Despite my most fervent attempts to be timely with my blog postings, real life has gotten in the way the past six weeks. My twins, who are seniors, have been dashing about the country (separately, but with mom closely at their heels) viewing college campuses, being interviewed by admissions and interested coaches, and attempting to gather critical information on which to base that all-important decision: which college to attend this fall. It certainly brings back memories … how did those years pass so quickly?
Here’s what I’m learning … colleges and universities market to students and parents in much the same way that job seekers market themselves to prospective employers. There are the tools of the trade (Colleges: brochures, pamphlets, follow-up letters, e-mail … Job Seekers: resumes, Critical Leadership Initiative documents, cover letters, follow-up e-mail). There are the financial elements of “a decision” (Colleges: the fully loaded fee [tuition, room, board, books–a considerably bigger line item than when I was in school!], minus the scholarship amount, minus the grant amount, to net a still pretty big number … Job Seekers: the initial posturing, “what range are you looking at?” “what range did you have in mind for this level of responsibility?” negotiating to a mutually satisfactory level, building in perqs, etc.). And there’s the whole aspect of — is it right for me? (The college … and the job! The campus environment … and the work environment! The major/academic program … and the title/likelihood of advancement!)
While a competent job-search coach and someone who has been advising clients effectively for more than 20 years, I’m working hard to “hold back” on giving my viewpoint when it comes to conversations with my sons. Both my husband and I are trying to let them feel their way through the process to what we believe will be a very satisfactory outcome. Of course, when asked, we can’t help but provide the benefit of our years of wisdom and experience! But our sons are wisely and confidently pursuing their own paths in a very competent fashion, one that we’re very comfortable with.
The best part of this process? (Besides learning so much about how it’s all changed in the past few decades?) Within two months, final decisions will be made and we can celebrate the last few months we’re intact as a family before our soon-to-be college freshmen head out into the collegiate world.
– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage