the investment their family is about to make; those students are more likely to take full advantage of the opportunities that college provides.

By making the most of the college experience, then, those who graduate will be prepared to send the same, clear message to employers: if you give me the chance, I'll make the most out of my time with your company; my work will benefit all of us. 

College admissions can so easily be perceived during high school as a contest to win. But nothing ends with your acceptance; it's only just the beginning. And those who simply get into the habit of looking ahead today will be the ones who discover their path tomorrow.

Interested in learning more? Check out our Ready for the Real World Facebook group and join the discussion. We've been discussing a range of college-related questions:

  • What is the point of college?
  • What has been the most challenging part of preparing for college thus far? Even if you aren't there yet, talk about the stage you are in.
  • Any guesses what employers are looking for in recent college graduates? Don't worry about getting this one "wrong" just because there may be some "right" answers! We want to know what you think.
  • Does your student have a dream career that excites them? Yes, sort of, definitely not?
  • What is it about a college education that makes it an ideal choice for your student? Have any questions ever been raised as to whether or not college is the best option?