• Rebecca Eckstein, MA, CEC

The College "Manifesto"


I have always been one to keep checklists for everything I do, every day. I develop one at the end of each day for the next and mark each item off as I proceed just to make sure I do not forget an important item or an important person. Now, as I read Malcolm Gladwell's, Checklist Manifesto, I find that a checklist can actually ensure that you don't make mistakes as often as you might otherwise. Researchers have actually developed checklists for surgeons to use to ensure they sew you up (just kidding), and checklists for pilots to make sure the plane is mechanically ready and so are they for each and every flight. I use to feel inadequate with my lists on various items and ideas, now I know that experts actually need them if they wish to ensure success; and in this competitive world, we need success, not just mediocrity.

The College Checklist is seriously important because the high school years are busy and it teaches you to develop good habits about your future success. In any given day, the average high school family has two jobs to focus on, possibly three if the high school student is employed, cars to service, activities to pursue, bills to pay, grandparents that need help and younger siblings that need nurturing. Therefore, to begin thinking about adding the pursuit of your dreams and ultimate life-long success to your daily workload, without a plan or a checklist or both is really almost unheard of now. And, we have all types of technology to help us with our lists online and in the app stores. Download one and go see an advisor.

What do they say, "Fail to Plan, then Plan to Fail." I hope that you or your family are developing a plan and certainly running it by a professional in the college advising business; whether it be your college counselor at school or a paid professional in the business advising world. I can't say it enough, "don't go it alone." It is easy to forget simple things like deadlines that most colleges now simply will not forgive, or worse the scholarship deadline or the amount of time it will take you to thoroughly research and visit your short list of colleges. And, worse yet, you might not know what you don't know about the process, so even if you make a list you might leave something off altogether. Share it with someone who is invested in your future success. Develop your own "manifesto" early in the process and go for your dreams. If you don't, who's will?


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