Wednesday’s Parent: 5 surprising uses of a college prep resume

Resume for college prep. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Resume for college prep. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Many parents and students understand the importance of a resume for job applications but few use it as a major college prep tool. If your college-bound child hasn’t composed one yet, suggest he do it now. Then read the following five tips to use a resume for college preparation. Go back and reread the curriculum vitae. You will never look at a resume in the same way again.

Use a resume for planning. It is a great grounding tool for assessing where you are and where you want to be. Find the gaps on your resume that need to be filled. Think about what academic and extracurricular experiences when added would make a reader take positive notice. Check the school, college and local newspaper for community service, club, and activity ideas. Bring the resume to consult with your school counselor, teachers and mentors for course selection, test preparation, college and scholarship searches. Match your future goals and current interests when choosing.

Use a resume as a quick college sorting tool. A resume has a factual record of qualifications via accomplishments. Measure them objectively against college requirements. Do you meet, exceed or fall short as compared to the average admitted student? The answer becomes a list of target/match, safety and reach schools (see 4 steps to create a personal college ranking list and Wednesday’s Parent: 2 phases, 3 points of the forming a college list Part 1).

Use a resume to be objective. Be honest, would you pick you? Does the resume convince you that you are an overall great match for what you are seeking (see above: planning)? If not, it may not be the substance that is lacking but the form in which it is presented. Are there too many bullet points, too few action or descriptive words, missing hyperlinks, or grammar/spelling errors? Read it out loud to ensure the font is easily read and it captures the spirit of your achievements. Then check your attitude, social media and appearance. All of these and your resume should be on the same page.

Use a resume for college and scholarship applications. In addition to academic records and essays, college applications and many private outside scholarship sponsors want to know about work experience, clubs, activities, honors, memberships and offices held. It will be easier to complete your applications because all of this info is contained in a resume.

Use a resume to network. Ask a teacher, potential employer, local community leader, professional association president and government representative for feedback on your resume. Write a thank you note for his time and suggestions. Well done, you have an important contact, helpful info, and added to your own network!

If your student hasn’t started a resume, recommend she whip one up ASAP and continue to update it. You don’t want to forget to include something meaningful and you want to continue to maintain perspective.

Read Suzanne’s post: The High School Resume-Getting to the Point 

_____________________________

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: Best question for parents to ask to help with college essays

Parents can help students crack college essay writer's block

Parents can help students crack college essay writer’s block

The single best question parents can ask themselves to best help their teens write a college or scholarship application essay is:

Who’s going to that college?

The answer puts into perspective two vital points in composing a killer essay:

  • It’s all about the college-bound
  • And how the college-bound will be an asset to a particular campus

It comes down to what the student offers and wants. To find out, he/she has to do a lot of thinking about his strengths, weaknesses, talents, abilities, interests and desires. Then he has to figure out which colleges will best help him achieve his short and long term goals. Finally, she has to write essays that along with her application convince the schools they want her to attend and/or provide financial awards.

College is a huge investment that pays off big time. For grads it means a better life style via more money earned over a career. Read this to find out how much more. Parents get an unexpected bonus, too. They live longer with healthier lives. Read this to find out how much longer.

Parents can’t expect their child to do their best if he or she is not vested in the college process from application through graduation. So it makes sense for parents to focus their energy on helping their college-bound student get motivated. For general tips read this and this.

To motivate to compose essays often means cracking the hard shell covering known as writer’s block. Writing doesn’t always come easy and many drafts are typical. That’s why it is best to start early when the clock isn’t ticking moments away before deadlines.

The essay is an opportunity to show student strength, maturity and growth and is best written from a position of leadership. Staring at a blank page isn’t fun for anyone so here are six ways for parents to help their college-bound write a super essay:

  1. Creativity is stifled by stress. Give your child time and space to think without pressure.
  2. Distractions impede focus. Provide an organized and quiet place for your child to write.
  3. Unsolicited and unappreciated advice isn’t helpful. Let your child know you are ready to listen and brainstorm should he suffer from writer’s block.
  4. Self-esteem is lowered from being overshadowed. Don’t make it a competition by over-relating your own past history of accomplishments, mistakes or desires.
  5. Over-confidence doesn’t help either. Constant reminders of past glories are more like bragging than inspiring compliments.
  6. A good support team can provide confidence. Let your child know you are available to help but so are teachers, guidance counselors and other admission counselors.

Then sit back, keep repeating the above question, and wait for your child to take the lead when she is ready to own the college process and do what it takes to get in and earn a diploma. He may even let you read his finished essay.

Read Suzanne’s Top 5 Essay Posts for Parents

__________________________________

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound. 

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: SOS over application stress

Emergency call button - Public Information Symbol

Emergency call button – Public Information Symbol

Are you and your child ready to send out a distress signal from application stress overload? If so, you are not alone. Between the pressures from the mid-semester crunch and the additional chore of filling out applications, parents and students can feel overwhelmed.

There are hard questions to answer, time-consuming virtual and real paperwork, deadlines looming and your child’s college future at stake. “Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way,” according to HelpGuide.org. It can cause forgetfulness, anxiety, unhappiness, trouble concentrating, bad attitudes, short tempers and a host of physical and behavioral symptoms.

I have gone through the process as a student, parent and writer/lecturer to parents of the college-bound. You will get through it like me and others before you. Colleges are chock full of current students and alumni to prove it. Perhaps the most difficult question to answer is how can you and your student reduce your application stress and prevent a stress-induced catastrophe like submission of an incomplete application, one peppered with errors or one that couldn’t be submitted because of a missed deadline?

Here are some answers and ways to reduce application stress:

Follow the leader In most college prep activities, the student does the work and drives the process. He takes the classes, studies for tests, and participates in extracurriculars. When it comes to college choice, the student must be on board or else there is little incentive for her to make the most out of the higher education opportunity. Although there are specific ways parents can help such as joining in researching schools and discussing geographic and financial parameters, for future stress prevention which ones to apply to must be those the student wants to attend.

Teamwork Form a parent-student team to help your child tackle the application task. There is much to do and parents can help. As a team member, ditch parental nagging for “business-like” meetings. Together, create a to do list, schedule each activity on a calendar, and follow-up on progress. Push-up deadlines to give some leeway. Organization and time management are life skills families can work on together. Breaking each job into small manageable steps is a recipe for success. As goals are reached, stress is reduced. Celebrate accomplishments together to further conquer the stress.

Assignments Parents may be surprised that college admission, scholarship and financial aid (finaid) applications may be due around the same time. Although most applications are about the child not the parent, parent information is required on finaid apps for financially dependent students. Here, parents directly contribute to the college application process, not just help their student through it. (Many parents are also directly involved in college visits. Combine a family vacation and you have the makings of a great collegecation). Knowing who does what when is a big stress-reliever.

Downtime Parents and children can give each other emotional support, too. Dole out compliments when appropriate and encouragement when needed. Giving each other space and making sure the calendar includes downtime (alone, with family, with friends) provides a much needed stress-relieving break.

Attitude There is nothing as stress-relieving as the successful completion of a difficult task but a positive “can do” attitude can ease the burden until the goal is reached. Life is full of challenges ready to be conquered. Injecting fun and laughter can help put things into perspective and reduce stress. So watch a comedy, tell each other jokes, look through family photo albums. What’s your family fun ideas?

Support system There are other resources parents and students can reach out to for help. School counselors and college staff are super sources. Colleges decide which applications they require and most applications are submitted online. Private outside scholarships have their own applications, too. There are times when application instructions/questions are confusing or sites have operating problems. Don’t waste time stressing out (especially if you are near a deadline); call and find out what to do next.

On my website, I talk about knowledge and reduced stress. The answers may not always be what you want to hear, but the abilities to plan, reach out, re-evaluate, adjust and move forward, make it so much easier is to cope.

Read on for Suzanne’s blog about application stress.

__________________________________________

Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from www.pocsmom.com to http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.