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[Book Excerpt] How to Be Your Child’s Best College Coach

~ A word from our founder, The HomeScholar Emeritus, Lee Binz ~

This is a chapter from my book, How to Be Your Child's Best College Coach: Strategies for Success Using Teens You'll Find Lying Around the House. You can purchase a copy in print or Kindle version on Amazon.

Chapter 1

What is a College Coach?

Before we dive in, I'd like to define terms I will use throughout this book. A college coach is a paid professional consultant that can help your teen find colleges, apply, get accepted and earn scholarships. College coaches are different from a term you may be more familiar with – guidance counselor.

A guidance counselor is typically a public or private high school employee who is available to guide teens toward a career choice and, as somewhat of an aside, help them with the college admission process. In terms of focus, think of a guidance counselor as a country doctor and a college coach as a heart surgeon. A college coach is typically hired by a teen's parents and usually supports the teen for up to two years, usually junior and senior year of high school. They are highly qualified professionals who also happen to be extremely expensive.

While not typically associated with homeschooling, I believe these two roles are critically important for all families of college bound teens. There are a few issues (cost, knowledge, time) which make filling these roles extremely challenging for most families. I will go into great depth about these roles and show how you – the loving parent – are uniquely qualified to fill these roles for your student.

College coaches are a relatively new phenomenon that has gained in popularity as the selectiveness of colleges and competition for big merit scholarships has skyrocketed.

In a nutshell, a college coach is someone who will trade their expertise in earning college admission and marketing your student for cash. And they are not cheap. The average college coach in the United States charges between $4000 and $6000 to work with your child for a set time between junior and senior year. Some cost much more. I'm not saying they aren't worth the money. They are after all, knowledgeable about hundreds of universities and familiar with many types of college admission requirements across the country. In addition, the better ones have proven themselves able to work with a variety of college applicants and help market them successfully to any college they want to attend.

I would never criticize anyone who trades expertise for cash. It's the same business model for every consultant or coach in the country, including me! What I am painfully aware of, however, is that when we decided to take the homeschooling path, we gave up being a dual income family. When I was homeschooling, we couldn't even begin to think about paying for a year of college, let alone paying an additional $6000 for a college coach! That expense is well out of reach for most families even if both partners are working.

It got me thinking, though . . . the reasons you are the best possible guidance counselor are the same reasons you are your child's best possible college coach.

Think about it for a minute. Everyone understands why a professional coach is necessary to prepare someone to compete in the Olympics. I don't ice skate and I wouldn't understand the difference between figure skating and ice dancing. I am not qualified to coach my child if they aspired for Olympic skating glory.

But getting into college isn't like that! Last time I checked, admission requirements weren't written in Egyptian hieroglyphics and essays weren't required in Latin. Everything college coaches do is in plain old English.
College admission requirements are even written so the average high school student can read and understand them. Sure, fulfilling admission requirements takes work. But it is a reasonable amount of work, not an impossible amount of work.

Getting back to college coaches . . . you don't need to be knowledgeable about hundreds of universities, do you? And certainly not thousands. When you are coaching your child, you might need some cursory information on perhaps 20 colleges and you probably only need to deeply understand 4 to 12 colleges.

You don't need to understand all the admission requirements in the country, but you might need to be familiar with your state colleges and a few private colleges. And you don't need to be able to work with hundreds of different kids you've never met from all socio-economic and capability levels. At most, you need to work with one or two children at a time and you already know them well.

You do know your teen, right? They are more than a number to you.

This is the key. You should never feel obligated to pay for expertise you don't need. Most homeschoolers I know get a sense of satisfaction from educating their kids and helping them succeed. That's why most of us homeschool, right? Becoming your child's best possible college coach means learning a few proven strategies and understanding some new terms. It also means working ahead of a well-defined schedule.

You already know and love your kids and have proven up to the task of educating them and preparing them to face adult responsibilities. Why would you think that you can't succeed at launching your kids into college and life?

How to Be Your Child's Best College Coach is one of my Coffee Break Books. What are Coffee Break Books? These are books designed for YOU - a busy homeschool parent feeling frustrated by something, and needing information NOW - all put together in an easy-to-read, short, simple format. Coffee Break Books are perfect for overwhelmed, sleep-deprived moms with a baby on their hip. Simple, large font makes them easy to read even when distracted or pulled in a million directions. They are designed to help parents tackle just ONE issue of homeschooling during just ONE coffee break! Each book combines a practical and friendly approach with detailed, easy-to-digest information. Never overwhelming, always accessible and manageable, each book in the series will give you the tools you need to tackle the tasks of homeschooling high school, one warm sip at a time.

Learn more about How to Be Your Child's Best College Coach in my review below!

This is a chapter from my book, How to Be Your Child's Best College Coach: Strategies for Success Using Teens You'll Find Lying Around the House. You can purchase a copy in print or Kindle version on Amazon.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2024

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