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Non-starter student help

Pzaz99Pzaz99 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hey all. We have taken guardianship of our niece. 17 year old. Currently good grades, 3.7 gpa.. Taking dual enrollment. She is a Junior.

Here is the problem. She lacks initiative, a non-starter. All school related stuff we have to push and nudge.
Smart kid but seemingly "lazy" with the road to college process.

Any tips to motivate her. At this point we are going to be hand holding the whole process and completion of high school and I suspect she may struggle finding her footing when she goes off to college.

She could be wracking up scholarships and other things to help her with College. She has not identified a future career. Has done college visits but she is unsure where she wants to go, she only knows she does not want to go to small town schools.

Because she is not fully applying herself she is also avoiding the more competitive schools.

Our own kids are toddlers so this whole process is new to us. The counselor at her school is overloaded. We can not hire a private person to help the process.

CAN ANYONE advice us how to navigate this so that she is successful?

We are thinking of enrolling her for summer programs but she probably needs some type of boot camp. We just want her to succeed. Help.
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Replies to: Non-starter student help

  • suzy100suzy100 Registered User Posts: 5,496 Senior Member
    @Pzaz99, there are lots of helpful folks on this site so if you have more questions as you figure out the college craziness, please post.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 1,787 Senior Member
    Can you start with checking local community college and state university applications? With unknown finances and scores, that is a good place to start
  • SJ2727SJ2727 Registered User Posts: 619 Member
    Agree with all the advice above but just wanted to add, I was worried my kid was also going to be needing to be pushed, nudged, hand-held all the way as other than deciding what colleges she wanted to go to, she seemed to be doing nothing throughout junior year. Then all of a sudden at the end of the summer before senior year she got off her butt and worked really hard on college applications. Some kids need to find their own pace, and some work best when they can see the deadline coming.

    There are obviously other issues as people here have noted. This is a great thing you guys are doing - wishing you the best outcome for everyone.
  • GloriaVaughnGloriaVaughn Registered User Posts: 474 Member
    I also agree with don't push. Consider a gap year in the working world. That will give her time to mature a little more. After that consider community college to start.
  • powercropperpowercropper Registered User Posts: 1,600 Senior Member
    Great Advice so far. For testing, you should help get some formal or informal test prep. Some people test better on one test or the other. So do some practice tests with her to see if her brain clicks better with SAT or ACT.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 3,174 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    I echo "don't push" -- and the other similar sentiments such as "this is not a race" and " the most important thing is for her to get her feet under her" and "you are her coaches" which is better for decision making in measured and more helpful ways than being parents. Coaches are one or two degrees removed emotionally and can sometimes see the world more clearly because of that. I also echo: no scholarships to be "racked up." Often competing for scholarships backfires because it can reduce your "need" upon which FA decisions are made. So you go and work hard for scholarships only to reduce the cost of the SCHOOL not your cost. YMMV on that, but tha's often the case.

    I also sincerely and enthusiastically echo the "gap" time approach.

    The most important factor for her success is that she feels grounded, safe and then she will begin to strive on her own. If you're still nudging, she's not ready. If you're impatient, that could stunt her growth. Think of a transplanted plant. The plant is in new soil. Roots are broken randomly. The plant sometimes sheds leaves and looks haggard for several weeks or even a year before it begins to take off. The growth is happening below the soil first, if and only if it's getting tender sunshine and water and good nutritious soil, and the occasional tender word. If you as the farmer keep pulling up the plant to see if the roots are growing, the plant will not thrive. And will take much longer to start to grow on its own.

    There is endless amount of gap time available and, as a parent with a child in gap limbo, I can only say that this has been the best decision we made as parents. We relaxed and focused 100% on the emotional restructuring and growth of the child. We are in Year 2.5 and this child is THRIVING now. I dare not breathe out too forcefully, the change is so amazing. The recipe was: Boatloads of patience, good physical exercise every day (we walk and/or run), a fairly steady schedule, a set of not-too-taxing chores in the house, only positive words (**only** positive words -- "catch them being good" to shape behavior, ignoring unwanted behavior; honing active listening skills), and the sort of guidance that a loving grandparent might give (""hm, how about working on your resume for 20 minutes? How does that feel? No? Okay, maybe tomorrow then" -- doing that sort of thing for 2.5 years and suddenly this child is thriving. We expect this child to begin to apply for college in one full year of steady positive growth, at age 21.5. So s/he will start college at about age 22. Far from being "behind" this child has acquired things that college students wish they had: 1) real job skills; 2) confidence on the job; 3) knowledge of what s/he likes and doesn't like for a profession; 4) a real savings account with an enviable amount of cash; 5) focus and clarity. Plus s/he has been through training in networking, public speaking, and other skills that colleges rarely spend time on -- or maybe offer but few students pursue. 6) reading and practicing his/her art because s/he has real time to think and follow his/her passion.

    To feel comfortable with gap time as a concept, it might help if you research schools that welcome "nontraditional" students. There are many excellent programs. Schools that do so include Yale, Brown, Columbia GS, Vassar, Hampshire, Bard, Sarah Lawrence, MIT, Reed, Tufts, your state unis have programs too, I'm sure and many many others.

    Each program has its own criteria for what it considers nontraditional. As a fast and dirty measure, Columbia GS (not great FA but some) states that it wants 1-2 years off from school but in practice it's taken students with as short as a 6 month break from school. Sarah Lawrence treats students with a few college credits as freshmen admits. In contrast, some schools want nontrads to be 24 or 26 years old. Each school is different but there are so many of them that you should have no problem finding something that works for you when the time comes.

    Women's colleges -- some of the top schools in the country -- have special programs for nontraditional students and solid financial aid is often part of the package. If the child is 1-2 years out of college, they may be able to apply as freshmen admits. Ask the colleges directly. If they are older, you may want to look at --

    - Smith's Ada Comstock program -- https://www.smith.edu/admission-aid/how-apply/ada-comstock-scholars
    - Mt. Holyoke's Francis Perkin program -- https://www.mtholyoke.edu/fp
    - Simmon's Dorothea Dix program -- http://www.simmons.edu/admission-and-financial-aid/undergraduate-admission/for-students-over-24
    - Bryn Mawr's McBride scholars -- https://www.brynmawr.edu/admissions/mcbride-scholars
    - Agnes Scott's program for nontrads -- https://www.agnesscott.edu/admission/transfer-nontraditional-students/index.html
    - Wellesley -- https://www.wellesley.edu/admission/esp/davis
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