As Super Bowl XLVII approaches, it's the perfect time to consider some strategies from the NFL playbook that might help turn the college-bound journey into a positive one. If the "no pain-no gain" theory is right, the stressful college search must yield some mega rewards. Below are some Super Bowl lessons that can help you score.
Lesson 1: It's all about teamwork. Work closely with your school system to learn about the college search and selection process. Identify resources within and beyond the system that will help build a competitive and knowledgeable applicant. Websites like the College Board's BigFuture.org can help walk you through the nuts and bolts of college.
Lesson 2: Know the rules of the game. Do your research. Ask questions. Talk to those who've been there including college students, their parents, teachers and coaches.
Lesson 3: Tackle the biggest problem first. Examine the financial side of higher education and other important factors that might affect your choices like campus size, distance from home and specialty services (e.g., medical facilities, support programs). Websites like CollegeProwler.com and Unigo.com allow you to compare schools and search for universities by specific variables.
Lesson 4: Have a strategic game plan. Analyze your strengths and attack your weaknesses to build a better portfolio. For example, Alleyoop.com offers free online programs to build competency in math and science.
Lesson 5: Hold on. If you drop the ball too many times, you'll lose the game. College applications aren't fun. The process can be tedious and stressful, so it's easy to procrastinate. Don't wait until the last minute to submit applications. Electronic malfunctions, illness and power outages the night before a deadline can create an additional source of anxiety no one saw coming.
Lesson 6: It helps to have a cheering section. Applicants can find support in those who believe in their capabilities and futures. From parents to favorite teachers and mentors, support systems are critical during this important milestone. Parents of applicants often need technical and moral support through the tricky process. The College-Bound Chronicles is a free advice-driven podcast (Broadcaster and mom Lian Dolan and I co-host) that chronicles the journey of one mom during her son's senior year and college application process.
Lesson 7: Head butting can be dangerous. A little family friction can be normal, but it's helpful to pick your battles and move along in the process. Headbutting with teachers, school administrators and admissions office personnel is a bad idea.
Lesson 8: Keep your eye on the prize. Never lose site of the fact that losing the trophy doesn't mean you aren't a winner. The goal is college admission. Being rejected from a top choice doesn't mean that the college experience won't be wonderful. There are plenty of great universities. Second and third choices can still be winning ones.
Lesson 9: Take a halftime break. Once the applications are done, take time to rest and celebrate. However, high-school seniors must still focus on academic performance. Dropping the ball and the books can lead to college rejection or revocation of an acceptance.
Lesson 10: Tailgate food improves the mood. Stadium favorites may not lighten the load physically speaking, but they have been known to brighten the spirit. After the grueling admissions process, maybe it's time for a little splurge.