You've set the intention:  "I'm going to college".  Congratulations!  A college education can provide opportunities and valuable tools to help you achieve your goals.  Setting the right intentions is critical to actually achieving the outcome you're looking for, but too many students make "going to college" the end goal, rather than what the goal should be:  "I want to be a ___________________________."  You see...  

College is not the end game, it's a stepping stone to the rest of your life.  

If you want to "win" at the college game, then you need to change how you're approaching the whole "college thing".   You're talking about at least 4 years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars on this endeavor.  But students and parents spend far too little time focused on what purpose college serves in the bigger picture.  Far too many students start this process focused on the colleges and that's the wrong place to start.  

"But that's how it's always been done" you say.  True, but when you consider the fact that an average of six out of ten students who start college don't finish college, perhaps it's time to start doing this college "thing" differently so you don't become one of those six.

You need to focus on you -- your strengths, your goals, what you want.  Not the colleges themselves.  You'll start looking at them AFTER you have an idea of what you want out of your college career.  After you set out what you want, you need to decide how you're going to get there (and the colleges you choos will be part of the plan to get there)

Let's say you think you want to be a lawyer.  Okay, why?  What about you makes a career in law right for you?  Once you're certain that it's right for you, how do you intend to get there?  Well, you know that you'll need to go to law school.  Great. Again, how do you intend to get there? What do you think you'll major in?  What colleges offer strong programs for that major?  Are you taking the right curriculum in high school to get in to those colleges?  If you aren't what will you do to change that?  

As you can see, there are a multitude of questions -- and which college is only one of the many questions that need to be answered to create your plan that will get you to the end goal of being a lawyer.  

So, now that you've set the intention of going to college, great.  But before you start looking at specific colleges, let's spend some time laying out your bigger plans and goals -- you know the ones to which college is an important part.  

Your Assignment:  

Sit down and think about your longer range goals for your college experience (career, academic, personal) and then start outlining the action steps you'll need to actually implement to reach those goals.  (Hint, college will be ONE of those steps :-)

Author's Bio: 

If you're looking for ways to get your student in to college and get the money you need to pay for it, and you know you definitely DON'T want to leave it to chance, contact me for a 30-minute 'Get Acquainted Session' to see if there are ways I can help you. Simply email me at and we'll set up a time to chat.