Family Pathways - Bozeman, Montana

Excellence in Coaching Familes on College Choices

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College Counseling with Family Pathways

It’s winter, and a new year, a great time to explore new opportunities. If you are a parent of a senior in high school, you may be stressing about deadlines that haven’t been met, waiting impatiently for the “yes” or “no” letter from your child’s first choice, or wondering how you’re going to let go after graduation! The list of worries and opportunities continues until the day of decision, acceptance declared, final choices made.

Parents of high school juniors may feel their worries are farther away, but no less intense. Juniors often fall into extremes, one side worrying too much about their future, the other unconcerned. You may be worried that your student will NEVER begin determining their future, start acting interested in their SAT/ACTs, subject test outcomes, focusing on their academics this year, all pieces that need to brought to fruition as they enjoy, yes, enjoy their junior year of high school!! OR you may be working to calm an anxious child whose focus weighs on them heavily.

As a college consultant, I know the importance of certain statistics, GPAs, SATs, APs, SAT II, ACTs, but when asked what should my junior be doing to prepare for the next step of college? I always advise, “enjoying their junior year. Finding the connections, the meanings of being young!!!” It doesn’t last, and therefore, we should make sure that everyone, and we can model this, should be practicing being in the moment. Corny maybe…but the reality is, there is far more out of our control in the future, than in the moment of time in which we are in! Yes, the higher achieving student may have more choices, or options, but that isn’t say that those options or choices are any better a fit, than simply the right school for the right student.

For parents of seniors, it’s never too late to focus on what’s important, understanding that learning is ongoing, transitional and more powerful than a focus on the outcome, the score. But let’s also remember, we are working with teenagers.
They are impulsive, easily influenced by their peers, often unable to articulate what makes them both unique, and happy. Your student can often misconstrue your opinions, and feedback as intrusive rather than helpful-your intention. So, what can you do to help them through this process of self-discovery, this transition from high school to being more independent?

Bottom line, it’s a fine balance. Working to model calm, supportive engaging behavior with your student will help your family as you all pursue new pathways.

Steve Michaud owner, of Family Pathways College Counseling, is a practicing independent college counselor in Bozeman MT. Steve has extensive experience with families from coast to coast helping them to navigate post secondary options.
Contact Steve: or call 406-570-1178