Don’t colleges handle school and career guidance?

Colleges offer certain resources such as resume building programs and career fairs. They don’t, however, teach students how to discover their innate skills and how to apply those skills to a field of interest in a long-term, sustainable way. Colleges also don’t teach the persistence and character that is necessary to pursue the key players and gatekeepers of whatever field ultimately is selected.

Isn’t it best for students to figure out college on their own?

A strong element of learning independence and self-discovery comes with the college journey, and in itself is very beneficial. Unfortunately, a huge void exists between understanding yourself and figuring out how to apply that in a value-adding capacity within a field of interest. To make matters more complicated, the adult work environment is drastically different from that of college. Most students struggle to make the adjustment, even in the unlikely event that they have stumbled their way into a reasonably satisfying career.

I’ve done my job as a parent – so isn’t it time for me to step aside?

We are genetically hardwired to separate from our parents as we mature. In that sense, there is little utility in parents lecturing their college kids. Paradoxically, it is in these years that people tend to need guidance more than ever, as they are in the midst of attempting to make a huge transition from being a dependent to being depended on, with little or no formal preparation. It is essential for students to have mentors who they admire, who are not their parents, who support them and offer guidance and positive characteristics to emulate and embody.

Is it better for my son/daughter to wait, say, until junior or senior year to get a mentor?

Absolutely not. Parents may forget how long and difficult a journey it was for most of us to carve out a niche professionally, and that is for the few of us who actually have been so fortunate. Dissecting ourselves, discovering and building our core skill set is something that almost always takes years. Starting earlier creates exponential advantages.