Motivating the Reluctant Junior                      by Patti Brugman

          Just the other day, one of our clients was recounting his high school experience thus far.  He said, “I’ve been working my tail off so that I can get into a great college and then work even harder!"  Laughter burst from him as caught the irony of his words.  "Please explain the logic of this to me.”

         This student, who is actually a hard-working, college-bound, young man, brings up an interesting point.  Junior year is the time to assess a student’s readiness for college.  While we’d like to see the perfect fit for every high school student, sometimes the perfect fit is not college.  Making that decision means coming up with an alternative choice for employment or service right out of high school. (Also, see our Blog on “The Gap Year.”)

         No one likes to throw money away and college is a big expense.  But let’s not jump ship yet. The “maybe” student might actually be a “yes” student if we ask the right questions. Before we begin the college process, we’d love to know that the student has a passion for something that the college experience will provide. Sometimes, we meet with students who are a little tired of the whole thing.  If the student seems unmotivated, our question to him/her is, “What do you think you need to know in order to live a satisfying life?”

         Most students are worried about the big picture, about responsibility and how they will manage when they’re out on their own.  They think, “Where will I be when I’m 30 years-old? Will I understand finances, taxes, big spending, and how history effects political decisions? Will my friends respect me?”  College provides the depth of understanding about integrated subjects such as politics, science, language, engineering, so that their graduates will be “in the know,” or have the curiosity to research what they need to know.  Is your student the kind of person who wants to direct his/her life rather than just exist in it?  If so, call us.  We can find the perfect fit, for the A+ student and even for the B/C student.-- PB