My 1/2-Day Class Changed This Kid’s Life (2-Minute Read)

It was 8:35 am on a Saturday, and I was standing at a whiteboard in a large classroom—drawing diagrams I’d need for the class I was about to teach. From behind me I heard a young male voice.

“Hi, I’m early. I wanted to say hi to you.”

I turned to see a high school boy who looked vaguely familiar.

“I came early because I wanted to tell you—” he said, looking over at my whiteboard, “I took this class from you before. When I was 12. My mom made me do it.”

We both laughed. But then he grew serious.

“I took this Strategic College Student class when I was 12, and then three years later I was in a bad car accident. I mean—it was bad. I hit my head on pavement.

I wasn’t the same after that. I couldn’t think the same. And I used what you taught me in this Strategic College Student class to get myself back.

Now I’m the captain of the debate team at a large high school, and I’m headed to Yale.

I just wanted you to know.

I came back to take this class again because you said that a lot of kids take this class when they’re 12, and it plants some seeds inside of them. Then they take this class again when they’re 15 or 18—and it really bears fruit. I’m here for the fruit. Can I give you a hug?”

He hugged me. And I swallowed a lump and felt hot tears in my eyes.

I knew that my Strategic College Student class had a reputation for being transformative for students—but I’d never heard this before.

Don’t miss your opportunity to plant seeds—don’t miss your opportunity to harvest fruit.

My 1/2 day Strategic College Student class is now available online for students nationwide. Access it now using the details you’ll find here.

Ideal age to attend this class? Ages 12–26 (and their parents).

Yep—all those people, all in the same room, all at the same time.

What are students saying about this class?

See more student and parent reviews of this class at JeannieBurlowski.com/SPEAKING.

Parents are encouraged, but not required, to attend with their students. Parents, in just 1/2 a day you’ll see your kids’ anxiety levels drop, and you’ll watch their sense of personal power and academic confidence steadily increase.

And you’ll have all the info if your kids ever need a gentle nudge back onto the right track later.

Your child doesn’t want to attend this class? Quick—read my article Should You Pay Your Teen to do Things?

If you’re wondering whether your kid is too young for a class like this, don’t miss my article 7 Reasons Your Middle Schooler Needs A College Study Skills Class.

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How to Use the Full Focus Planner

How can college students keep themselves focused and organized, so they’re in the best position to get the highest grades possible—preferably while studying less than most other people? My recommendation to students is, use the Full Focus Planner.

full focus planner

The Full Focus Planner is a paper planner.

“Paper?” you’re thinking. “Come on, that is so low tech! What next—are you gonna tell us to chisel our appointments and task lists into stone tablets?”

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Don’t laugh at paper planners!

Top productivity gurus like Michael Hyatt are telling us—paper planners are the best. Especially the ones with lots of room to write.

Paper planners are quiet—without beeping distractions and pop-up notifications.

And, because all your notes and thoughts are right there in front of you—in your own handwriting—you don’t have the “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” problems that plague people who try to do their daily planning on electronic calendars.

You can see a short helpful video about the Full Focus Planner here.

Yes, I know Michael Hyatt has gray hair—but don’t let that throw you!

I’ve followed Michael Hyatt for years. He really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to high achievement and cut-to-the-chase, lean productivity.

(You can see me thanking Michael personally in the acknowledgements section on the very last page of my book.)

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Is “Advanced Placement” the Best Way to Earn College Credit In High School?

Every year, millions of high school students are fed this line: “Hey, you should take Advanced Placement (AP) classes! They’re way harder, but if you do well on the test at the end, you’ll get free college credit!”

It sounds like a great deal. But is it actually true?

Advanced Placement

Actually, Advanced Placement (AP) classes are the least dependable way for students to earn college credit in high school.

Shockingly, fewer than half the students who take AP classes actually end up getting the low-cost college credit they were promised.

This Atlantic article goes so far as to tell parents bluntly, “AP classes are a scam” and “AP students are being suckered.”

The well-respected Atlantic said that? Wow.

To learn which early college option tends to be far better than APread on.

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Kids Ages 12–26 Need a COLLEGE STUDY SKILLS CLASS. Here’s Why

The college study skills class I teach is called THE STRATEGIC COLLEGE STUDENT. For more info on this class, scroll to the bold red writing below.

LIve class coming August 27th!

You already understand why college students and grad students need a high quality college study skills class. You can even see why it makes sense for high school students to take one. (Especially if they’ll be taking dual enrollment college classes in 11th and 12th grades.)

But why would I recommend that middle schoolers also take a college study skills class?

Something magical happens when a middle schooler takes a college study skills class. I’ve seen it a thousand times.

Here, 7 reasons why middle school (or as soon as possible after that) is a great time for your kid to take a college study skills class:

1. A class like this shapes the way the student sees herself and her future.

Middle schoolers tend to feel immensely flattered that someone—a parent, a teacher, or a middle school youth pastor—sees them as so intellectually capable that the topic of college is coming up already.

Oh, every student will initially object when an adult brings up the idea of a class like this—but once the student knows that attending is not negotiable, even a “low-to-average” achieving middle school student will secretly start to feel an internal glow of pride about it.

When middle school students attend a college study skills class, they begin to feel a subtle but distinct shift in how they view themselves and their future life. They start to see this line item being written into the overarching plan for their lives: “I’m going to college!”

2. Younger students eagerly devour this material.

After just about five minutes in my college study skills class, students are sitting straight up on the edges of their chairs, ears and eyes wide open.

The minute I finish explaining the importance of taking notes with pen and paper and not with computers, these students are taking page after page of detailed notes.

At the end of class—when I ask to see the notes they’ve taken and I marvel and exclaim over them, these students swell up with pride.

When I explain exactly how to review the notes later to lock in concepts in as little time as possible, they write down every word I say.

One 8th grade girl walked out of my college study skills class and told her mom: “Sorry, Mom—I can’t go get ice cream with you now. I’m doing a a systematic review method and I have to review these notes I just took.” And I wasn’t even giving her a grade for learning this material.

I find that middle school students are especially eager to listen, eager to take notes, eager to review, and eager to implement college study skills strategies after they’ve learned them. This presents an opportunity that is just too valuable for us to overlook.

Parents, if your kids balk at coming to this class when you first bring it up, pay them to attend if that’s what it takes. You’ll recoup the investment 100 times over later.

3. Every student loves it when I say these words:

“Some of you here today have never, ever worked up to your ability level in school. Some of you are the last people your teachers would ever think would go to college. Well, let me tell you something. Some of you sitting here today are going to surprise everyone. You know why? Because it’s not brains or genetic ability that make you good at college. It’s strategy and organization. Pure and simple. And anyone can learn that.”

4. Brain development research tells us that middle school is an ideal time for us to be talking about these things.

Middle schoolers’ brains are growing at an explosive rate—faster than at any time since infancy. Neural pathways are being pruned and strengthened, and so any experience they have during these years is likely to stick with them—in technicolor—for years and years afterward. Often for a lifetime. 

I want it to be during these years that they are first reached with the message of what it takes to succeed in college. 

If we are able to do this, the college success strategies we give them will be locked in in ways they will not be if we wait until just before or during college.

5. Students who learn college study skills early on do better in high school.

They get better grades in high school, they take and pass more CLEP tests, they succeed at higher levels in dual enrollment courses in 11th and 12th grades, and they tend to apply for and win more college scholarships between the ages of 13 and 26.

And after college is over? They’re the students who end up most likely to get their grad school paid for.

6. Students who take this path will walk onto their college campus with a 6-year track record of organizing their academics in ways that actually work.

When these students hear college friends talking about ridiculously ineffective college strategies like keeping track of due dates in their heads, or waiting until the last minute and cramming for exams, they’ll look at those friends like they’re completely out of their minds.

7. Students who learn high-level college study skills early on tend to feel greatly relieved of fear and pressure.

One bright, capable 8th grade boy recently wrote on my course evaluation for the college study skills class I teach: “This class has helped take away a lot of my fears about college.”

How much is that worth to a parent?

Whether your child is in middle school, high school, college, or grad school right now, don’t delay.

Sign up for my free weekly email newsletter now, and you’ll know the next time I’m teaching my 1/2 day  STRATEGIC COLLEGE STUDENT class either live or online.

Want a discount on this class?

My TRIBE Members get this class for free. Learn more about my TRIBE Membership and join the waiting list here.

Learn more about my 1/2 day STRATEGIC COLLEGE STUDENT class here.

You can see students ages 12–26 raving about this class here.

Get a quick preview of one of my most popular college study strategies here.

Your young adult child is finished with college, not ever attending college, and not headed to grad school?

Your young adult child will not need this class!

Instead, have him or her read this book: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Meg Jay. It’s a life-changer!

Help us spread the word on this!

Copy this entire article and paste it right into your school, business, or nonprofit newsletter. Put a link to it in your Facebook group! Just include the words “By Jeannie Burlowski.”

And if you’ve found valuable info in this article, please help by tweeting it out to the people who follow you.

Imagine your kids not just performing well academically—but also getting through college debt-free.

There’s clear, step-by-step help on how to do this in my book:

You can get 10-minute, fast-paced video instruction on how to use this book most efficiently at bit.ly/easylaunchinstructions.

You can see more than 100 reviews of it on Amazon at:

bit.ly/burlowski

(Tell your friends.)

You can see why financial advising professionals love LAUNCHhere.

You can see the top 9 questions parents are asking me about LAUNCHhere.

Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.

And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.

What about you?

How old were you when you took your first college study skills class? Do you think you could have benefitted from taking it sooner? How so? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.

Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26 and their parents and grandparents. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, Parents Magazine, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.

Jeannie also helps students apply to law, medical, business, and grad school at her website GetIntoMedSchool.com. You can follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.

This article was originally posted on this blog on July 6th, 2017. It was updated on November 12th, 2020.

Could Your Kid’s College Texting Habit Cost You $28,000?

A Simple Way to Make Sure It Doesn't

texting

Quick. Picture your son sitting in a college class.

Got that picture in your mind?

Let me guess what you just imagined. You pictured him absorbed in his college lecture. You pictured him paying close attention to every word the professor is saying. You pictured him diligently filling page after page with carefully organized notes.

You may have just imagined wrong.

The typical college student squanders one-fifth of his class time doing this.

Texting. Emailing. Checking Facebook. Surfing the web. Playing games on a phone, tablet, or laptop.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln study of 675 college students across 26 states reveals that nine out of ten students report that texting is “their main diversion during class.”

About 75% of students polled admitted to emailing or checking the time on their phones. 70% reported scrolling through Facebook and other social media during the time they were supposed to be learning. Nearly half surfed the web during class, and one in 10 spent class time playing games.

What’s the cost to parents? Let’s do the math.

Let’s say your son attends a private university that charges $5,880 for a 3-credit course. If your son texts, emails, checks social media, surfs the web, or plays games during just one-fifth of his class time, which is a lowball estimate, that diversion will end up costing your family $1,176 for each class he takes. If your son takes 18 credits per term during every term other than his first one on campus—as I advise students to do in order to graduate faster—this seemingly innocuous habit will cost your family $7,056 per term. $28,000 or more over the course of an entire four-year college career.

Not to mention the cost to your son when that knowledge base isn’t available to him when he tries to enter the workforce later.

It’s no wonder today’s college students are having trouble getting real jobs after college.

I have a magical way to solve this problem.

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Hear Jeannie Burlowski Interviewed on the “Hey, Sister!” Podcast

I was recently interviewed by Krista Gilbert on her “Hey Sister!” podcast. It was a great conversation, almost an hour, full of practical tips for anyone who loves a kid age 12 – 22.

To listen to the podcast, click on Episode 19 here.

Some of the topics we covered include:

  • Strategies not just for getting your child into college, but for getting him or her through college debt-free.
  • Why your local state university is probably not your child’s bargain college option
  • Why the lowest college prices may be at private universities that look only at the FAFSA financial aid form
  • Why “dual enrollment” is better than AP when it comes to earning inexpensive college credit in high school
  • How to spread the scholarship application process over 8 years rather than trying to do it all during the senior year of high school
  • How moms and dads can navigate the emotional difficulty of “letting go” of college-bound children with grace and faith and hope.

podcast

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Want More Scholarships? GPA Matters Less Than You Think.

You’d love for your college-bound teen to get more scholarships, but you worry that his GPA just isn’t high enough. Am I right? Well, worry no more.

Good news. There are thousands of college scholarships available to students with GPAs as low as 2.50.

I’ll give you tips for finding more scholarships to apply for at the end of this post.

The question for today is: Besides high grades, what can your college-bound teen do to make himself or herself a powerful, attention-getting applicant who will get more scholarships than most other people?

The answer might surprise you.

scholarships

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YOU Can Raise Creative, Confident, Innovative Kids

 

creative

The last thing you want to do is raise a child who’s just a dull drone, pouring out memorized facts as though facts have the power to save the world. You want to raise a child who will be valued in a future workplace for being creative, confident, and innovative.

But how can you build creative, confident, innovative ability into your child (and yourself!) right now?

In this fascinating 8-minute video, former Yahoo! executive strategist and bestselling author Tim Sanders provides brilliant research-based insight into where creativity and innovation actually come from.  

Here’s how I believe you can make these principles of creativity and innovation come alive in your kids:

1. Let your kid know that genius isn’t necessary to accomplish great things.

Sanders says that it’s a myth that great innovations come from lone wolf inventors who have sudden “eureka moments” strike like lightening from the sky and change the world. “We want to be heroes,” Sanders says, “so that’s how we tell the story.” Actually, though, Sanders says, true genius creativity comes from another place altogether. It comes from collaboration.

2. Explain to your kid the tremendous value of collaboration.

It can be liberating to a 12–22 year old to realize: “Hey, I don’t have to have all the answers! It’s OK if I have one piece of the puzzle and someone else has another piece of the puzzle. It’s even OK if 20 other people are also contributing pieces of the puzzle. We can work together, and in doing so accomplish something bigger than I could ever do on my own.”

As Sanders says: “Little ideas combine with other little ideas, and these improve into game-changing ideas.”

This realization—that it’s OK to have only one piece of the puzzle—helps kids to relax. It relieves pressure and anxiety that can actually stand in the way of creativity and innovation.

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Top 5 Lies We Tell Kids About College

Read This When Your Kid's in Middle School.

This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.

college

1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”

This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t you know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?

2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”

The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.

The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family—that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”

(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)

3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”

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Top 10 Ways to Help Your Kid Get More College Scholarships (Starting in MIDDLE SCHOOL)

The dad waited in a long line to get to shake my hand. He was beaming.

scholarships

“We squeezed into a packed high school auditorium to hear you speak about scholarships last year,” he told me. “You inspired my son to go home and apply for 20 scholarships he thought he’d never get. He won eight of them, and now has over $20,000 extra to help pay his college bills. I just wanted to say thanks.”

I beamed back at him. Nothing excites and energizes me like seeing students achieve things they thought they never could. And when they rake in the scholarship money? That’s the best feeling ever.

Winning college scholarships is only one very small piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting kids through college debt free. In all honesty, other strategies that I provide to parents can net even greater return for families.

If you want to maximize scholarships, though — here are just a fraction of the scholarship strategies I recommend for students and parents.

1. Don’t assume your kid won’t qualify for scholarships because of grades or test scores. 

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