Today we are talking with Sally Kuzemchak registered dietitian and author of about tips for parents of college-bound students. Her son recently started college and she has some great tips for us parents on navigating this journey.

Healthy Family Project Podcast Episode 84

Today we have a great episode lined up! Sally is typically joining us on the show to talk about meal prep and planning and other topics around nutrition, but today, we are getting a different side of Sally. She recently sent her son off to college and of course, having a high schooler myself, I was interested in learning more about her experience. 

Tips For Parents of College-Bound Students Podcast

You know, the real stuff. Not what score you need to be accepted or tips on writing the essays (although, I would love to see an episode on that in the future.) The other things, like drawing lines, pressure, and the journey. 

You will love Sally’s candid advice on what she did well and what she thought she might do differently. 

Tips For Parents of College-Bound Students

Listen to Tips For Parents Of College-Bound Students

What We Cover:

Want to skip straight to a specific topic? See timestamps below. But of course, we recommend listening all the way through to get all the great advice and tips!

  • 2:25 An introduction to Sally Kuzemchak
  • 3:24 Advice for parents whose kids are gearing up for college
  • 5:27 Why it’s important to let the school guide your child as a student
  • 10:23 The pros and cons of submitting common applications
  • 14:26 The reality check Sally got from her son
  • 17:08 The right way and wrong way to do college tours
  • 20:45 How social media influences the college application process
  • 22:08 Signs it’s time for your kid to take a break from social media
  • 26:05 Why it’s crucial to let your kids carve their own path (even when it’s hard)
  • 29:34 Why some kids don’t get excited at the prospect of going to college
  • 30:48 What Sally wishes she did differently when her son was applying and why
  • 34:23 Special dates to be aware of when your child is in the application process
  • 35:02 Why parents need to give themselves some grace during this time
  • 35:37 Tips for supporting your kids emotionally during the application process

About Our Guest, Sally Kuzemchak

Sally is a registered dietitian, author, and mom of two boys. She blogs at, a “no-judgement zone” for feeding families. She is the author of two books, The 101 Healthiest Foods For Kids, a guidebook to the best whole foods for kids, and Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families.

An award-winning reporter and writer, Sally serves as a Contributing Editor for Parents magazine and a blogger for WebMD. Her writing has been published in magazines including Prevention, Health, Family Circle, Eating Well, Fitness, and Shape. 

Sally received her master’s degree in dietetics from Ohio State University and resides in Columbus, OH with her family.

You can listen to Sally’s previous episodes! Episode 72 How to Create A No Stress Dinner Plan, Episode 54 Nutrition Label 101, Episode 37 Balancing the Holiday Sugar Rush, Episode 34 Lunchbox Packing Mistakes To Avoid

Other Podcast Episodes to Check Out:

Healthy Family Project Facebook Group

Don’t forget to join our Healthy Family Project Facebook group if you haven’t already to be part of the conversation around our episodes. Bookmark the website ASAP because we have added several great recipes in addition to our already more than 600 registered dietitian, family-tested meal ideas. 

Listener Survey!

Thank you so much for supporting the Healthy Family Project Podcast! We’d love it if you could take 5 minutes to let us know how we can bring you the best possible content for future episodes. Take the survey here.

Healthy Family Project Podcast

Conversations covering hot topics in the world of health, food and family with a dose of fun. Helping families ease their way into a new fresh and healthy world.

Be on the lookout for new bi-weekly episodes and don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting site. If you like an episode, make sure to leave a rating and comment.

If you are interested in being a guest on the Healthy Family Project podcast, contact with your topic idea for consideration.

Transcript for Episode 84

This transcript was produced by Otter.Ai. Please forgive any misspellings and grammatical errors.

Episode 84: Tips For Parents Of College-Bound Students


00:00:00,000 –> 00:00:09,120

Welcome back to the show, Sally. I know we haven’t had a chance to chat in a while on


00:00:09,120 –> 00:00:14,720

the podcast. So for those first time listeners, can you tell everyone a little bit about you?


00:00:14,720 –> 00:00:21,080

Sure. So I’m a registered dietician. I’m a mom of two. I have a ninth grader and a college


00:00:21,080 –> 00:00:26,560

freshman and I blog at Real Mom Nutrition, which is a no judgment zone about feeding


00:00:26,560 –> 00:00:32,600

a family. Wonderful. Well, I’m excited to have you back and I’m especially excited to


00:00:32,600 –> 00:00:38,880

talk to you about this topic today, getting our kids ready for college or I guess like


00:00:38,880 –> 00:00:43,920

the preparation steps. I know you just went through this process. So while it was fresh


00:00:43,920 –> 00:00:49,440

on your mind, I felt like I wanted to have you on. I am kind of in the middle of things


00:00:49,440 –> 00:00:54,920

myself, I guess with a junior starting to really think about what our next steps are


00:00:54,920 –> 00:01:00,520

and am I behind all those good things. So, you know, for parents just starting this process


00:01:00,520 –> 00:01:06,840

with their kids, what advice do you have? So my advice is to not panic and to not assume


00:01:06,840 –> 00:01:12,400

that you are behind, especially if you have a junior or earlier. I do feel like the chatter


00:01:12,400 –> 00:01:18,600

about college starts really early. Yes, very early. A lot earlier than I think it needs


00:01:18,600 –> 00:01:25,520

to be in terms of the stress level for students and their families. So no, if you have a junior,


00:01:25,520 –> 00:01:29,920

you’re totally not behind. I remember thinking the same thing and we were going through it


00:01:29,920 –> 00:01:34,320

sort of in the midst of COVID and a lot of the schools were closed. They weren’t giving


00:01:34,320 –> 00:01:39,640

tours. I was freaking out. My son was trying to take the ACT and it kept getting canceled


00:01:39,640 –> 00:01:44,880

because of COVID and I remember being in tears and thinking this isn’t going to get done.


00:01:44,880 –> 00:01:49,920

He’s not going to go to college. And everything worked out and I know it will work out for


00:01:49,920 –> 00:01:55,600

you too. So absolutely, there’s tons of time left. Don’t worry. Okay, well that makes me


00:01:55,600 –> 00:02:01,320

feel a lot better. I mean, I will say that the chatter does start very early. I don’t


00:02:01,320 –> 00:02:09,680

remember when I was in that age that we started. I mean, my sixth grader came home and said,


00:02:09,680 –> 00:02:20,040

so and so is going to Harvard. And I said, no, they’re not. No one is going right now.


00:02:20,040 –> 00:02:24,240

I’d say when my younger son was in middle school, he would come home and tell me those


00:02:24,240 –> 00:02:31,680

things too. And I think sometimes schools are trying to encourage students for whom


00:02:31,680 –> 00:02:35,840

college may not be on their radar. They may be trying to encourage kids to think about


00:02:35,840 –> 00:02:40,600

college as an option. But for some students, that just creates like a lot of stress and


00:02:40,600 –> 00:02:45,400

anxiety like, gosh, I’m in sixth grade. Should I know what I want to major in already? Like


00:02:45,400 –> 00:02:46,400

it’s ridiculous.


00:02:46,400 –> 00:02:53,920

Yes. It’s hard enough to know what you would like to do with the rest of your life at 18


00:02:53,920 –> 00:02:59,520

to have to think about that, let alone be at that age. So as a parent, how do you strike


00:02:59,520 –> 00:03:06,320

a balance between being helpful in this process and not overbearing or naggy?


00:03:06,320 –> 00:03:13,680

I found it really helpful to let the school guide my student as much as possible because


00:03:13,680 –> 00:03:21,160

your child’s school has resources and people there to help. So between the counselors and


00:03:21,160 –> 00:03:24,840

their humanities teachers, their English teachers, whatever it’s called at your school, they


00:03:24,840 –> 00:03:29,600

can help them with their essays. There are lots of resources at the school as they may


00:03:29,600 –> 00:03:36,480

have a dedicated college type counselor. There are so many things that the school has and


00:03:36,480 –> 00:03:40,520

information and they’ve done this a million times. They know exactly what your student


00:03:40,520 –> 00:03:48,280

needs to do. So I really encouraged my student to, my son to take advantage of those opportunities.


00:03:48,280 –> 00:03:54,360

So for instance, he didn’t necessarily want me reading his essay as much as I really wanted


00:03:54,360 –> 00:04:02,320

to like, so hard. But he loved his English teacher. So I was like, show her your essay.


00:04:02,320 –> 00:04:07,720

She gave him great feedback. Right around the time that those early applications were


00:04:07,720 –> 00:04:11,600

due, the counselors held these sessions in the library, for instance, at lunchtime and


00:04:11,600 –> 00:04:16,920

you could pop in and ask questions. So I encouraged him to go during lunch, which he did. And


00:04:16,920 –> 00:04:20,960

so take advantage of those and don’t feel like as a parent, you’ve got to run this whole


00:04:20,960 –> 00:04:26,320

operation and know everything because there’s so much to know and the people at your child’s


00:04:26,320 –> 00:04:33,760

school are the experts and they will know how to guide your student. And so I think


00:04:33,760 –> 00:04:39,280

really as parents, we’re sort of there for support. Like if the school offers a meeting


00:04:39,280 –> 00:04:45,360

that parents can go to about college, attend that. I did attend like a little seminar on


00:04:45,360 –> 00:04:49,840

a weekend once to kind of learn about the college process. It was helpful, but I don’t


00:04:49,840 –> 00:04:56,160

think it was absolutely necessary. I mean, I think parents can spend a lot of money on


00:04:56,160 –> 00:05:04,120

this process and hiring consultants and whatever and essay tutors. We didn’t do any of that,


00:05:04,120 –> 00:05:09,800

but I did do this little relatively inexpensive seminar. Again, it was helpful, but I probably


00:05:09,800 –> 00:05:17,400

didn’t need to do that. But really, I think that you’re there for support. I think that


00:05:17,400 –> 00:05:24,280

it’s a really complicated process. It is not, depending on what age your listeners are,


00:05:24,280 –> 00:05:29,640

it’s not the same process it was. Definitely when I went to college, it’s online. There


00:05:29,640 –> 00:05:35,360

are multiple platforms that need to be connected and sometimes those platforms change. And


00:05:35,360 –> 00:05:42,560

so I think letting the school help as much as possible and then just being there, especially


00:05:42,560 –> 00:05:48,040

when you’re going to need a lot of emotional support for your student, because it’s a really


00:05:48,040 –> 00:05:57,240

stressful process. Yeah. So I will say like ninth and 10th grade, the past two years with


00:05:57,240 –> 00:06:06,280

my daughter, especially being in like pretty crazy COVID times, I would bring up, oh, do


00:06:06,280 –> 00:06:09,960

you think about this? Do you think about taking this class? This will be good for college.


00:06:09,960 –> 00:06:16,440

And she was very much in the zone of like, don’t talk to me about this right now. I’m


00:06:16,440 –> 00:06:22,120

just, I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m like, okay. I’m not going to bring it


00:06:22,120 –> 00:06:28,520

up. And I would casually slide it in there. But then I just came to the realization that,


00:06:28,520 –> 00:06:34,000

you know what, when she’s ready, and obviously it’s not decision making time, ninth and 10th


00:06:34,000 –> 00:06:40,840

grade anyway, she’ll be ready when she’s ready. And me, you know, like kind of preemptively


00:06:40,840 –> 00:06:46,320

sticking those things in there was probably not doing the best for her, but she is now,


00:06:46,320 –> 00:06:51,200

you know, she’s looking at things. And like you said, the school with resources. And if


00:06:51,200 –> 00:06:56,680

you don’t, you know, I would say just ask your counselors or ask the school because


00:06:56,680 –> 00:07:04,920

they are there. My daughter just sent me today on lunch, a list of colleges that will be


00:07:04,920 –> 00:07:13,120

visiting their school or will be hosting virtual meetings. And so she, it said, you know, she


00:07:13,120 –> 00:07:17,280

sent me a screenshot. It said like click to set up your appointment. So she sent that


00:07:17,280 –> 00:07:22,920

to me, which I thought was really cool because I don’t know. Well, I didn’t have the internet


00:07:22,920 –> 00:07:31,200

in high school. So I definitely didn’t have that. But I thought that was super cool because


00:07:31,200 –> 00:07:36,080

she said, I want to like, go to these websites and then figure out who I want to, you know,


00:07:36,080 –> 00:07:39,320

set up the time to meet with. So I thought, well, that would have been really awesome


00:07:39,320 –> 00:07:45,360

to have that opportunity. I mean, I guess a blessing and a curse, right? Because like


00:07:45,360 –> 00:07:52,640

you said, there’s so many platforms that interconnect and Khan Academy connects to college board


00:07:52,640 –> 00:07:58,880

and it’s like, you know, all this stuff. And then for us was just like, here’s your pencil


00:07:58,880 –> 00:08:05,160

and paper application. Yeah, right. Exactly. I remember handwriting my little essay, you


00:08:05,160 –> 00:08:10,560

know, I know, you know, in some ways it’s easier because with the common application,


00:08:10,560 –> 00:08:16,440

you can submit, you can apply to a lot of schools with kind of a click of a button,


00:08:16,440 –> 00:08:21,000

but it also makes it, I think a little bit overwhelming to, to narrow down. You know,


00:08:21,000 –> 00:08:26,160

you think, wow, well, should I apply to 25 different schools then? You know, it, it does


00:08:26,160 –> 00:08:32,800

add the sort of element of anything as possible. Right. You know what? Someone just told me


00:08:32,800 –> 00:08:41,600

another mom, another dietitian actually, that I was talking to last week and she said she,


00:08:41,600 –> 00:08:47,640

her son had an essay coach, I guess that’s what maybe what they’re called for, for writing


00:08:47,640 –> 00:08:56,680

the essays for college entrance. And the advice they gave him was to, when you have something


00:08:56,680 –> 00:09:03,040

like memorable or something that really like, you know, I don’t know, an activity or an


00:09:03,040 –> 00:09:08,840

event or a sporting event or something that you really had some emotion around or something


00:09:08,840 –> 00:09:14,120

like jot it down or like put it in the notes section of your phone, like, oh, essay idea


00:09:14,120 –> 00:09:20,040

and like jot that down. So I don’t know if that falls in that overbearing suggestion


00:09:20,040 –> 00:09:21,040



00:09:21,040 –> 00:09:24,760

Well, it’s interesting when you were talking about bringing things up with your daughter


00:09:24,760 –> 00:09:28,640

and being like, you know, this would be good for college or whatever. And I absolutely


00:09:28,640 –> 00:09:32,480

did that. You know, like, I really think you should join honor society. You know, that


00:09:32,480 –> 00:09:38,760

if you get a B in that class. And I really regret that because it definitely came back


00:09:38,760 –> 00:09:45,440

to me from as feedback from my son that he felt very pressured by that. And to me, I


00:09:45,440 –> 00:09:50,600

felt like, gosh, well, I’m not a tiger mom. I’m not at least I’m not like this. But he


00:09:50,600 –> 00:09:55,280

read all of that, especially in these like COVID and post COVID time. I guess it’s not


00:09:55,280 –> 00:10:00,400

post COVID. We’re still in COVID. But sort of the, you know, we’re sort of past sort


00:10:00,400 –> 00:10:06,600

of lockdown, right? A remote school part of it, at least for us. I think it was just too


00:10:06,600 –> 00:10:14,160

much and they are trying to navigate high school and their classes now with this sort


00:10:14,160 –> 00:10:19,720

of like imaginary future that they don’t know what it’s going to look like or feel like.


00:10:19,720 –> 00:10:24,600

It’s really hard for them. It’s so abstract, this concept of like being in school. So that’s


00:10:24,600 –> 00:10:30,160

one of the things that I, one piece of advice is like, don’t worry if your kid just doesn’t


00:10:30,160 –> 00:10:37,080

seem interested or excited about it. Because to me, I felt like my kid was so focused on


00:10:37,080 –> 00:10:40,880

what he was doing, which was senior year was trying to enjoy senior year trying to, you


00:10:40,880 –> 00:10:45,200

know, get through these hard classes, that he just couldn’t even picture it. And so how


00:10:45,200 –> 00:10:48,960

could he be excited about this thing that he didn’t even know what it was going to be


00:10:48,960 –> 00:10:55,600

like, the excitement for him came later, when he had his admitted student tours. So once


00:10:55,600 –> 00:11:00,960

he applied and got admitted, we went back to these schools for what’s called an admitted


00:11:00,960 –> 00:11:05,640

student tour. And that’s kind of a deep dive into, okay, here’s what a class would be like,


00:11:05,640 –> 00:11:09,800

here’s where your dining hall would be, you know, and that’s when he started to get excited.


00:11:09,800 –> 00:11:15,600

But until then, he was just like, look, like, I’m just trying to like, go to school and


00:11:15,600 –> 00:11:21,800

like play my sport, right? And you’re trying to, you know, talk to me about this thing


00:11:21,800 –> 00:11:24,960

that I don’t even, I don’t even know where I’m going to be. I don’t know what it’s going


00:11:24,960 –> 00:11:33,440

to look like. So, you know, I think, in hindsight, of course, he wasn’t excited about college


00:11:33,440 –> 00:11:37,760

and like writing this essay or, you know, filling out these forms or whatever, because


00:11:37,760 –> 00:11:43,920

he’s just a regular kid having a senior year. Yeah, we got to keep that in mind. You know,


00:11:43,920 –> 00:11:48,640

I think that these COVID years have probably changed our perspective on a lot of things


00:11:48,640 –> 00:11:53,520

and not knowing really day to day, you know, how fast things can change and how fast our


00:11:53,520 –> 00:11:59,880

world can change. So yeah, keeping all that in mind. So what was the hardest part of the


00:11:59,880 –> 00:12:05,080

college process as a parent? And then you have to tell us the best part too.


00:12:05,080 –> 00:12:09,960

I think the hardest part is just not knowing what’s going to happen, not knowing where


00:12:09,960 –> 00:12:16,680

he was going to be thinking, what’s going to be best for him, you know, and really,


00:12:16,680 –> 00:12:20,840

my son gave me a reality check when he was like, you know, we were going to all of these


00:12:20,840 –> 00:12:24,680

different schools and, you know, you picture your kid at all these different places. And


00:12:24,680 –> 00:12:30,480

my son was like, you know, I think I’m going to be fine at any of these places. Like it’s,


00:12:30,480 –> 00:12:34,000

you know, it’s kind of what I make it and I think I’ll be fine. And I was like, oh my


00:12:34,000 –> 00:12:40,720

gosh, like, just like gave me a reality check. Yeah, like, and I do believe like there’s


00:12:40,720 –> 00:12:46,600

not one perfect school. And so much of the hype and the pressure you feel is like, oh,


00:12:46,600 –> 00:12:53,840

you got to find that perfect match for your kid. And, you know, when, as he said very


00:12:53,840 –> 00:12:58,880

wisely, he’ll be fine at a lot of different places and college is, as you know, what you


00:12:58,880 –> 00:13:02,720

make of it. And you can be happy in a lot of places. And I think there are some really


00:13:02,720 –> 00:13:10,040

good books written about this topic too, that like Julie Lisgott-Hames, like how to raise


00:13:10,040 –> 00:13:15,120

an adult. She’s written a lot about college and I love her message of like, look, you


00:13:15,120 –> 00:13:20,360

know, these elite schools get a lot of attention and buzz and hype, but there are tons and


00:13:20,360 –> 00:13:25,280

tons of other schools that are much easier to get into. And they would absolutely love


00:13:25,280 –> 00:13:30,400

to have your kid there and that they would thrive at. So I think the hardest part is


00:13:30,400 –> 00:13:37,820

like tuning out the noise and just focusing on the reality of the situation and knowing


00:13:37,820 –> 00:13:44,400

your kid is going to do well at multiple places, doesn’t need to get into one of these 25 schools


00:13:44,400 –> 00:13:49,240

to be happy and to do well. So yeah, I think that’s the hardest thing.


00:13:49,240 –> 00:13:56,720

Yeah. Well, and also for listeners out there, you referenced how to raise an adult. Julie


00:13:56,720 –> 00:14:02,120

was actually on the podcast and I wish I knew what episode number it was right now, but


00:14:02,120 –> 00:14:09,080

I don’t, but I will definitely link up to it in the show notes. But she was on the podcast


00:14:09,080 –> 00:14:16,880

not this past summer, the summer previous, and she’s amazing. She really is. I mean,


00:14:16,880 –> 00:14:23,760

her book is great, but then even, you know, to have her on the podcast is just, she just


00:14:23,760 –> 00:14:31,240

like, blew it out of the water. You just are like, okay. Yeah. Makes you feel a lot better.


00:14:31,240 –> 00:14:37,720

And also allows you to maybe just let some stress like weight on your shoulders, just


00:14:37,720 –> 00:14:41,080

kind of push it off a bit. So, okay. Best part.


00:14:41,080 –> 00:14:44,000

Best part of the college process.


00:14:44,000 –> 00:14:46,600

Yes, I need to hear it.


00:14:46,600 –> 00:14:51,680

I mean, I personally found it fun to go on the campus tours. I really did because it


00:14:51,680 –> 00:14:53,280

like made me want to go back to college.


00:14:53,280 –> 00:14:57,720

I was going to, that’s what I’m so excited. We have one scheduled for November and I’m


00:14:57,720 –> 00:15:01,200

like, oh, okay, where are we going to go before? And what are we going to do? And what are we


00:15:01,200 –> 00:15:02,200

going to wear?


00:15:02,200 –> 00:15:08,720

I know it’s just like, I know. Yeah. I know you will feel super embarrassing and awkward


00:15:08,720 –> 00:15:12,520

like in front of your kid at these tours. Cause I’m like always in the front of the


00:15:12,520 –> 00:15:18,220

pack with my hand raised, like with a million questions. My kid is like, oh. So I did enjoy


00:15:18,220 –> 00:15:23,880

the tours and picturing, you know, my kid at these different schools. But I will say


00:15:23,880 –> 00:15:29,200

that I think you can go to too many tours. And what happened with my son is that we went


00:15:29,200 –> 00:15:35,640

on so many tours and really we only met on maybe five or six. That by the last one, like


00:15:35,640 –> 00:15:40,000

he basically wrote off the last school because he was tired of tours.


00:15:40,000 –> 00:15:41,000



00:15:41,000 –> 00:15:44,600

That could have been a school that he would have enjoyed and done really well at. But


00:15:44,600 –> 00:15:48,560

by the time we got to that last one and a lot of them, they start feeling the same.


00:15:48,560 –> 00:15:51,800

They usher you into a room and they tell you how great the school is. And then they show


00:15:51,800 –> 00:15:56,800

you the library and the cafeteria and whatever. So by your fifth or sixth one, it’s feeling


00:15:56,800 –> 00:16:04,160

like, okay, I’m kind of done with this. So I got a piece of advice from a friend who


00:16:04,160 –> 00:16:09,560

said instead of like going all over the country and doing all of these tours or all over your


00:16:09,560 –> 00:16:18,460

state or wherever, she said she would recommend, you know, if you can wait until your child,


00:16:18,460 –> 00:16:22,240

you know, gets into some of these schools and then go on the admitted student tour instead


00:16:22,240 –> 00:16:27,200

of running all over the place doing sort of a basic tour, which I thought, you know, I


00:16:27,200 –> 00:16:32,240

think that that’s a pretty neat idea, especially if you don’t have the time or resources or


00:16:32,240 –> 00:16:37,840

whatever to go to all of the different schools your child’s interested in is to wait and


00:16:37,840 –> 00:16:42,040

do those admitted tours, which are a little more meaningful because you’re like, okay,


00:16:42,040 –> 00:16:46,240

I’m in this, I’m accepted to this school. I could go here if I wanted to. What would


00:16:46,240 –> 00:16:50,960

life really be like? And they do, as I said, they do take a little bit deeper of a dive.


00:16:50,960 –> 00:16:55,120

You know, you can attend a class and different things like that. And that really makes it


00:16:55,120 –> 00:17:01,520

feel real. So yeah, so college tours, super fun, but you can’t overdo them, I think.


00:17:01,520 –> 00:17:06,360

Okay, that’s really good advice. Yeah, we have, I figured, you know, our schedule is


00:17:06,360 –> 00:17:14,240

always so hectic with sports and dance and my work travel or whatever we might travel


00:17:14,240 –> 00:17:20,040

or whatever we might be doing. So I felt like if I could spread these out and like maybe


00:17:20,040 –> 00:17:27,520

do this year, just do like one a quarter. And really just things I’m going to focus


00:17:27,520 –> 00:17:34,800

in probably, Florida has a great program called bright futures for, you know, if you go to


00:17:34,800 –> 00:17:39,440

school in the state and then they also, you know, we also have like a prepaid program,


00:17:39,440 –> 00:17:45,040

which is really great for going to school in the state of Florida. So I think we’re


00:17:45,040 –> 00:17:52,000

going to first kind of go and take a look through some of those schools that are at


00:17:52,000 –> 00:17:59,880

the top of the list. And my daughter, fortunately for her seems pretty set on what she would


00:17:59,880 –> 00:18:07,520

like to focus on in college. So that’s helpful, because that really narrows things down for


00:18:07,520 –> 00:18:13,960

us. Yeah, a lot. So it’s really dependent on those, the program, you know, and so for


00:18:13,960 –> 00:18:19,080

her, she’s kind of already and I will say, I know you and I both we go back and forth


00:18:19,080 –> 00:18:27,480

about social media, and it’s pros and cons. And I will say she was showing me two nights


00:18:27,480 –> 00:18:35,840

ago, a girl on different people on tik tok, who were like, I wanted like, I’m a marine


00:18:35,840 –> 00:18:41,280

scientist and like, and I’m at, I don’t even know Hawaii Pacific University. And here’s


00:18:41,280 –> 00:18:46,180

what my day looks like. And like, Hi, I’m at blah, blah, blah, University. And like,


00:18:46,180 –> 00:18:50,560

I’m in the marine science program here. And here’s my internships that are available.


00:18:50,560 –> 00:18:54,360

And it’s like, here’s some that are paid, here’s some that aren’t. And I was like, Oh,


00:18:54,360 –> 00:18:59,840

my word, there’s so much information here. I guess I think like, tik tok is like, you


00:18:59,840 –> 00:19:08,840

know, food trends and dancing. And then she has this whole stream of, you know, people,


00:19:08,840 –> 00:19:13,800

you know, giving her information, which I just thought, well, there, I’ve improved wrong.


00:19:13,800 –> 00:19:19,680

I guess social media isn’t just food trends and dancing. Yeah, I think my son did the


00:19:19,680 –> 00:19:24,040

same thing. And he would follow, he’d follow the schools he was interested in to follow


00:19:24,040 –> 00:19:28,200

their accounts. Right. And they would show like, oh, here we’re having, you know, club


00:19:28,200 –> 00:19:34,240

day or whatever, and you kind of get a little peek. And then he followed some like professors


00:19:34,240 –> 00:19:38,680

for the topic that he was interested in at the different schools. And now that he’s a


00:19:38,680 –> 00:19:42,240

freshman, he follows different accounts of like, okay, here’s how to survive the dining


00:19:42,240 –> 00:19:47,600

hall or here. It’s pretty cool. But I will say, you know, the one piece of advice I’d


00:19:47,600 –> 00:19:52,680

have if you’re if your kid is feeling a lot of pressure and stuff is to make sure they


00:19:52,680 –> 00:19:58,040

do take a break from social media if they’re getting a lot of, you know, posts about people,


00:19:58,040 –> 00:20:02,600

you know, revealing which colleges they went to or posting all the colleges. Yes, I think


00:20:02,600 –> 00:20:06,840

that there can be a lot of pressure that comes from social media in that way. And you don’t


00:20:06,840 –> 00:20:12,280

if you’ve seen those videos of like, kids will film themselves like opening up the email


00:20:12,280 –> 00:20:19,900

the CFA got. I can’t stand those. I just think like, especially for the kids who didn’t get


00:20:19,900 –> 00:20:24,960

into a certain school that yeah, quote unquote, dream school and to see everybody else screaming


00:20:24,960 –> 00:20:30,680

of excitement because they got in I just feel like that can that can do no good. Right.


00:20:30,680 –> 00:20:34,120

You know, maybe taking a break from social media if they’re feeling overwhelmed or feeling


00:20:34,120 –> 00:20:37,960

like everyone has their stuff together. Everybody’s applying to all these schools and visiting


00:20:37,960 –> 00:20:43,640

all these schools and I don’t know what I’m going to do. And so well, I would advise that


00:20:43,640 –> 00:20:52,400

as a parent as well, because I can tell you, you know, it’s just hard social media you


00:20:52,400 –> 00:20:56,800

like are scrolling through and like we talked about when we first started this conversation


00:20:56,800 –> 00:21:02,780

of feeling behind. And that’s when I feel behind. Yeah, I just like being very raw and


00:21:02,780 –> 00:21:08,320

honest here. Like that is when I feel behind is when I log on to Facebook or whatever it


00:21:08,320 –> 00:21:13,560

might be and you scroll and it’s like, Oh, so and so it’s been dual enrolled for since


00:21:13,560 –> 00:21:19,360

like preschool and you’re like, Oh, well,


00:21:19,360 –> 00:21:25,320

I saw someone post there on their child was getting ready to apply. And she showed her


00:21:25,320 –> 00:21:30,520

SAT scores and her grade point average and how proud she was of her student and I thought,


00:21:30,520 –> 00:21:35,240

Oh, my gosh, these, you know, parents out there who are concerned about their child’s


00:21:35,240 –> 00:21:40,080

grade or concerned about the scores are just concerned about just the whole process like


00:21:40,080 –> 00:21:45,120

just how awful that would be to see that and to feel and to compare yourself to compare


00:21:45,120 –> 00:21:50,320

your student and it’s so unfair, you know, it’s so unfair to your child to compare them.


00:21:50,320 –> 00:21:57,320

It really is and I watch out I read not to get too far off track, but I read a post on


00:21:57,320 –> 00:22:06,640

Facebook recently, a parent talking about her son having ADHD and the struggles they


00:22:06,640 –> 00:22:18,320

had faced and how detrimental it social media was to her and not these, you know, whoever


00:22:18,320 –> 00:22:24,360

was posting had no ill intent of posting like, as proud parents, like, here’s my kid, you


00:22:24,360 –> 00:22:28,720

know, with National Honor Society, here’s my child succeeding at this and here’s my


00:22:28,720 –> 00:22:36,080

child succeeding at that success success success success. And so, you know, she was like, well,


00:22:36,080 –> 00:22:42,720

success for us looks so different. Yes. And it really created, you know, a mental health


00:22:42,720 –> 00:22:53,720

issue for her and the, you know, just trying to manage your the special needs of your child


00:22:53,720 –> 00:22:59,440

in that space. So it’s just really hard. So comparing on all fronts for the kids and for


00:22:59,440 –> 00:23:05,080

parents, I would say just take a step away because, like I just said, success looks different


00:23:05,080 –> 00:23:11,640

for everybody. And, you know, especially coming out of what we just came out of these past


00:23:11,640 –> 00:23:17,320

couple years, these kids, like you said, it’s, there was a point where we’re all like, what


00:23:17,320 –> 00:23:22,760

does tomorrow look like? What does next year look like? Will we ever, you know, see each


00:23:22,760 –> 00:23:27,920

other in person again? That’s like, it’s all these things that we face. So we have to give


00:23:27,920 –> 00:23:33,160

each other some grace and definitely take a step away from the social media. If you feel


00:23:33,160 –> 00:23:39,920

like it’s, you know, you feel yourself starting to kind of slip into that, that, you know,


00:23:39,920 –> 00:23:45,120

pattern of comparison and just feeling bad and behind and everything could be bad. And


00:23:45,120 –> 00:23:51,640

I think as parents, we have, or at least I had this vision of what I thought my kid’s


00:23:51,640 –> 00:23:57,200

college experience was going to look like. And our kids are not us, you know, they’re


00:23:57,200 –> 00:23:58,200

their own people.


00:23:58,200 –> 00:23:59,200

Oh yeah, I know.


00:23:59,200 –> 00:24:03,760

Yeah. And so I think that’s really important. Like we were talking before we started recording


00:24:03,760 –> 00:24:08,960

about like, college isn’t for every kid. You know, there are amazing trade programs and


00:24:08,960 –> 00:24:13,960

some kids want to take a gap year. Some kids want to enter the workforce or join the military.


00:24:13,960 –> 00:24:18,960

My son has multiple friends from his graduating class who are at the local community college


00:24:18,960 –> 00:24:23,240

doing really well and, you know, saving a lot of money and then they’re going to have


00:24:23,240 –> 00:24:29,920

to transfer to a, you know, a four year university. And so, and so that is probably different


00:24:29,920 –> 00:24:34,000

than the traditional college experience as well, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a great


00:24:34,000 –> 00:24:38,760

choice for your kids. So I think just, it’s so, it’s so hard and everything that our kids


00:24:38,760 –> 00:24:43,120

do, it’s so hard to be like, okay, they are their own person. They are not a little mean.


00:24:43,120 –> 00:24:49,640

I know. And I, I, it’s so funny. You’re like, I just had the conversation about this as


00:24:49,640 –> 00:24:55,600

well, where I have had to tell myself it’s not your journey. It’s, it’s her journey.


00:24:55,600 –> 00:25:02,880

You know, you’re there to support her journey, but she’s, she’s who she is and you are who


00:25:02,880 –> 00:25:10,800

you are as individuals. And so what’s good for you or what you think you want, you know,


00:25:10,800 –> 00:25:16,920

what she should want is not what she wants. Yeah. Why is that such, it was so hard to


00:25:16,920 –> 00:25:24,800

like digest, but you know, it is for me too. Yeah. Make no mistake. I don’t have this figured


00:25:24,800 –> 00:25:29,800

out either. Yeah. So yeah, we’ll get there. So I think we talked about this a little bit.


00:25:29,800 –> 00:25:34,040

Is it normal for your kid to just not seem very excited about college in general, which


00:25:34,040 –> 00:25:40,240

I, you know, like I said, I was in a little bit of a panic, like what’s happening? Why


00:25:40,240 –> 00:25:45,840

do you not care? This is like what you should want. This is how you should feel. Well, and


00:25:45,840 –> 00:25:49,800

we also have, you have to remember like we know what college for, if you went to college,


00:25:49,800 –> 00:25:54,640

you know what college was like. And I kept saying to my son, like you’re, you know, colleges


00:25:54,640 –> 00:25:58,860

is, it can be a great time. It’s, you know, you, I think you’re going to really like it.


00:25:58,860 –> 00:26:01,840

You get to choose your classes and you get to have a little more free time during the


00:26:01,840 –> 00:26:06,620

day. Yes. They don’t know those things. And so like I said before, it’s hard for them


00:26:06,620 –> 00:26:12,200

to get excited about something that they don’t know about yet. So yeah, I do think it’s very


00:26:12,200 –> 00:26:16,800

normal. And of course you need to figure out if maybe your kid doesn’t want to go to college,


00:26:16,800 –> 00:26:22,560

you know, that is a possibility too, if they’re just not excited about college. So yeah, I


00:26:22,560 –> 00:26:29,720

do think it’s totally normal. Yeah. Well good. I was, I was, you know, in that zone for a


00:26:29,720 –> 00:26:33,840

little while, but I think we’re back on track, but also my daughter, like you had mentioned


00:26:33,840 –> 00:26:38,760

military has talked to, you know, several recruiters that have come by the school and


00:26:38,760 –> 00:26:44,400

you know, there’s some great opportunities there. There’s other programs out there, you


00:26:44,400 –> 00:26:50,360

know, like AmeriCorps and just different ways that you can just take some time to, you know,


00:26:50,360 –> 00:26:54,120

I know everyone’s always, I remember, you know, the panic of parents saying like, well,


00:26:54,120 –> 00:26:59,400

if you take a year, you’re not going to go. Like so worried about that. But I think that


00:26:59,400 –> 00:27:05,040

that journey, you know, you’d rather than be ready for it and then to push them into


00:27:05,040 –> 00:27:10,640

something and then not be ready for it, especially with, you know, what a huge investment it


00:27:10,640 –> 00:27:17,680

is to attend college. So yeah. And I think too, you know, that, that lack of excitement,


00:27:17,680 –> 00:27:23,800

it may be stress and worry too. I mean, I think for my son, there was this element of


00:27:23,800 –> 00:27:28,600

I’m a little bit worried about leaving home and I’m not sure if I’m ready to leave home,


00:27:28,600 –> 00:27:35,280

especially after the lockdown and all of that. I think this idea of like, well, maybe, you


00:27:35,280 –> 00:27:39,440

know, applying to these colleges that might be states away and thinking, do I really want


00:27:39,440 –> 00:27:44,360

to move 300 miles away? What is that going to be like? I think that’s stressful too.


00:27:44,360 –> 00:27:49,760

So it may be, it may seem like your child’s not excited, but it’s just that they’re nervous,


00:27:49,760 –> 00:27:55,640

which I think is totally normal. Yeah. So this question, I think we talked, we kind


00:27:55,640 –> 00:27:59,840

of talked a little bit about this too, but as a parent, how much should you lead the


00:27:59,840 –> 00:28:07,000

process process versus stepping back and letting your child handle things? So I have some sort


00:28:07,000 –> 00:28:12,480

of strong feelings about this one because, you know, as we talked about that book, how


00:28:12,480 –> 00:28:18,300

to raise an adult, you know, and she is a big proponent of, you know, not being a helicopter


00:28:18,300 –> 00:28:24,320

parent and letting, letting your child live their life without, you know, just getting


00:28:24,320 –> 00:28:28,880

in there or micromanaging everything. And so I went into this process like, okay, I


00:28:28,880 –> 00:28:34,760

want, I want my student to sort of, my son to sort of lead this process and be in charge.


00:28:34,760 –> 00:28:41,320

The reality is that it is so complicated and that there are so many different deadlines.


00:28:41,320 –> 00:28:45,640

And as I mentioned before, of course, they are balancing all of this with keeping up


00:28:45,640 –> 00:28:51,240

with their schoolwork and sports and extracurriculars and all that. So I actually wish I had done


00:28:51,240 –> 00:28:56,160

things a little bit differently and been a tad more involved. I wish we had had sort


00:28:56,160 –> 00:29:02,760

of maybe like a calendar posted in the kitchen or in his room with the deadlines. If we had


00:29:02,760 –> 00:29:07,840

been a little bit more collaborative on, okay, what is due this day, what is due that day,


00:29:07,840 –> 00:29:14,160

because it is complicated. And, you know, to just hand this all over to a 16 or 17 year


00:29:14,160 –> 00:29:19,360

old and expect them to manage it when there are, like I said, these multiple platforms,


00:29:19,360 –> 00:29:24,320

different due dates, different deadlines, different forms. And, you know, like the financial


00:29:24,320 –> 00:29:28,720

aid form, that is absolutely going to impact you as the parent. So you need to make sure


00:29:28,720 –> 00:29:34,680

that certain things are in on time. You know, if you are funding some or all of the, all


00:29:34,680 –> 00:29:41,400

of the expense of college. So I think that there’s a way to be involved and be aware


00:29:41,400 –> 00:29:48,200

of the deadlines. My son ended up missing a really important deadline because I wasn’t


00:29:48,200 –> 00:29:56,480

quite as involved as I wished I had been. And so, you know, I think there is a balance


00:29:56,480 –> 00:30:02,240

that you can, you know, achieve without like nagging them about everything, but also being


00:30:02,240 –> 00:30:06,480

aware of what the dates are. You know, like I said, having maybe a calendar or something


00:30:06,480 –> 00:30:11,200

and just, just where you can both see it and know like, okay, in a week, this form is due


00:30:11,200 –> 00:30:16,880

so that it doesn’t, you know, you don’t have like an 11 p.m. the night before a freak out,


00:30:16,880 –> 00:30:21,880

which we had of like, okay, this essay is due that you have to write really quick, right?


00:30:21,880 –> 00:30:27,800

Where the deadline and it’s stressful. And, you know, like when you go to submit it, the


00:30:27,800 –> 00:30:32,960

site might crash because so many, you know, people are on it trying to submit it. So I


00:30:32,960 –> 00:30:40,960

think, you know, I, I, my advice to people is to be, to be a little bit involved, not


00:30:40,960 –> 00:30:44,920

to take over the process. You know, I can be writing their essay for them or, you know,


00:30:44,920 –> 00:30:49,240

writing in all your forms, but just so you are aware of what needs to be done and the


00:30:49,240 –> 00:30:54,200

dates that things need to be in on. Because as we found out, like if you miss a deadline,


00:30:54,200 –> 00:31:00,560

a lot of these schools will be like, sorry. Right. We’ve got, you know, 20,000 other applicants


00:31:00,560 –> 00:31:06,280

and you know. Well, that’s really good advice because I think that I’ve really been trying


00:31:06,280 –> 00:31:13,600

to take a step back with the kids because, you know, as they get older, I definitely


00:31:13,600 –> 00:31:17,720

want them to be able to go out into the world. And when I’m not by their side and be able


00:31:17,720 –> 00:31:22,420

to function. So I’m glad you said that because I was hoping you weren’t going to say completely


00:31:22,420 –> 00:31:28,960

be hands off because that would be hard. Like you said, I think with, especially my oldest,


00:31:28,960 –> 00:31:33,320

you know, like keeping up with the deadlines and the calendars and she has a lot going


00:31:33,320 –> 00:31:39,960

on and you know, it’s, I could see us getting into a little bit of a jam. So I think the


00:31:39,960 –> 00:31:46,760

calendars are really good idea or even just when those key dates come out that, you know,


00:31:46,760 –> 00:31:53,320

plugging those in what and not to like go too far down the rabbit hole, but what are


00:31:53,320 –> 00:32:01,680

you mean like dates as far as like after admission or just dates to like, I guess to apply or


00:32:01,680 –> 00:32:06,840

what are like, there will be, you know, early admission dates for instance. Okay. You know,


00:32:06,840 –> 00:32:11,480

to have those on your calendar, you know, when the ACT is or when, when the, when the


00:32:11,480 –> 00:32:17,240

date is that you can sign up for the ACT because they’ll open up a date. Yes. You know, if


00:32:17,240 –> 00:32:22,100

you don’t sign up pretty quick, it may be full in, you know, you may end up having to


00:32:22,100 –> 00:32:29,400

drive an hour or so. Oh, gotcha. Yes. To a location. You know, just, you know, when essays


00:32:29,400 –> 00:32:34,640

for different scholarships are due, you know, if your child is, is going to apply for an


00:32:34,640 –> 00:32:38,680

honors program or something like that might be a different deadline for, you know, that


00:32:38,680 –> 00:32:44,240

application to be in. So many. So I guess I just feel like if you’re somebody who tries


00:32:44,240 –> 00:32:48,400

not to be a helicopter parent, give yourself some grace in this process. Yes. And recognize


00:32:48,400 –> 00:32:54,880

that it is, it is complex and that it may be too much for your kid, you know, to expect


00:32:54,880 –> 00:32:59,960

them to take on this entire thing by themselves while going to school and being a regular


00:32:59,960 –> 00:33:07,880

kid too. Right. That is really good advice. So it seems like the college process can become


00:33:07,880 –> 00:33:13,560

a little stressful and emotional. How can parents help support their kids emotionally


00:33:13,560 –> 00:33:21,560

during this process? I think, you know, just listening to them, asking how they’re doing,


00:33:21,560 –> 00:33:28,040

you know, trying not to make every conversation about it. Right. I know can be really hard.


00:33:28,040 –> 00:33:35,080

It is when you sit down, you know, to eat dinner, like it’s not going to be like 20


00:33:35,080 –> 00:33:37,800

questions about like, did you do this and what about the school and what do you think?


00:33:37,800 –> 00:33:41,560

Did you make that spreadsheet and blah, blah, blah? And that can be really hard to do, but


00:33:41,560 –> 00:33:48,160

to like, let them just be a 16 or 17 year old as well. And to make sure they feel like


00:33:48,160 –> 00:33:54,640

they can come to you with stresses and worries. And, and like I was talking about to make


00:33:54,640 –> 00:33:59,160

sure that you’re not pressuring them too much and making everything be about college. Like


00:33:59,160 –> 00:34:03,040

shouldn’t you join this club because it would look good on college? Well, right. Enjoy that


00:34:03,040 –> 00:34:08,480

club. Right. Are you trying to get them to pad their resume? That’s a really good point


00:34:08,480 –> 00:34:14,320

that, yeah. And I say this as someone who absolutely did that was like, I know I was


00:34:14,320 –> 00:34:23,040

just going to say I may or may not have just been in a club. I did the same thing. I did


00:34:23,040 –> 00:34:29,100

the same thing. But yeah. And, you know, just, just obviously like, like in Julie’s books,


00:34:29,100 –> 00:34:34,480

like remembering there are lots of schools where you don’t have to have a perfect SAT


00:34:34,480 –> 00:34:40,080

score and be, you know, president of every club at your school to be valued and welcomed


00:34:40,080 –> 00:34:47,120

and succeed there. That’s awesome. Well, I think this is all so great. I know, like I


00:34:47,120 –> 00:34:53,880

said myself, just starting to, you know, dabble into this a little bit into this world. And


00:34:53,880 –> 00:35:00,400

I feel like I jumped in and we’re moving pretty quickly now. So it’s great to hear you having


00:35:00,400 –> 00:35:06,600

gone through it and out on the other side with some of this like real life advice. Because


00:35:06,600 –> 00:35:12,360

I think we get kind of caught up in the, I don’t want to say technical side of it all,


00:35:12,360 –> 00:35:19,760

but we forget about the actual just like process and the emotions and the, you know, just dealing


00:35:19,760 –> 00:35:27,120

day to day. Yeah. Yep. It’s a lot. I mean, it’s, it’s kind of an emotional time and a


00:35:27,120 –> 00:35:31,440

little bit of a stressful time. But I know that you’ll feel the same way I feel when


00:35:31,440 –> 00:35:36,720

you’re on the other end of it too. And you’ll probably have some more advice of just like,


00:35:36,720 –> 00:35:42,320

it’s going to be okay. And so at that time, what that would be two years from now, how


00:35:42,320 –> 00:35:46,800

to do a follow up podcast, like it will be like, I survived and like, yeah, I can give


00:35:46,800 –> 00:35:53,040

everyone the update. That’s all I want to know ever, especially with having teenagers.


00:35:53,040 –> 00:36:02,200

I’m like, so you survived this. Right. Exactly. I might too. Well, thank you so much for joining


00:36:02,200 –> 00:36:06,840

us today and sharing all these great tips and ideas for families. So before we close


00:36:06,840 –> 00:36:11,840

out, if our listeners want to connect with you, where can they find you to connect? My


00:36:11,840 –> 00:36:17,920

site is real mom and you can find me on social media at real mom nutrition.


00:36:17,920 –> 00:36:44,800

Awesome. Thanks so much, Sally. Thanks for having me.