Our family has a New Year’s Eve tradition of making fondue at home. I love this tradition for many reasons. One is the chocolate fondue – YUM. The other is that the fondue process forces us to sit, relax, and talk. It’s not a cook, put on the table, eat, and then go our separate ways. It’s a process where you sit together, choose what you want to put in the pot, and then you allow it to cook in the broth for a few minutes. We have steak, chicken, pork, and a variety of veggies – all in bite-sized pieces. We easily spend more than an hour of cooking, eating, and chatting.

Being New Year’s Eve, our discussion includes our resolutions for the upcoming year. One of my previous resolutions was to be able to hold a plank position for two minutes. This led to an impromptu family competition of who could hold a plank the longest. My boys did outlast me, but not by as much as I thought they would. #momwin

Now that my older son is a senior in high school, his resolutions are more about the college search and his career path. He does aspire to be a YouTube star. Luckily, he is realistic and knows he needs other income as he builds his YouTube empire.

I hear from many parents of first-time high schoolers. They know they need to help their teen with the college search, but they don’t know where to start. Their son or daughter may have ideas for their future, but what is the right answer? How can we help our kids without wasting countless hours and money finding the solution?

I am going to make this easy and break it down for you…

First, I want you to approach the college search process as a project. With any project, you need to outline action items, who’s responsible for completing the action items, and due dates for each action item. Your teen will be responsible for most action items. However, there will be some you need to do, and you’ll need to guide your student along the way.

Next here are some action items your high schooler should be doing, broken down by grade:

9th grade – Explore extracurricular activities that you will enjoy and help build new skills. It could be a sport, learning a new language, technology related, etc.

10th grade – Start exploring careers of interest, meet with people in that career, identify the education needed for that career.

11th grade – Plan which colleges you want to tour (either in person or virtually); find out when college fairs will be in your area.

12th grade – If you are going to college, look for scholarships to help offset costs. Keep up with good study habits and celebrate!

The college search and application process requires a lot of paperwork. Does your teen need some organization in their life? Check out the My Ideal College Countdown Organizer. It comes with a full list of exactly what your teen needs to do by grade, plus a place to track actions and keep those important documents in one place.

Regardless if your teen follows a path to a four-year college, goes to technical college, or takes a gap year, you need to help them plan for their future.

Want more guidance in your life on how to help your student with the college search process? Book a complimentary strategy session with me. I can answer your questions and provide advice on what to do next. Click here to schedule a time.