This week’s show focuses on the all important question of what college to attend and the factors that go into making that decision. We welcome Beth Probst, from At the Core, an organization that was founded to help serve students as they prepare to make important decisions that surround their transition from high school to the future.

Schools Have Changed

Acceptance rates and the modus operandi for universities and colleges are not the same as when parents or family member attended institutions years ago. Mom and Dad may have gone to State University and it was thought that their children would also attend the same school, but an honest look at the changed landscape of the school and the university system at large is an important. Finances especially are much different now, with school cost being in some schools up to 4x the cost of when Mom and Dad attended.


Testing in inevitable. Taking the ACT or SAT is a process. It can be beneficial for students to take these tests early. It’s not uncommon for students to take the ACT or SAT for practice in middle school. Scores are kept in a database that students have control over, where they pick the test date and score of that they want to be reported to the institution(s) they choose. Test optional is a database of 850+ schools that allow students apply to college without submitting ANY standardized test scores and to be judged purely on their merits beyond standardized tests.


Talking about finances is not necessarily a natural process, but making sure that families are on the same page financially about college is a crucial part of the process. At the Core has programs and tools to help families go through the process of deciding how they want to fund college opportunities and how much they plan to pay. Students with champagne wishes and caviar dreams, and parents with diner pancakes and bacon are not congruent. Having a conversation early and often to get both parties on the same page is important. When students are 14 or 15, they are fully able to understand the financial landscape and planning that goes into attending college.


One of the key things that college admissions look at are their GPA, their standardized test scores, and the student’s curriculum choices. They want to see students make choices that challenge them but also allow them to succeed and shine. They also want to see balance, in the classroom with course diversity as well as their activities outside of school. There are a lot of opportunities for college preparation both in and outside of the classroom.

Book Recommendation

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions by Mania­ Frank Bruni