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  • Susan Treadwell

Researching Colleges? Time To Explore Your WHY

Updated: May 4, 2022

Your WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you. Knowing your WHY gives you a filter to make choices -– at school, at work, at home – wherever you are in the world.

- Simon Sinek

Author and innovator Simon Sinek believes everyone needs to know their WHY. But teenagers are busy. Jam-packed spring semester schedules are the norm for high school juniors researching colleges while tending to their academic and extracurricular commitments. Who has time to think about their WHY when there are things to do, places to go and deadlines to meet?

The thing is, exploring who you are and how you plan to contribute to a college campus is empowering. Discovering your WHY leads to clarity – for college, career and life.

To be sure, there is not just one WHY or purpose hovering like a puffy cloud on a summer's day, waiting to inspire. There are many potential WHYs, and this is a great time to explore yours.

Why do you want to go to college?

Here's a simple exercise to get your thoughts flowing: Freewrite responses to this question, and see what pops up. Begin with general statements, then notice what happens when you dig a little deeper, and get more specific.

Use the following phrase as a guide for brainstorming why you want to go to college.

To _____________________ so that __________________________.


* To get a degree so that I can pursue a profession.

* To explore subjects that interest me so that I can choose a career direction that fits.

* To discover my purpose so that I can make the world a better place.

* To become an expert in medical research so that I can improve children’s health on a global scale.

* To express myself through the arts so that I can connect to my community through the non-profit I plan to create.

* To become an inspiring educator for the next generation so that they can learn and adapt to an ever-changing world.

* To study history and philosophy so that I can be prepared for law school and a professional career.

* To follow my passion for design and innovation so that I can become an entrepreneur.

The purpose of this exercise is to activate your thinking and connect you to the vision you may have for your future. Sometimes the picture is bright and clear – you know just what you want to do, and why.

But most often, the vision is hazy. There are general areas that interest you, but nothing stands out clearly. That’s great! Just begin wherever you are.

If you have a fear of commitment, no worries, this is not a contract. It’s a guide that will help you make choices in the months ahead. Your vision will evolve as you continue to explore colleges, majors and career paths.

Enjoy the process of self-discovery!

#purpose #intention #clarity #collegesearch

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