6 Tips for Malia Before Going To College
Trill or Not Trill?


Back in 2004(showing my age a bit), I was able to attend a four year University as an immature 18 year old high school senior. My background included no one in my immediate family receiving a bachelor’s degree. Can you imagine the mistakes made during that time. Mi Madre and Mi Padre (I purchased Rosetta stone last week) told me to enroll in school and success shall follow. Therefore, my final high school year included taking 4 courses and leaving at 11:47am. I went to college unprepared leading to remedial courses and chasing girls in the café freshman year. Believe me I learned about life fast first semester. But, two degrees later and a successful career in higher education let me get to the true point of my post.

Can you believe it? Malia Obama is going to college! Yes, the little 10 year old at the 2008 inauguration is now old enough to attend college. Sheesh! Well, someone tell POTUS I am here to help. This list below is created to ease all tension:

1.What is your GPA?
In my travels (former Admissions Counselor) students seemed to struggle with sharing their GPA. Please know your GPA, rank and test scores before any visit to a college campus. Admissions counselors love a student with a great personality, active within the HS/Community and stellar grades. Trust me your name can fly during travel season with counselors from all over. Challenge yourself to a 3.5 or higher watch the free money roll in…

2. Just Apply
According to College Board, “College admission isn’t as competitive as you might think. Fewer than 100 colleges in the U.S. are highly selective, which means they accept less than 25 percent of applicants”. Always, always, always let the actual school make your application decision. Do not let guidance counselors, your teacher, parents or google stop you from applying to your dream school. Take a chance and try your hardest. If your folks went to college, look into your parents’ alumnus as well. You may not want to follow into their footsteps but many schools will take precedence in legacy kids. Occidental College or Columbia University would certainly open their doors to Malia. Her momma’s alma mater of Princeton is no slouch either and is an excellent option for the first daughter.

3. Challenge the biggest bully in HS: SATs
Back in 2004, I scored well below an 800 combined on my SATs, oof! Fast forward, I now own two degrees, dean’s list honors, completed internships, 17 plus scholarships and currently Assistant to the Dean for enrollment management at a state university. A few ways to defeat the bully of testing is preparation. Now, I’m sure the private Sidwell Friends School in DC that Malia goes to has prepped her well. In case your school doesn’t provide assistance, many local towns, libraries, non-profit organizations and colleges run free SAT workshops. If you can’t find any free tutoring services please look into the Huntington Learning Center or Khan Academy.

4. Money, Money, Money
Don’t let the fear of money stop your dreams. There are many ways to attend colleges from grants(free money), scholarships, federal loans and special programs such as EOF or Trio. Do your research within guidance and admissions at each school. Money is available!

A student may also take college courses for more than 70% while in HS. Many schools have articulation agreements. This means students are taking a college level course while in HS for a lower rate. These credits will come over to the university as long as the student receive a B or higher. Do it! You can also take AP courses and test to receive credits as well. This can save you thousands. Challenge yourself take advantage.

5.Pay Them A Visit
Malia has made headlines visiting universities such as her father’s alma mater Columbia, along with NYU Stanford, and UC Berkeley. Do yourself a favor and visit! I remember in 2004 visiting my dream school turned into a nightmare. It went from beautiful picture online to a bad scene from “The Wire”. A student whose voice resembled Omar yelled out the barbed wire windows, “Get out of here now!” Obviously, I decided to not attend but imagine if I never took a visit.

6. Safety School
Well Malia, your safety school is every Ivy League that exists.  But even the average citizen can have that advantage. A safety school is typically a school where the particular student is very likely to get accepted and serves as a safety valve should the student’s top choices not pan out. Make a list of safety schools. This can make life much easier when receiving a dreadful email from a “Dream School”.

To finish off, as a student going to college start with a list of 10 schools your freshman year. Start using this list and talk realistic money figures with parents. You will thank me later.

Lenny Williams is one of today’s most gifted leaders in inspiring youth and countless individuals to pursue their career and educational dreams. As an 
educator and speaker, his mission is to be a voice to reach generations and a reminder that greatness can be achieved against all odds.To get more 
information or personal coaching please contact Lenny A. Williams, MBA
(designbylaw@gmail.com) for more information.