Where American Students Can Go to College for Free (or Almost Free)

With the cost of college increasing exponentially in the U.S. it is becoming harder and harder for the average student to avoid student loans. This is why so many of my clients spend time talking with me about all the various ways they can reduce their college costs. 

In this article, rather than talking about how to reduce college costs, I want to spend some time discussing where American students can go to school with little to no college costs.

Are there free colleges in the U.S.? No. But if you are willing to be an international student you can go to college for free or close to it. 

Over 40 countries around the world offer free, or very low-cost post secondary education, even to international students, including: Germany, Denmark, Greece, Argentina, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, Uruguay, and Turkey. Many of those 40 countries even offer courses in English allowing international students to benefit from their free tuition. Some of the best places for Americans to do this are: Brazil, Germany, Finland, France, Norway, Slovenia, and Sweden. You would still need to cover living expenses but tuition would be free or have a very low fee.

We are going to take a closer look at 8 countries where international students can earn degrees for free or close to it. Every country and school is different but the countries in this article offer public education for free or a very low fee, even to international students, and offer classes in English. Each country will also have private universities with tuition rates well below or comparable to the U.S. But for this article, we’ll discuss the free public universities. 

1. Germany

While most universities have programs that are taught in German and programs that are taught in English, there are some German universities whose main language is exclusively English. 

The public universities in Germany do not charge tuition; however, each semester, all enrolled students will most likely pay a social contribution fee. The social contribution fee is newly calculated each semester and as of 2022 is approx. €300 

Cost of living will of course vary.  So let’s take a quick look at Cologne. Students can expect to pay per month approximately: 

Click here to learn how to get a student visa in Germany.  (link: https://www.germany-visa.org/student-visa/

2. France 

In France you may not be able to find undergraduate study abroad offered in English; however, more and more graduate programs are creating English-language degree programs. Most Master's programs in subjects other than French literature or French studies now allow students to do some or all of their coursework in English. Over 1,000 master's degree programs offered 100% in English are available to students wishing to pursue graduate study in France.

Again, the cost of living varies so let’s take a look a few places: 

Click here to get a student visa in France. (link: https://france-visas.gouv.fr/web/france-visas/student)

3. Luxembourg 

The University of Luxembourg has three different teaching languages: English, French and German. 

Luxembourg is fairly expensive to live in because it is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. In addition there aren’t many universities, so competition is high. However, Luxembourg does have very inexpensive higher education. A Master’s degree has a fixed annual cost of 400 EUR. 

As a student, you will spend between 700 and 1,500 EUR every month to cover your living costs. 

Click here for a student visa in Luxembourg. (link: https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises/ressources-humaines/recrutement/ressortissant-pays-tiers/etudiant.html)

4. Iceland 

“Iceland” is a bit of a misnomer as this country is a huge green and yet treeless island.

Even though the primary language of instruction is Icelandic, the University of Iceland offers several study programmes that are taught fully in English and are therefore open to international students.

In Iceland there’s zero tuition fee at the country’s public university, the University of Iceland

For the cost of living, you can expect: 

Click here for a student visa for Iceland. (Link: https://utl.is/en/residence-permits-for-students

5. Sweden

Next on our Nordic list is Sweden where tuition varies but still remains much lower than in The States. Some universities might only require a ‘symbolic’ tax of 100 EUR. But most of them usually have tuition fees between 1,000 and 5,000 EUR/ year.

In addition, even if you pay for your Master’s, you will get paid for a Ph.D.  PhDs in Sweden require some teaching and research which is paid. As a doctoral student, you become an employee of the university.

Living costs for students in Sweden are above the European average. You should expect to spend between 700 – 1,200 EUR/month. 

Dormitories range between 240 – 620 EUR/month. Renting or sharing an apartment, you can pay anywhere between 350 and 700 EUR/month. 

Public transportation fares for students cost around 40 - 55 EUR/month. Or you can choose a bicycle for transport and pay around 110 EUR for it. Around 27% of students in Sweden use bicycles to travel in the city.

Books and other study materials: 80 EUR/month

Health insurance: rates start at 30 EUR/month

Click here for a student visa for Sweden. Link: (https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Studying-and-researching-in-Sweden.html)

6. Greece

Another low-cost option on our list is Greece. All non-European international students are expected to pay fees of around €1500 per year for undergraduate studies which includes the cost of course books. For Master’s studies in public universities, the fees are around €1500-€2000 per academic year/semester. 

In Greece you can find fully English-taught Master's degree programs in a variety of disciplines. 

Greece is one of the more affordable European destinations for international students. Most people can live comfortably on a budget of 450–750 EUR per month. Of course, Your lifestyle and choices will decide if this budget goes up or down. 

Click here for a student visa in Greece. (link: https://studyingreece.edu.gr/living/before-arrival/visa/)

7. Argentina 

Argentina is famous for its colorful and vibrant culture. This, along with the fact that they offer courses in English, continuously attracts international students from around the world. 

Undergraduate courses at public universities in Argentina are tuition-free for foreign students. Masters or Postgraduate degrees can have a tuition fee of approximately from $2,300 to $27,000 per year. 

The Cost of living in Argentina depends on factors such as university location and lifestyle. On average, it can cost you around $2,500 to $4,500 for one year. As Buenos Aires is where most international students find themselves, here the cost of living is approximately:

Click here for a student visa for Argentina. (link: https://cancilleria.gob.ar/en/services/visas/student-visa-365-days)

8. Brazil 

The University of São Paulo or Universidade de São Paulo is Brazil's leading, world-class institution and the largest public university that offers English-taught programs in Brazil. It has earned its place among the world's best based on international rankings. Public universities are free for international students.  

The cost of living in São Paulo is comparable to those in Rio and Brasilia.  

Click here for a student visa in Brazil. (link:https://www.passportvisasexpress.com/visa_services/brazil/country_information/brazil_student_visa

Being an international student not only opens Americans up to quality education at a much lower cost, but can also provide something American universities can’t: experiencing different styles of education, picking up another language, boosting career opportunities, finding new interests, and learning from other cultures and perspectives. 

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. 

Is School crushing your kid?

Over the past few decades we’ve seen a doubling of the suicide rate among young people ages 15-24, a quadrupling of the suicide rate in children ages 15 and under, and five to eight times as many children suffering from major depression or a clinically significant anxiety disorder. Our current education system does not properly help students learn or practice the elements that lead to a physically or emotionally healthy life. The system even prevents it in a few different ways.

The success of a school shouldn't be measured by test scores. It is more important that students are able to manage their inner world, relate to their outer world, and find their place in the world. My research lead me to write the  book, "What's the Point of School? Ed Transformation: A Matter of Life and Death." In this book I go into more detail about the history of public education and how it came to be designed the way that it is. I also go into detail about why it is to the detriment of our kids' well-beings if we continue with this Industrial design. The good news is that I also researched what we can do about it.

“What’s the Point of School?” outlines the Five Happy Healthy Elements that will guide students to becoming citizens who know themselves, know their communities, and know how to create a fulfilling and happy life based on their interests and skills. I suggest a starting point for a redesign of the system that will transform education for a thriving generation. I discuss a new way to view and talk about education that puts student well-being at the top of the priority list.

Yes, it may take a while for a complete transformation of our education system to happen, but you can get started in your own home today.  You can ensure your kids lead thriving lives by following the Five Happy Healthy Elements.  Below you'll find tips to get started, but first, let me introduce the Five Happy Healthy Elements to you.

The Five Happy Healthy Elements

In contemplating how we can truly prepare kids for their future I looked to a few experts. Sir Ken Robinson said in his book "Creative Schools" that we should be helping kids to manage their inner world and relate to their outer world. I would take that one step further and add that we should also help them find their place in the world. But what exactly does all of that mean?  I then looked to Dr. Roger Walsh who is working on a project called The Eight Ways to Well-being, Dr. Rajagopal Raghunathan who teaches a class call "Living a Life of Happiness and Fulfillment," Dr. Ed Diener who  is also known as Dr. Happiness, and the country of Bhutan which measures GNH, or gross national happiness. With their guidance I formulated the Five Happy Healthy Elements. They are:

Play and Exploration of Interests

It has been scientifically documented that play is absolutely essential for a child’s proper physical and mental development. Not only does it help children manage their inner world and relate to their outer world, it is the Happy Healthy Element that most directly helps children find their place in the world. Play strengthens relationships and can outperform pharmaceuticals for treating clinical anxiety and depression.

Emotional Health and Positive Relationships

Emotional Health is all about helping children manage their inner world and relate to their immediate circle. It is regulating feelings and the thoughts that lead to those feelings. When you are able to control your emotions, your prefrontal cortex is more available for you to make good decisions. Emotional health training is sorely lacking in society in general. Regardless of one’s socioeconomic status, religious background, or home life, most of us are not taught how to manage our emotions. Developing the skills required to regulate your emotions and take control of your feelings is not easy.  Like other skills, this requires time and practice.

Physical Health and Nutrition

There are three elements that lead to a physically healthy life. Most people can guess the first two elements: Fitness and Nutrition. However, the third remains largely a mystery, yet it is just as important as the other two. Do you know what it is?   Sleep.   Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicide. As it turns out, a poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that 59% of 6th through 8th graders and 87% of high school students in the U.S. were getting less than the recommended 8.5 - 9.5 hours of sleep per night. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explains that beginning at puberty, kids’ sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later. Not only is it hard for them to get up in the morning; it is hard for them to get to sleep before 11:00 at night. We wake kids too early, we insist they participate in multiple extra curriculars, we give them hours of homework, and we don't teach them about nutrition. All of this combined with sitting kids behind desks for hours on end is a recipe for a lifetime of poor physical health.

Financial Literacy

I will never understand why we don't prioritize teaching finances. Generally, personal finances are thought to not be rigorous enough. When I have seen a school offer the class it is a remedial math course. Yet one of the first decisions students will have to make in their early adulthood is how to finance their higher education, one of the biggest financial decisions they will ever make in their lives. Then they will go on to interact with their finances every single day.

Community Involvement and Effective Altruism

It is through community involvement and effective altruism that we begin to help children see beyond themselves and their immediate circle. By participating in service projects, individuals learn that their actions affect more than themselves and have an impact on others. The altruism they learn will also bring fulfillment. Only 10% of happiness levels lie in life circumstances. About 40% of our happiness lies in things that are within our control, and kindness is one of them. A Chinese proverb says, "if you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody else."

How You Can Help Your Kid Thrive

There are three steps you can take to make sure your kids have the tools they need to live fulfilling lives now and in their future.

Step 1:
Purchase "What's the Point of School?" to get even more detailed information about the Five Happy Healthy Elements.

Step 2:
Join the Ed Transformation Nation to regularly get specific ideas on how to incorporate the Five Happy Healthy Elements into your home, school, or classroom.

Step 3:
Take the next five weeks to try the happy healthy elements with your kids.

Week 1 - Start with sleep. It's the simplest one. Let your kids sleep longer in the morning or put them to bed a little earlier.

Week 2 - Extra Play! Try to take your kids to a playground an extra time or two this week. Arrange a surprise play date. Or give them a little extra unstructured, independent play time. For older kids, facilitate a game night, or give them some surprise extra video game time. Yep, I said it: A little extra video game time.

Week 3 - Visit the Cosmic Kids YouTube channel and try one of the Zen Den mindfulness videos or the Yoga Adventure Videos.

Week 4 -  Pick up a finance family game like, The Game of Life or Financial Peace Jr.

Week 5 - Arrange a service group project. Maybe call it a volunteer party. Perhaps you make some DIY puppy toys and deliver them, along with old blankets and sheets, to an animal shelter. Here are a few more ideas.

Don't forget to share your family's  Happy Healthy journey! I'd love for you to tweet or Facebook some pictures.

A  Peek Inside the Book

Introduction ... "The most damaging phrase in the language is 'We've always done it this way!'" - Grace Harper

Chapter 1: What's the Point? ... "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree, it will live it's whole life believing that it is stupid." - Attributed to Einstein

Chapter 2: Preparing for an Economy and a Society that Doesn't Exist Yet ... "Craft the life you want. Leave the world better than you found it." - unknown

Chapter 3: The Five Happy Healthy Elements ... "We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are." - Oprah

Chapter 4: Play and Exploration of Interests ... "If we don't stand up for children then we don't stand for much." - Marian Wright Edelman

Chapter 5: Emotional Health and Positive Relationships ... "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." - Attributed to Aristotle

Chapter 6: Physical Health and Nutrition ... "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." - Frederick Douglass

Chapter 7: Financial Literacy ... "Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken." - Warren Buffett

Chapter 8: Community Involvement and Effective Altruism ... "Everybody can be great... because everybody can serve." - MLK

Chapter 9: Learning Through Interests Rather Than Subjects ... "Every day our children spread their dreams beneath our feet. We should tread softly." - Sir Ken Robinson

Chapter 10: Transforming Education for a Thriving Generation ... "We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already." - JK Rowling

6 Ways to avoid $50K in surprise college costs

College is expensive! So, of course we all want to do our best to save some money. Most people look for ways to reduce costs, which you know I am all about.

What most don't realize is that many students have been blindsided with unexpected, surprise college costs that get added on top of what they were expecting.

You read that right...

Thousands of students get blindsided by $25,000, $50,000 or more on top of what they were already expecting to pay. For some, this has resulted in more loans and more debt. For others, this leads to dropping out. As a matter of fact, when college dropouts were surveyed, the number one reason for not completing their degree was costs.

So, I want to help you learn about these surprise costs. I want you to know what they are, how they happen, and the steps that you can take to avoid them.

When I sat down to write out the tutorial for you, I realized it was so much information that a blog post can't contain it all, so I created a free, 3 part video info series, presented by me, to give you the steps you can take to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in extra costs.

You can listen while you commute or do chores, but make sure you have a way to take notes. I give lots of detailed information about these surprise costs and how they happen. I also give you step-by-step instructions, a recipe if you will, on what you can do to avoid these extra costs.

I'll see you soon!

Imagine the possibilities

Can you imagine your teen pursuing their future with drive and excitement? Can you imagine knowing that the path they chose will not only lead to a thriving life of financial security but also a life of fulfillment? For so many young people this isn’t the case.
 
Many teens get to graduation and just pick a school or a major because it’s what they are “supposed to” do, it’ll make them good money, or it’s what everyone else is doing. But there’s no purpose other than that and there’s no excitement for their future. Some get to graduation without making any decision at all.
 
This can lead to them feeling aimless in life, wandering through it hoping they will stumble upon their passion. These young people can often feel purposeless which can lead to depression or negative habits. They are often unmotivated, anxious, and sometimes angry. Or maybe it will lead to changing majors, which will cost time and lots of money for both them and you.

What can you do?

The good news is, all of this can be avoided! It is possible for your teen to craft their own unique definition of success that they are excited about. They can find occupations that are uniquely suited to who they are and what they value and then start taking the steps towards them with direction and purpose.

When they have the opportunity to go through this process, they will learn how to move through life motivated. Everything they do in life will have a reason, a purpose. They will know what’s important and what’s not because they will have their own internal GPS system that will allow them to live with more freedom and less stress. 
 You have the opportunity to provide all of this to your child this summer!

Life Quest®
What is it? Life Quest® is an online 6 week program designed to help teens and young adults each craft their own version of success and find the steps to pursue it. This program is designed to fit in and around your child’s other activities, yet it has the power to reshape their future for the better.

Here's what parents and young people are saying:

Sowmya - GA
It is definitely a wonderful program and gives the teen a great in depth knowledge into who they are. It also helps them to know what they may find satisfying and fulfilling in life. It was very tailored and personalized to suit each child. It's also much more of a wholesome personal exploration for my teen which I valued.

Sarah - London
Prior to this, I hadn't received any career guidance. Now, I'm feeling positive and inspired about the occupations I collected. I am less stressed in regards to making decisions for my future and I feel that I have a good game plan for pursuing my career and finances. The program gave me clear options and Emma is so lovely. I would recommend this program.

Michele - MA
Hiring Emma is one of the best decisions we’ve made for our teen daughter who is navigating the whole process of figuring out life after high school. It took the pressure and stress off of us, as parents, and our daughter actually enjoys working with Emma. Our daughter’s high school’s focus is limited like most, if not all, high schools and they can’t accommodate each student’s unique needs. As parents, we don't have the knowledge or resources to do so. At a reasonable cost, one can have guidance from the experienced, professional, responsive, and uplifting Emma!  It’s well worth it, and we highly recommend her. We’re very grateful for finding Emma.

Jonathan - FL
Upon completion of the modules and action packs I understand the importance and value of each. For someone to find a path is important, but to prepare and empower someone (both mentally and emotionally) is paramount to healthy success. This program is a valuable system that can assist students not only in the classroom but also in the workplace and in their personal lives.

Click the link below to learn more.

5 Tips to make the most of an unusual summer vacation

Have your summer plans been upended? Because of this pandemic, many parents have recently expressed uncertainty about what to do with their kids all summer while others are concerned about their teens missing out on activities that strengthen college applications. 

Although this summer vacation may not include volunteering or a typical summer job, it can still be a time for fostering self-discovery, growth, and independence. Check out these five ways that you and your teen can make the most of this summer.

1. Create a summer routine together.
Plenty of households have built wonderful routines for the remainder of the school year, with time set aside for study, exercise, and family activities. The end of the school year is a good time to revisit that daily schedule and decide how to spend all that new free time. Your teen will likely have pretty strong ideas about this (like sleeping in and hanging out with friends on Zoom), so work on building a new summer routine together. This exercise could be a great opportunity for your teen to practice negotiation and compromise as you develop a routine that satisfies everyone. 

2. Dive deeper into a favorite subject.
Summer enrichment courses might be off the table this year, but that doesn't mean that intellectually curious teenagers have to sit idle. Maybe they've always been interested in the Renaissance or want to know more about a favorite animal. With a little guidance, your teen can find resources to scratch that itch for knowledge and even design a "curriculum" for the subject. The Library of Congress offers a wealth of digital materials to help you get started. Remember, though, that teens will get more out of their exploration if it's voluntary--that is, if they choose the direction and depth of their independent study. After all, they probably still have summer reading lists and other mandatory academic activities already. So let them keep this casual! 

3. Plan a virtual vacation. 
If your teen has a taste for travel, let her choose a destination for a virtual family vacation. Museums around the world are offering virtual tours, as are national parks. You could even have a virtual weekend in Manhattan, complete with an evening at the opera! This is a great way to help you feel like you're getting out of the house, while also helping your teen practice planning and research skills.Encourage your teen to plan out a few days' itinerary, including a cultural experience, something "off the beaten path" that isn't a typical tourist activity, and a home-cooked meal that's representative of the destination.  

4. Pick up a new hobby. 
How much did you know how to cook when you moved out on your own? At least a few college friends ate nothing but Instant Ramen and frozen pizza--for four years. Now's the time to help your teen learn how to cook their favorite foods. Or, if they'd prefer to do something outside, gardening might be an even better option. Help your teen focus on hobbies that will prepare them to live on their own. 

5. Seek an unconventional summer job. 
The current health crisis has caused us to rethink the way we all work, and traditional summer jobs may be tough to come by. Your teen might enjoy the challenge of a remote job. The remote work environment encourages self-discipline and can help your teen gain fluency in the technologies required to work from home. Alternatively, teens can spend time honing skills that are well suited to the remote work environment, such as writing, graphic design, or coding. 

You may have noticed that all of these activities require your teen to know their interests, goals, and habits. That takes a healthy amount of self-awareness! If your teen isn't quite there yet, that's totally normal. That's why I've developed the LifeQuest program: to guide teens toward the self-knowledge they need to make smart decisions about their own futures. 

If you'd like to learn more, you're invited to schedule a free consultation. On our call, we'll talk about your family and your child's unique needs. If LifeQuest seems like a good fit, I'll let you know. If I think your family needs support in some other way, I'll point you in the right direction.

Schedule a Free Consultation

I look forward to helping you and your family make the most of this summer!

All things college and career

It’s always a good idea, before you spend lots of time and/or money investing in a career, to do your research on the profession to make sure it is a good fit for you. There are a few ways I provide this opportunity to the young people I work with. One of which I wanted to share with you today.

The podcast All Things College and Career was created with the goal to provide a resource for all people that are researching careers, colleges, or academic majors.

Meg and Bobbie, sisters and college advisors, interview experienced professionals, from a variety of careers, asking them questions like: How did you get started in your career? What sort of education or training would you recommend to someone interested in this career? If you went to college, can you tell us about that experience? What is a typical day like on your job? What are the advantages of your job? What are the drawbacks? What are the three things you love about your job?

They also interview college and career experts that can assist the listeners with all their college and career planning needs.

I sat down recently to answer these questions and to provide some tips and ideas as a college and career coach. The interview covers a variety of ideas and tips including:

Please join us for this fun and informative conversation. You can listen on their website or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Protests during a pandemic

When it comes to racial injustice, I am no expert. It will be a constant journey of educating myself, growing from what I learn, and teaching my children as best I can.

In spite of my shortcomings, I wanted to find a way to help parents whose families are struggling as we watch what's unfolding this week. So, I found people who know better than I do and gathered resources that might be helpful to you.

Common Sense Media - the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to providing trustworthy information and education. Here you can find ratings for movies, books, and games created with families in mind. Click the button below to find a list of black history movies that tackle racism for ages 9 and up.

 Vice Media - Click the button below to get self-care tips for black people struggling during this painful week.

Today -  Click the button below to get guidance on how to talk to kids, preschool through teenagers, about racism and injustice.

Anti Racism Resources - This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.

Dark times like these bring attention to what needs to be changed. It is a painful time, yet it is also a time that allows us to learn, change, and grow. Let's choose growth together.

Stay safe and stay well.

Tips to make the most of a gap year

More and more high school graduates are choosing to take a year off after high school and before college. Even college students sometimes choose to take a leave of absence.  So the question I get from many families is how to make the most of this time. 

I’m so glad they ask! Many parents are worried that the year will be wasted time. But, if used wisely, this extra year can be transformational!  So, I have put together a guide for making the most of this time. 

First, let’s talk about the benefits of taking a year off. If you’ve already decided, scroll down for tips to make the most of the year.

The Benefits of a Gap Year

As you can see, a gap year doesn't have to be wasted time. It has the potential to be an extra year giving young people the skills and tools to live a healthy happy life. Now, let's take a look at some tips to incorporate these experiences into your graduates year.

Tips to Make the Most of a Gap Year

A lot of young people choose from a variety of quality travel programs for their gap year because of all the wonderful benefits of experiencing another culture. However, if travel is not an option there are still some great ways to make the year transformational. If you include the learning experiences listed below, you are sure to have an amazing year! 

  1. Self Care - Establish healthy habits and practices. Start by getting the recommended hours (8-10 for teen) of sleep per night. Learn what healthy foods are best suited to take care of your body, and make sure to keep moving in whatever way feels best for you. Learn how to take care of your mental and physical health by taking on a mindfulness practice. A mindfulness practice could include meditation, walking in nature, yoga, tapping, gardening, journaling, coloring, or any other relaxing, restorative, or meditative activity.  
  2. Volunteer - I mentioned earlier that travel allows for individuals to learn about other cultures. This is often true when volunteering, as well. Whether your volunteer work is in person or virtual it is a great way to build new relationships, build new skills or continue to hone some of your best skills. And you will learn that you can make a difference with what you do. Also, let me mention that generosity has its own set of benefits from higher self esteem, more friends, and better mental health to having a greater satisfaction with life. 
  3. Learn about money - Some schools in the U.S. require a quick, high-level finance course, but most do not. Money is something that we interact with every single day and so deserves at least some basic understanding. Many young adults begin life with little to no knowledge about how to manage their finances, read loans, or the basics of investing. So many of us learn money through trial and error which often leads to simple mistakes that can take years to correct. Taking a year to learn these basics is a great way to establish a financial foundation so that a young person has more of a chance to grow their wealth. Of course, getting a job in addition to reading and learning about money management is a great way to do this. However, some choose not to work during their gap year if they feel it might change their FAFSA award amount. But that’s no reason not to engage in this type of education. 
  4. Finally, engage in what I call Career Prototyping. If you still aren’t sure what you want to do for work, start with career exploration. Then, once you have an idea of what you want to do for work, research it more to make sure it’s a good fit. Keep in mind: Interest -> Industry, Personality & Skills -> Job, values -> Decisions. There are all kinds of things you can do to get an idea of what it’s really like to have a particular job. Look it up online, talk to someone who has the job, and best yet: job shadow, intern, or get a job in the field. If you want to learn more about how to begin a thorough career exploration and prototyping journey click here. 

If you include the items listed above the year will be full of valuable life lessons that most people don’t learn from school. Whatever way you or your graduate chooses to spend the year, set intentions at the beginning. Consider what they want to accomplish during this time. Make sure to celebrate all the wins along the way, big or small. And finally, have fun! 

What does success look like for your teen?

I often tell my clients to imagine themselves 10 years from now. Then I ask them, "what does your life look like?" Typically, I get canned responses, which, of course, we dissect to get to real answers. A common canned response is “to be successful.”   …what does that mean? 

Actually think about that for a moment; what does it mean to you to be successful? Why is that your definition? Do you think your teen has the same definition? 

When it comes to helping young people reach success I’ve heard all kinds of advice including: 
 
“Go to college and get a job.” This suggests that if you go to college you are essentially guaranteed a well-paying job that will provide financial freedom. 

I’ve also heard  “Follow your dreams and pursue your passions.” This suggests that those seeking only financial success are living unfulfilled lives; only in making a job of your passions will you be happy.

While these two pieces of advice may seem like opposites, they do have something in common. They both suggest that what you do for a living is the main measure of success. Whether what you do brings you money or passion, it tends to be our professions that define us.

Here's the thing...

What we do for income is only a piece of the puzzle that is our life. It needs to fit, yes, but it is not the whole picture.

Each person deserves the chance to craft their own unique definition of success for their life. This is what ensures that we don't get swept up in the current of what everyone else is doing rather than following our own path.

Do you have resources in your life to help your teen do this? Most college guidance is focused on how to get accepted into a university, which is very valuable, of course. However, most of the families I work with come to me because they have little to no career guidance available to them, let alone guidance on how to craft a unique definition of success.

If you need more resources to help your teen design a game plan for life after high school that is unique to them, click the button below to learn the process I take with my clients to help them design a life they'll love, get matched with occupations that are uniquely suited to them, and help them find and take their next steps with drive and purpose.

Give your teen a roadmap for life rather than just figuring it out as they go

This program is different than other college and career guidance my child received. My daughter is more motivated to take her next steps and is better prepared to make decisions for life after high school. She has a better sense of who she is and what she wants out of life and I'm excited about her next steps. I would recommend Life Quest. It really gave my child concrete tools to flush out a plan for her future.

"What am I going to do??"

I was crying on my husband’s shoulder as he held me, standing in the kitchen. I was so scared.

I finally admitted to myself that I just couldn’t continue the career I had been pursuing. It was the career I wanted ever since I was a child, but after almost a decade I was miserable. Leaving it, however, was so scary to me. I didn’t know what else I could do. I didn’t know what other value I could bring to the world.

That’s when I began my soul searching journey to learn more about myself apart from what I did for work. I went on a journey to solidify my values and priorities. To find new ways to put those values and priorities together with what I was really good at. Meanwhile, I took a job in admissions at a university. Before too long I was conducting college and career workshops at high schools all across my state. 

That was such an amazing experience for me. I visited schools with a one day workshop to talk about not only college but also how to figure out what to do for work. I remember one young woman who was the class trouble maker. She told me no one had ever talked with her about what she was good at. No one had helped her consider what she could do for work. She didn’t want me to leave that day. 

I wished I could do more. And that’s when it clicked. I could take everything I had learned in the years of working in admissions and conducting the workshops and combine it with the personal work I had been doing, the work with life coaches, and my own career coaches. 

I could create a process designed for teens to help them do the work I had been doing after my career change. I could give them the knowledge and tools to create a life they’ll love and never have to experience the fear I faced when I changed careers. 

Sure, circumstances change and people change with them. But why not make it easier for them? I realized I could teach teens to solidify their priorities, to recognize their transferable skills, and to communicate their value.  Most importantly, I could teach them how to create their own framework for decision making so they don’t hang on to something that’s not right for far too long as I did. 

That's when I created Life Quest®

Now I work directly with families. It's been almost another decade since I changed careers and I'm so glad that I did!
Here’s what some of my past clients have said about Life Quest®.

Life Quest was one of the smartest decisions I ever made and has a great value. It taught me more options and life lessons than just how to get into college. The occupations I picked are amazing. They are exactly what I want to do. My vision for life after high school is more clear and direct to what I want to do/be and I know now that I will be successful. - AJ 15

Prior to this, I hadn't received any career guidance. Now, I'm feeling positive and inspired about the occupations I collected. I am less stressed in regard to making decisions for my future and I feel that I have a good game plan for pursuing my career and finances. The program gave me clear options and Emma is so lovely. I would recommend this program. - Sarah 21

April, a parent in Virginia - This program is different than other college and career guidance my child received. My daughter is more motivated to take her next steps and is better prepared to make decisions for life after high school. She has a better sense of who she is and what she wants out of life and I'm excited about her next steps. I would recommend Life Quest. It really gave my child concrete tools to flush out a plan for her future.

Sowmya, a parent in Georgia - It is definitely a wonderful program and gives the teen a great in-depth knowledge into who they are. It also helps them to know what they may find satisfying and fulfilling in life. It was very tailored and personalized to suit each child. It's also much more of a wholesome personal exploration for my teen which I valued.

Your teen doesn't have to experience what I did. They don't have to step into their future just figuring things out as they go. You can give them the tools and skills to be prepared for whatever comes.

If you are the kind of parent who wants to give their teen all the resources you can to help them live a thriving and fulfilling life,

Click the button below to connect.

If you hop on a call with me you can tell me about your teen's unique circumstances. If I can help, I'll let you know. If I can't, I'll point you in the right direction.

 I can’t wait to meet you!