When I started Collegewise in 1999, my parents had just moved to Switzerland where my dad had taken a new job. Months earlier, I’d booked tickets to spend a week with them over the Christmas holiday. And while this is hard to imagine today, internet access wasn’t necessarily reliable or even available everywhere. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance, so I resolved to have my nine seniors done with their applications before the holiday break—theirs and mine. I wanted them to be completely wrapped up so that I could safely detach during the holiday without leaving anyone in the lurch.
There was no plan to necessarily continue this practice for the future. I had no idea what the future even looked like for Collegewise at that time. But I knew that if I were going to enjoy my holiday, I needed to get those nine seniors wrapped up.
It worked. And it still works for us today.
Over seventeen years later, while there may occasionally be a straggler here or there who needs to come back in January for a final review, just about all of our seniors head into the winter holiday with all their applications submitted. It’s one of the most compelling promises we make to families. And it’s one of the benefits they appreciate most about our program.
Imagine if we had never gotten into that habit. If we’d always worked with kids throughout the holidays (as much of our competition does), how might our leadership and our counselors respond if one of us proposed, “Let’s finish all of our seniors before the holiday break.”
As much initiative and gumption as we have, I imagine that most of us would be skeptical.
That will never work.
We have too many kids.
There’s too much work to do in too little time.
None of our competitors do this.
It’s overpromising something we can’t necessarily deliver.
It’s understandable why we’d feel that way, but we’d all be wrong. We’ve been proving it since 1999.
The next time someone in your club, part-time job, counseling department, or other organization proposes an idea that inspires a lot of naysaying, ask a few questions without judgment.
- Would it be worth doing if it did work?
- How can you know for sure that it won’t work?
- What is the smallest, most risk-free way you could try it?
- What’s the worst that would happen if it didn’t work (that’s why question #3 is so important)?
And if you can find satisfactory answers to those questions, you’re only left with one.
Why not try it?