Hey boys and girls, moms and dads, school teachers and related pooh-bahs. Gary the College Guy here.

My oh my, aren’t we in the midst of a proverbial feces-storm?

Hey listen, though none of us can say “been there, done that” w/r/t our current situation, I know this much is true:

…the weather is mostly great…
…the sun’s gonna keep shining…
…there are free and plentiful on-line streaming concerts from all my favorite bands, and…
…my Yankees are 16 -7 (sorry Sox fans!) and Gerrit Cole is pitching tonight!

In other words kids, life goes on, and I strongly encourage you to work hard on enjoying it!

I know I am.

Here’s what else I’ve been up to: reading the college trades, listening to a ton of college mavens, and taking the pulse of high school administrators, students and parents to try my best to understand what’s going on.

And here’s what I’ve learned:

EVERYONE (well, why be a spoilsport and say “most everyone”?) is working really hard to figure things out. In the case of your high school teachers and counselors and administrators that means keeping everyone safe and making things work this fall.

Problem is – and you can quote me here – no one knows how to do that.

This is a really interesting and informative preview of what adult life is all about kids. Ya often gotta move forward, and make decisions, without really knowing for sure what to do. Happens all the time. We adults like to tell you we know exactly what is going on, what to do, and how to do it. Guess what Sherlock, if you haven’t yet figured out that that’s a lotta hooey, consider yourself “woke” by me. It is!

So here’s the College Guy’s “Advice For Rising Seniors” about to embark on their glorious last year of high school (and yes you should take notes cause this will be on the test):

Keep your spirits up

Keep your head down (meaning mask up, keep yer distance and be smart about not getting sick)

READ CAREFULLY all emails and newsletters you’re getting from your teachers and your school and your school district – there’s important information in there and it’s your responsibility to know and understand it!

ASK QUESTIONS – school counselors, teachers and administrators are back on the job, and I’ve found every danged one of ‘em here in Portland whom I’ve reached out to quick and conscientious in their responses.

Whatever hybrid or asynchronous or whatever-the-heck your school is calling your fall schedule, DO YOUR BEST and keep your grades up. C’mon, it’s high school. That’s your job, and this pandemic is not an excuse to lame out on it. STAY ON COURSE!!!!

MEET WITH YOUR TEACHERS!!! All your teachers will have “office hours” when you’re invited to meet with them. DO IT!!! When you get to college every professor will post his/her office hours and very few students actually take advantage of it. Here’s a tip: the ones who do tend to get higher grades and report greater satisfaction when rating the quality of their education. That’s a FACT (you can look it up!). Especially now, during pandemic times, you want your teachers to know you’re out there. Here’s another tip: Start every conversation with: “How are you doing?”

MEET WITH YOUR SCHOOL COUNSELOR!!! S/he is a key player in your college/career planning for after you graduate. They’re there to help you, but they’re busy as all get-out and in many cases you need to reach out to them. DO IT NOW!

Are you getting the picture? None of us can change the hand we’ve been dealt. Many are in despair, complaining about their bad luck and using it as an excuse to underperform. DON’T DO THAT!!!! You’re smart, and you’re a survivor. Act that way!

Now I’m going to leave you without delving in to the real work I do, every day, with students: namely advising them on college selection, application, and financial aid (and also “gap year” planning). trust me that I’m not writing this to troll for business – I’ve run my business since 1997 and I’ve filled my case load every year since then. I truly believe that there is important stuff for you to understand, both what I’ve written above, and the details I’m not going in to now such as:

  • writing essays
  • SAT testing
  • getting recommendations
  • completing the common application
  • doing an annotated resume
  • coming up with a reasonable and realistic college list in a timely fashion
  • understanding financial aid

I know that’s a mouthful. Read some of my past newsletter “rants.” Call or email me with questions and concerns – I don’t charge for schmoozing. Request a free 30 minute Zoom or Skype consult . Don’t be a stranger.

And I’m out.

From your ecstatic educator, your dizzying demystifier, your garrulous guru,

Gary the College Guy