What Does College Success Mean to You?

What Does College Success Mean to You?   It’s an important question to ask yourself, whether you are a parent, or a student in high school or college.

It was also the focus of “Navigating Into College, Work Experience, and Career Success,” an April 21 webinar hosted by Jeff Selingo. Selingo is the author of the Next Newsletter and Who Gets in and Why—A Year Inside College Admissions.

Emphasizing the record number of college applicants this year, Selingo and his expert panel talked about ways to look beyond rankings and “reach schools” to find the path that’s best for you.

Here are six key takeaways to help your own goal-setting:

Forget the trophies.

If you didn’t get into your dream school, a “trophy school,” it’s best to look for a school aligned with your personal aspirations, said Belle Liang, Ph.D., coauthor of How to Navigate Life:  The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career, and Beyond.

Stay curious.

Students should explore—widening their breadth of knowledge while also deepening it in the areas they like most, said Ben Wildafsky, author of The Career Arts: Making the Most of College, Credentials, and Connections.

Compare notes.

Parents often want stability for their teens—a good-paying job when they leave college. Students often want to grow. So parents and students should talk about this more. What does success look like for you? There’s no right or wrong, said Timothy Klein, LCSW, coauthor of How to Navigate Life: The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career, and Beyond.

Use coincidences.

Accept that finding the right job for you is a zigzag path, filled with hits and misses, coincidences, and conversations. Show up!  Learn what you like and what you don’t like.”Meet interesting people.  Do interesting things,” said Belle Liang.

Engage with professors.

To find what you like, engage more with professors as mentors.  Don’t look to college job preparation centers for your answer. For example, Ben Wildafsky cited this TEDX talk by Andy Chan as proof:  “Career Services Must Die.”

Hone writing skills.

The speakers agreed that writing skills are a desirable result from college (we agree!)


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