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Can't Get into College

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I am a 17-year old female who is about to graduate from high school. But there is one problem. I have different careers I would love to choose from, but my high school grades are stopping me from pursuing my career choices. I have been denied acceptance to every college I have applied to, and I am getting frustrated and I am losing hope. Any advice?

A: This is a very tough time for you. It's really difficult to deal with all those college rejections, especially when you see kids all around you jumping for joy after being accepted. I wonder if you received the best of advice in terms of which colleges to apply to, given your grades and career interests. Applying to colleges should be done with a lot of thought and research involved. If it turns out that you are not accepted to any college for the fall semester, this is not the end of your educational opportunities or career hopes. In fact, even though it does not feel like this situation could be a blessing in disguise, you can use this momentary setback as a means to regroup and pursue your goals with even more focus.

First, you need to get good guidance on how to pursue career training and/or academic courses that will place you on track with your interests. If college is a definite part of your career plans, I would also ask to speak to college admissions counselors in person or at least on the phone. Ask them what it would take to gain acceptance to their schools -- certain grades, courses, experiences, recommendations, and so on. Once you know what it takes, you can begin your "comeback," knowing that all your efforts will be in line with getting what you want.

I would also suggest not only seeing your high school guidance counselor but also a private, well-respected college/career advisor who specializes in giving advice to kids in your situation. You will need to prioritize some of your "numerous amounts of different careers" so you can be more focused in your pursuit. Just working with a professional consultant on this one issue and maybe taking some occupational/career aptitude tests will help you in your school and career plans.

There are many kids who are going to college merely because that's what is expected of them. They have no real desire to learn more but don't know of anything else to do with their lives. You, on the other hand, are full of hopes and aspirations and a desire to learn. Hold onto the hopes that you have. With the right professional help and guidance, you will get your chance. I know that you are ready to work hard to reach your goals. Keep me posted on your progress.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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