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Q&A: The #1 trait that separates prepared families from the rest (college planning)
Written by Jack Delehey on July 01st, 2022
Previously written on 8/20/2021
Last week, a parent asked me a question on a strategy session call that stopped me in my tracks for a second:

“What is the #1 trait, in your opinion, that separates prepared families from the rest when it comes to the college search?”

I had to take a second. Immediately my brain went to families that proactively book college visits, families that actually have a list in the first place, families that give the process the appropriate amount of time to happen naturally.

I didn’t have the answer in my head immediately. So I told them I wanted to think about it. I did just that and by the time I wrote my follow up email a couple of hours later, I had my answer.

When it comes to college planning the #1 trait that separates organized, prepared, stress-free families from the rest is…
Having some serious hustle when a child reaches their junior year fall.
Not sure what I mean by this? No worries. Let me give two examples. The first, a typical stressed-out, unorganized family and then a family who’s got that Junior year hustle I mention.

A typical high school junior, fall of junior year (and family):
It’s fall of junior year. 2 entire years until college. I’ve got plenty of time! No need to think about college, let me just enjoy junior fall. Soccer starts up soon and I am looking forward to that. I’ll focus on high school too, since I know that’s important.

High school seniors seem to be super stressed talking about SATs and this Common App thing and school visits...but I’m a junior! I don’t really know what those things are but it’s all good. I’ve got time!

A prepared high school junior, fall of junior year (and family):
It’s fall of junior year. Time to really dive into college planning. After all, it is only two years away, which means my applications are due in 1.5 years, which means my early applications are due in just over 1 year...which means I really have just 12 months to figure out 4 of the most important years of my life.

I’m starting at square zero. I have no idea what I want in a college and not the faintest idea of where to start...this means it’s all the more important to have some serious hustle now. Things take time and I don’t want to be sitting here a year from now saying “if only I had started earlier.”

Therefore, I am going to start getting organized today, set up a college tracker today, plan a school visit or two today...and yep, sign up for my first SAT/ACT (which I’ll take nearly blind, just to get an understanding of how it works, of course) today. Lot’s to do but I AM READY. LET’S DO THIS.
Two different mentalities there, would you agree?

You see, when it comes to college planning, there are the world’s due dates, and then there are the self-imposed due dates prepared families give themselves so they can initiate that junior year hustle!

And if you’ve read this far, have no fear: you, too, can self-impose some junior year hustle due dates by utilizing my start-to-finish college planning timeline. Here it is--and it’s free!

College planning isn’t rocket science. Every year thousands of students across the country figure it out...but those that figure it out the easiest and actually enjoy the process and actually end up at the right school they truly deserve are those that hustle...and they begin that hustle junior year fall.

Have you made it to the end of this blog and perhaps you’ve got some serious motivation? Perhaps you’re saying, “Jack, I’ve got that junior year hustle mentality...but where should I start?
Start by reading this blog of mine, which conveniently has a section titled “I don’t have a school list, where do I start?”

Go forth, all high school juniors, and experience that powerful junior-year-hustle feeling. You can do it! (And if you want to chat in detail about your college planning click here to see if and how I can help...or pass the link along to your fellow parent that might be able to use it!

Happy college-searching,
Committed to helping students & parents experience a stress-free college search

Jack Delehey

Jack Delehey (Vanderbilt '14) is a college admissions expert originally from Concord, MA and now resides in Denver, CO. It is his goal to pass on his college admission knowledge, strategies, and unique perspective to high school students in a young, fun, relatable, older-brother type manner.

The college application process is often confusing and stressful. But it just doesn't have to be that way! If you are interested in gaining clarity, peace of mind, and a detailed step-by-step program to help your child through the college application process, reach out and request a free strategy session today.
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