There are many paths for your child to take after graduating from high school. If the choice is to attend college, it really doesn’t have to be the soul-crushing, high-stress ordeal that so many families report experiencing Just keep these three things in mind: 1) there are close to 3,000 4-year degree granting institutions out there; 2) when it comes to your child’s long-term success, his or her college’s fit is far more important than its ranking or selectivity; and 3) just breathe…it’s going to be ok.

Families Connected Resources

Our Kids and college stress

In this SBFC video, we asked teens from two of our Families Connected Partner Schools to share what stresses them out. The college admissions process was the most common theme we heard.

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Photo credit: Parent Tool Kit

Photo credit: Parent Tool Kit

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If you are a parent who is listening to the voice of self-doubt because your friends are telling you that your son or daughter won’t succeed if he or she is not juggling three AP classes, there are plenty of experts who would recommend that you relax and let your kid enjoy high school. Please check out the following recommended reading selections:

Frank Bruni’s book, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll be.” Bruni gives us a new perspective on the awful competition and a way out of the anxiety that it creates for all of us. Too busy to read the book? Read Bruni's great New York Times op ed piece summarizing what he thinks.

We also recommend How To Raise and Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims, and Overloaded and Underprepared by Denise Pope, Please click on the link below to visit our recommended reading list at Independent bookstore, Pages, to find these books and others.

The importance of fit over ranking

Challenge Success provides schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids We highly recommend taking a few minutes to view their video below, visiting their website to access helpful resources, and reading A “Fit” Over Rankings,

Helping Youth Find the Right Fit

We highly recommending sharing the College Board’s Big Future webpage with your student. I’t an outstanding way for your child to explore career options that align with their purpose/interests, to explore majors, and more. There’s also a great section on finding colleges that match up with your child’s interests and needs.

Many of our Families Connected Partner Schools have outstanding college counseling departments that provide Naviance, a comprehensive K-12 college and career readiness platform that enables self-discovery, career exploration, academic planning, and college preparation for millions of students across all ages and around the globe. Your student will need an i.d. to use the website, but

Instead of spending time on the U.S. World and News Report College Rankings site, check out Colleges That Change Lives. This an outstanding resource that basis its list on real measures that matter. (click on the CTCL image to access site)

Value Colleges offers a well-curated resource page, information on subjects and degrees, and numerical rankings of institutions and degree programs to help college-bound readers choose financially responsible paths. Rankings include online programs and community colleges, and best value by different degrees.


Stressed About Test Scores? Maybe You Don’t Have to Be

Click on the logo to hear NPR report that a growing number of selective institutions are saying test scores are simply not that important.

Fair Test provides a complete list of more than 1,000 colleges that support test-free admissions.


No Reason to Rush to a Four-Year College

There are numerous reasons why your student could benefit from a gap-year or a junior college. Here are some:


When College Is Not the Right Fit — There Are Many Other Paths to Success

Not choosing college? You’re not alone. There are so many reasons to select a different path, including pausing to consider the true value of a four-year-degree. Check out the articles below:

The United States Department of Labor provides an online Occupational Handbook where you can search a wide range of occupational groups, from architecture to transportation services, and learn the average pay, the necessary education level, number of new jobs, etc. It also provides an excellent resource guide to help with job readiness. A great tool for youth to explore their areas of interest, and to learn that many jobs do not require a college degree.

Value Colleges has an outstanding search tool for trade and vocational degrees. Trade and vocational training can make the difference between a lucrative career and struggling to make ends meet, since most high-paying trades require licensure and extensive training.

College readiness

Did you know that 30% of college freshman will not return for their sophomore year? We don’t talk about it much, but many teenagers go away to college only to recognize — either because of their grades, their habits, their mental health or all of the above — that they’re not ready for college life. Click on the link below for the full article:

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