Mom's Guide To The College Process with Marisa Meddin
Mar 11, 2019 | By: Jennifer Lebo
I have SUCH a treat for you today!
And I'm not going to lie. I'm being totally selfish here, because I'm just starting down this road myself. As AMAZING luck would have it, I connected with Marisa Meddin in a Business Facebook Group. I asked a simple business question, Marisa responded with some great ideas, and offered to talk more. I spent about 30 seconds checking out her website and business, and immediately knew I had discovered a GEM, both for my own mom journey, and for all of my mom tribe.
And since March is SENIOR MONTH here at JLP, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce this new friend and her amazing business to you.
Marisa Meddin is the founder of TALK COLLEGE TO ME, a home base for parents who need help navigating the college admissions process. Her website is full of helpful blog posts, free resources, online courses, and radio interviews, where she shares everything from how to start "the college list" (the list drives everything!) to finding scholarship money, to test talk (SAT, ACT, what the heck does it all mean?).
For real, being at the beginning of the high school journey, and living with 20 high school girls a year, I feel like I stumbled onto a gold mine!
This week I sat down with Marisa (well sort of- we sat down a few thousand miles apart) and asked her a bit about her story and her work. Marisa has some great tips to share with us, as well as a fantastic FREEBIE, which we'll get to in just a moment.
1. Can you share your story? Tell us a little bit about you, and about Talk College To Me. How did you find yourself teaching us parents about the college process?
I love this question! I did this because I have a love for colleges, college campuses, and helping students get to the right college. I loved my own college experience far more than many of my friends, or people I've since met, because I found that I did a really fantastic job of picking a college that was right for me. I wanted others to have that same experience, and so my first goal was to help students get to colleges where they were going to have the best 4 years of their life, and then use it as a jumping off point to have a successful career and adult life.
I've also always just loved exploring college campuses and all things college. When I was working in the corporate world, and travelled for work, I'd find myself walking through local college campuses and just loved exploring those campuses, and I wanted to share that love with others, to help them find the campuses they'd love as well.
And then finally, I really loved helping families. I found that there was this gap in the market where there were so many serious, scholarly resources to help parents, and I wanted to help them in a more laid back and fun way. I always enjoy working with families so much.
2. What is the one question you get asked most by moms facing the college process with their kids?
“Am I doing everything I can/should be doing right to help my kid? How can I make sure they have the best chances of finding and getting accepted to the right schools?”
Ultimately what this boils down to is:
1. Parents want to make sure that they're doing everything that they can be for their students to have the best chances of getting to the right place
2. They don't know what they don't know. They wonder if they're doing everything they should be doing.
3. Can you share your top 3 tips for moms with high school aged kids, maybe those of us who know the college process is on the horizon, but have no clue what we’re about to face?
Find a trust resource to guide you….not a high school guidance counselor or college counselor, but someone who is not bogged down with all the paperwork. Someone who can take you through Step A-Z of the process so you know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. It is actually quite complicated, and having someone who can take you step by step by step really helps.
Encourage your child to become a “thoroughly spiky student” instead of a “well-rounded” student. Colleges are looking for students who have a specific interest vs one who is the very best at everything (student, athlete, actor, volunteer, etc). First of all, no has time to be the best at all these things. And second, students aren't interested in all these different things. So instead, pick that one area of interest and evolve that one interest. I go deeper into this in my online courses.
Encourage your kid to “know their story” and LIVE their story. When it comes to submitting college applications, the best ones are cohesive and tell a story. This has a lot to do with picking those "spiky" interests and conveying them into every part of the application, from activities, to essays, to resumes, to interviews. It's about telling the story- and there is a very specific way to tell that story and to live that story.
4. When should we parents start thinking about this, and what might be the first step?
If you have a child in high school, START NOW. You’re not “too late” if your student is already in their Junior year or beginning of Senior year. However, the earlier you can start learning about the process, even Freshman year, you’ll have more PEACE OF MIND.
I don’t mean you should go crazy and spend all day every day living, talking and breathing college admissions with your 14 year old student. But….learn what’s ahead, have a guideline of when you’ll need to sign up for things, study for tests, visit schools, etc...and mark it in your calendar. I love when parents of freshmen take my class because they get a more bird's eye view of what's coming and they can feel better about doing all the right things as they come.
5. What’s one common mistake you see parents make, and what can we do to avoid it?
Starting to learn this information too late! Don't assume that the middle of Junior year is the time to start. The earlier you can begin to understand, the better. Learn all the weird details and quirks and things you’ll need to do….print out my timeline….and learn the details!
6. How can moms learn more about you and where can we find you for when our time comes?
The best next step is to download my timeline (which you can do HERE). It ties perfectly into everything we just talked about and makes everything less scary, by breaking everything down month by month.
Parents can feel welcome to visit TALK COLLEGE TO ME, where they can ask questions or find more resources.
And there you have it- Marisa Meddin, the college admissions GEM for moms!
I have loved getting to know this woman, and can't wait to work on more great stuff together. Not to mention that, as the mom of a high school freshman, I will be using every resource she's got- AND my son loves that fact that she's an alumnus of his DREAM college! (Go Blue!)
Hope you enjoyed all the great tips that Marisa shared today. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go print out my timeline and get to work!
I'll see you next week, when I'l share my Portrait Prep Guide. After all, before they head off to college, they're going to need some unforgettable portraits!