11 Pieces of Advice For My College-Bound Student

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11 Pieces of Advice For My College-Bound Student

Published October 13, 2023

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Unique advice that a parent can share with their college-bound child can be both inspiring and practical. Here are some unique pieces of advice:

Embrace Failure

The way I see it, failure is a stepping stone to success. No one ever made it to the top of anything without a few setbacks. Failure is a valuable part of growth.  It’s perfectly OK to stumble on your path to success. What counts is how you pick yourself up, what you learn from it, and how it changes you for the better.

Take an Alternate Route Here and There

Explore subjects, hobbies, and experiences beyond your major or coursework. Sometimes, the most profound insights and innovations come from the intersections of seemingly unrelated fields, so give a class that sounds kind of funky a try, or sign up for an activity that pushes you out of your comfort zone. You never know who you may meet or where it can lead. Sometimes life surprises us when we step away from the norm.

Prioritize Your Mental and Emotional Well-Being

While academic success is essential, maintaining a healthy mind and heart is paramount because, without that, nothing else matters. 

Nurture Your Compassion and Empathy

You’ve done more than your share of volunteering throughout your life so far. Keep it going. This and other acts of kindness teach valuable life lessons and provide a deeper understanding of the world around us. Never lose that side of yourself.

Be Open to Meeting New People

You’re going to hear a lot about networking in college and beyond. It’s important not just for career advancement but also for building genuine relationships. You’re already so good at making friends. I encourage you to continue to cultivate this skill and expand your view of it. Meaningful connections can open doors to unexpected opportunities of all kinds, not just in your career but in other facets of your life, too. Maintain a curiosity for others, and always be willing to welcome new people and you will be handsomely rewarded.

Practice Self-Care

Whether you exercise, journal, make time for friends and hobbies, or do something else, I hope you’ll always look for ways to manage stress and maintain balance in your life. I believe that self-care is an essential skill for long-term well-being because life is full of ups and downs, and learning to navigate both without losing yourself will be essential as you work towards building a happy life. 

Keep a Bucket List

I’ve always loved that you’re a listmaker just like me! Keep a bucket list of experiences you want to have during your college years and beyond. I find this often motivates me to seize unique opportunities and make the most of my time, and I hope it does the same for you.

Balance Technology With Nature

I know, I know, you grew up with tech all around you, but I’d still like to encourage you to unplug occasionally and connect with nature. Go for walks, plan an outdoorsy vacation, or simply spend time outdoors when you can. I find that these experiences can provide clarity and inspiration.

Travel Far And Wide

Whenever possible, travel and explore different cultures. I’ve had such fun taking you places, and nothing makes me happier than seeing you wandering through cities from Boston to Barcelona soaking up the atmosphere, the wheels in your head turning with thoughts, opinions, and impressions. Travel broadens horizons, fosters independence, and helps you develop a global perspective. Do it as often as you can. 

Value Your Time

Time is a precious resource, but it is a finite one. Use it wisely, set goals, prioritize activities that matter most, and nurture relationships that bring joy and fulfillment. Everything else can wait.

Challenge The Status Quo

I was labeled a bit of a black sheep in my family because I tended to take the road less traveled a lot, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I hope you never shy away from doing the same. Go ahead and question conventions and think critically. It’s good for you and the world and it will help you proactively shape your future rather than simply follow a predetermined path.

Remember, you are your own person with your own journey to follow. Trust yourself and shape that path how you want to live it. You’ll never go wrong if you stay true to yourself — and I’ll always be here for you, no matter what.


Use College Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

Other Articles You Might Like:

How Students Should Spend the Summer Before Senior Year

Colleges That Change Lives: The List of 44, Comparisons, and How to Choose

How to Handle College Rejections: A Teacher Shares Advice




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