job shadows

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Putting Your Summer to Good Use

Putting Your Summer to Good UseRecently at my house, questions like, “Where are we going on vacation this year?” and, “Is there anything new we want to try with the boys over the summer?” have taken over our dinnertime conversations. Luckily, we have already answered both questions when we scheduled a trip to take our two boys, Brady (7) and Kasen (3), to Disney in late August.

This is new for us because typically we spend our summers traveling back and forth to the beach in Rhode Island. But this year, we wanted to do something different. So, Disney, here we come!

Now, for many of you who are looking ahead to college applications, the questions are the same. What are you going to do this summer? How are you going to spend your time? Is there anything new or different that you’d like to try?

My advice to you, as it is with all of my students, is to first make sure that you have some fun over the summer. You all work way too hard during the school year not to. Whether it’s going to the beach, camping out, or hitting every amusement park you can, go have fun.

Then, and only then, should you start thinking about how to best use your summer in preparation for college. Many admissions counselors love to see students who have invested their time in activities which support their interest in a major or subject area of interest so the key with this idea is that you should try to identify enrichment opportunities that do just that.

Experiences don’t have to be extreme – local opportunities can be found and expenses can, and should be, limited. Here are a few ideas:

Get a Summer Job: Whether it is a job you have held previously, a job you’ve wanted to have or an entrepreneurial adventure such as lawn mowing, landscaping, house sitting, etc., a job can earn you extra money and valuable skills such as time management, leadership, communication and commitment.

Take a Summer Class: Whether it’s a high school class, a community college course, or something offered by a local four year university, admissions counselors love to see students pursue their academic interests to the fullest.

Volunteer: Volunteering for a cause that matters to you can be a great way to use your time and show a college how you have made a difference in your community. Investigate your town’s historical society, reach out to a local animal shelter or food pantry and check out local foundations registered as museums or historical sites – see if there are projects ongoing that you might be able to help with.

Shadow: While you might think you’re interested in becoming an engineer, a stockbroker, a veterinarian or a teacher, do you really understand what it takes to not only get into each field, but to be someone who does it well? Spend some time shadowing local professionals who do what you want to do and learn everything you can.

If you would like some assistance with your college search or financial aid process, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.

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How to Make the Most of Your Summer


Chemistry Lab at Susquehanna University

As we near the end of the school year, one question that often comes up is how high school students can best use their summer in preparation for the college application process. And while the answers can vary based on what grade the student is in and what his or her particular interests are, one option I like to advocate for with rising high school seniors is career exploration.

Maybe it comes in the form of a job or an internship. Maybe you don’t necessarily need the paycheck, and you can secure a long-term volunteer experience or multiple job shadows. Either way, I love the idea of students starting to explore where their interests and skills may lead them.

You’re good with numbers but you have no idea what it would be like to be an accountant or an actuary. Maybe you don’t even know what an actuary does.

You’ve thought about physical therapy and athletic training but you really don’t know the difference between the two.

Perhaps, as a young child, you were always building things with your LEGOs but you’re not sure if that interest would translate into a career as a mechanical engineer, a civil engineer or a construction manager.

Maybe you’ve had a lot of ideas about what you might do with your life but you’ve never taken the time to tell anyone, let alone spend some time researching them for yourself.

If any of this sounds familiar, then your upcoming summer is a great way to get to work figuring out just who you are going to be and why it’s going to matter.

How do you get started? First, start talking to your parents, friends, a favorite teacher, or your school counselor about what you’re interested in. Talk to them about some of these ideas you’ve had and that you’d like to explore them further. Find out who they know who might do something similar to what you’re describing. Then, ask to be introduced to this person even if it’s just over the phone. When you do connect with this person, be prepared to talk about what you’re interested in and that you would appreciate learning more about what they do, how they got around to doing it and what they would recommend to a young, interested person like you.

This is called an informational interview. Essentially, you are interviewing the person and trying to learn as much as you can. Once you’ve done that, asking about a job shadow or how you can get involved or learn more is an easy next step. And while they may not have room to hire you, if you can volunteer some hours or shadow a couple times, you may just find out a whole lot more about just how interested you are in this particular field.

And that’s what career exploration is all about – seeking out information, contacts and experience to help inform your opinion about what you want to do with college and your life.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.

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Why College Applicants Should Brand Themselves

Why Students Should Brand ThemselvesAccording to the American Marketing Association (AMA), branding is defined as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

In other words, your brand is what makes you stand out against the competition.

And while I don’t necessarily like to use the word competition when we talk about the college admissions process, students are very much competing against one another for acceptance at the most selective schools in the country. Branding yourself in the process can very often play a significant role in whether or not your application is given that extra consideration.

When I was in admissions, I was always looking for evidence that a student truly had a grasp of what it would take to do well in their chosen field. I worked very closely with business majors and nursing majors and beyond challenging courses and strong test scores, students who had compiled some experiences through job shadows, informational interviews, research projects, part-time jobs or internships, clubs, activities and advanced coursework  which supported their interest most definitely had my attention. To me, they were vested in their future. They were taking the steps to learn more about their interests and their field of choice.

I’m a firm believer that if you do more of what you love, if you invest your time in the things that matter the most to you, if you delve deep into the subjects you are both interested in and good at, you will find success in life. Along the way you will also demonstrate to others what you are all about and what matters most to you. You will be demonstrating your brand as a person.

So, here’s how you get started.

Stop doing the things you think other people expect you to do and start doing things you are good at, the things you love to do and the things that are most important to you:

  1. Take the honors or AP option in the subjects at which you excel the most and where the subject is closely aligned to your major of interest.
  1. Reach out to someone in the local community who does what you think you might want to do in your future and ask to interview them or, even better, shadow them for part of a day.
  1. Volunteer your time to a cause or organization related to your interests.
  1. Join a club at your school and figure out a way to add something of value to it and the people involved.
  1. Find a part-time job that gets you in the door somewhere where you will learn more about your major or your intended field.

It’s never too late to start building a brand towards your future. Not only will you better yourself for it, but admission counselors will get a much deeper impression of who you are and why you should be part of their new class. Do that and you may just separate yourself a bit in the application process.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.

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College Counseling Tip Of The Day – Don’t just randomly pick a major

Instead, think about what’s important to you, your values, interests, skills, strengths and weaknesses. You want to spend your four years of college doing things which will help launch you into the rest of your life. Here’s four ways to start exploring career options before you settle on a major.

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College Counseling Tip Of The Day – Use job shadows and informational interviews to help identify possible majors

Not sure what to major in? Interview interesting & cool adults you know. Find out what they do & how they do it and then use that information to help make decisions on which majors would best suit you and your interests.

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