What Parents and Students Must Know About Getting into College

karengracebakerGetting into college seems a lot tougher these days than it was for us baby boomers a few decades ago. To better understand what it takes to navigate the college admission process I recently interviewed Karen Grace Baker, educational strategist and President of Right College Choice.

Karen pointed out a number of reasons that getting into college has gotten more challenging.

1. 67% of high school graduates are headed to college, up from 50% in the past.
2. More international students, especially from India and China, are now actively seeking US educations.
3. Technology has made it possible for students to apply to many more colleges at one time than in the past.
4. The economic downturn as resulted in more adults returning to school to complete degrees or make career changes.

It was surprising to learn that the time to begin to prepare for college is middle school, a lot earlier than many parents realize. And the preparation should be taking the math classes early on that will prepare students for college across the board, rather than preparing for specific majors or careers.

Instead of seeking colleges based on prestige or popularity, Karen stressed the importance of choosing colleges that are the right fit based on the student’s personality, learning style, and activities.

While money is a big factor in attending college, it does not have to be a barrier for good students since there are many scholarships and special funding for needy students. Getting the help of an expert in the college admission process can help parents and students save money, time and stress.

Listen to the entire interview What Parents and Students Must Know About Getting into College–Karen Grace Baker and share it with others who can benefit.

Want to Be Happier? Take Action About Whatever You Care About

What do you do when something in your life, family, city or job displeases you?

Most of us grumble, complain, grouse. We do everything but take action to resolve the problem or make a positive change in the situation.

When Mrs. Harris fell on a misaligned sidewalk in Oswego, NY she was told by the city that they were not responsible unless they had received notice of the sidewalk problem in writing. So watch the video below to check out what Mrs. Harris did. Then think about something that is bugging you and go out and do something about it.

Practical Success Tips: Five Erroneous Beliefs That Are Blocking You From Achieving Your Goals

p_043A key part of achieving your goals is planning. Maybe your goal requires some extensive planning, but there is a point at which planning becomes procrastination. If you examine why you are procrastinating, you may discover that you are afraid of the unknown. We all are. So don’t let that stop you.

Or you may be procrastinating because you don’t really want this goal anymore. And that’s a good thing to discover.

Now you can set a new goal, but don’t spend time in the planning stage for too long. There are five erroneous beliefs that may be blocking you from achieving your goals.

1. You need lots more knowledge.

Having knowledge and skills before starting a project are admirable, but you cannot wait until you know all there is to know about the subject before you begin. Much that we need to know is gained along the way as we work toward a goal.

2. You need lots more money.

There are successful entrepreneurs who can attest to the fact that they began toward their goals with very little money. Some raised startup money by taking on extra jobs, saving, reducing spending and partnering with like-minded colleagues.

Start with whatever money you have to begin stepping toward your goal. As you enjoy small successes you will also increase your capital and know-how.

3. You must wait for just the right circumstances

There are no perfect circumstances.

4. The timing must be perfect.

There is no perfect timing.

5. You must wait until you feel completely confident.

Delaying to get started toward a goal actually erodes your confidence. It’s working toward and achieving your goal that builds confidence, not the other way around.

If deep in your gut you want this goal so badly that you can taste it, procrastinate no longer. Jump in. Success and achievement await you.

Celebrate Color Your Life Happy Day on August 9th

momMany of us begin the year making resolutions, but within a few weeks our promises to ourselves have been forgotten.

A Wall Street Journal article shared plans some people made to help them stick to their resolutions. Some kept their goals small and achievable. Others asked friends to help them stay on track by holding them accountable. Others found success when they changed their environment to support their new behavior.

Here we are at the start of the second half of the year. How did you do with your resolutions this year?

Regardless of how you fared in this annual practice, here’s an opportunity to start anew.

On August 9th join me in celebrating the first “Color Your Life Happy Day”, a day to participate in something you enjoy, some activity that will make you happy and others too. Then make a decision to make it a habit to continue finding joy, pleasure, a way to help others for the rest of the year.

Happiness is not a destination, but the things we do along the way as we live our lives. At the end of their lives, many wish they had slowed down, worked less and spent more time enjoying family, friends and fun activities. Don’t let this be you. Regrets are a waste. Do the things that bring you joy and happiness everyday.

This special celebration was inspired by the memory of my mother, Mildred S. Morris, who would have turned 100 years old on August 9, 2010 (she passed at age 92 in 2002.) She spent her life making people happy with her music. She played piano and organ from childhood through her mid 80’s for many churches, organizations and events. Everyone who ever heard her play was touched by her lively and fervent style.

I invite you to join me in celebrating Color Your Life Happy Day on August 9th. Then between August 10th-15th send me a photo or video of how you celebrated to my email at flora@florabrown.com

You may choose to enjoy a simple pleasure such as taking time off to read a neglected book. You may join the courageous who use this day to get control of the clutter that has been making them very unhappy.

I’m thinking of creating a new vegetable garden or maybe I’ll do some long-neglected scrapbooking.

So get busy thinking of how you will celebrate “Color Your Life Happy Day.” Then on August 9th take a picture showing how you celebrated. Email it to me at flora@florabrown.com with your name, activity, and city/state/country. I will post all entries on my blog and Facebook.

I’m looking forward to the wonderful array of celebrations.

Practical Success Tips: Hop, Skip, Jump

69 hopscotch 3

When you set a goal do you find yourself getting overwhelmed trying to figure out how you’ll reach your success?

You turn it over and over in your mind, anticipate all that can go wrong and decide it will be hard because it will take time.

If so, you are not alone.

It is a human tendency to try to rely on our left brain–intellect, reasoning, facts–to help us achieve our goals.

At first thought this may seem like a good idea. After all, there are certain steps and strategies we must follow to accomplish our dreams.

But trying to figure out every step, every turn toward your goal will only create that overwhelmed feeling and will not move you toward your goal any quicker.

As a matter of fact, the more overwhelmed you get, the more you  paralyze yourself into inaction.

When we depend on our intellect alone to navigate us to our goal we get overwhelmed because we are often required to do something we’ve never done before.

To get where you’ve never been, you’ve got to be willing to do something you’ve never done.

The left brain deals in what is visible, obvious and tested. But if you only did what you knew would work or what has been tested it would be like marching in place: a lot of movement, but no forward progress.

There is a reason we have a right brain–creative, intuitive, imaginative. It is the part of us that gives us the vision for our goal in the first place and that fires that passion that will ensure our success.

Having all the facts and reasoning, but not the passion and imagination may lead to a form of success, but not the joyful, wonderfully satisfying and fulfillling success we wanted.

Having passion and imagination, but no facts or reasoning will have us arrive somewhere, but perhaps not the success goal for which we were aiming.

Working your left and right brain to work together, here are three steps to reaching your goal successfully.

1. Hop to visualizing your goal.

Visualize what you want. Since this is happening in your mind you can be as elaborate and expansive as you wish. Daydream like you did as a kid and don’t stray into trying to figure out the details of how you will accomplish your goal.

Don’t let what you see in front of you be your guide, and by all means disregard sensible advice.

2. Skip over the fear thoughts.

As soon as you begin to imagine a dream that’s bigger than your current circumstance, your left brain will start throwing facts at you to scare you and making you afraid of the unknown.

Fear has been described as an acronym





Dr. Clint Pearman, author of The Gift: Twelve Ingredients to Improve Your Life,   gave an example from his personal experience when I interviewed him recently. He was driving in his car and heard a song that began with the screeching of tires.  He immediately began to feel the fear, tightening and impending doom in his gut and checked his rearview mirror searching for that out of control car.  When he realized that it was not real, but was the intro to a recorded song (one he had put on to play,) he was able to relax and diffuse the stress. ( Listen to Dr. Pearman’s inspring and motivating interview to hear four  steps to diffusing your stress.)

Some of us live in constant stress from many situations that are not real, but imagined, but have the power to stop us from moving toward our goals.

3. Jump into action.

Waiting for the perfect answer, the perfect mate, the right time will
paralyze us. Why, we could waste our entire lives just…waiting. Each
choice requires some element of risk. Only those willing to risk will enjoy
the rewards. Those who don’t want to take a risk are not spared, though.

Even inaction is a risk. Unfortunately, if you choose not to take a risk, the
results probably won’t be to your liking.

No matter how much we plan and study, there will always be some
uncertainty in life. Get comfortable with this truth. It will help strengthen
your confidence and belief in your ability to handle anything that comes
up. From Chapter 3 of Color Your Life Happy

Take action toward your goal, even a small one. Commit to your goal, be willing to do whatever it takes to get there and you will discover the energy and courage to move forward. Each successful step forward gives you more confidence to take the next one.

When you proceed toward your goals with the three steps you will be following the strategy that has worked for so many others.

What goal will you start toward today?