The 20 Minute Magic

In 20 minutes, you can get an effective workout, complete a good chunk of homework, eat, bathe, watch a tv episodes, or listen to a TED talk. 20 minutes is that happy medium between too short to get stuff done, and too long that it becomes tedious.

Check out our guest post over at InGenius Prep on the 20 minute magic rules.


Image credit: Some rights reserved by Tal Bright

The Next Generation

Every generation develops its unique identity by doing something that seems totally incongruous to the previous generation.


Who’d have thought that *seeking* parental approval would be the thing for millennials!



Ain’t no mountain high enough

Dashrath Manjhi accomplished what seemed improbable; he carved a road, single-handedly, through a mountain using rudimentary tools.  The path to breaking the mountain started with a single stone.dasrath-manjhi-road-550x412As young students, the road to college seems as daunting a task as breaking a mountain.  Just stay focussed on the next stone that lies ahead in your path, instead of looking at the mountain.  Slowly but surely, you will have carved your path through the mountain.

Image Credit:  Oddity Central

Choosing A College Major

5788270465_9ae755c0b5_zThere is too much talk today about following one’s passion – and an implicit pressure on young students to have a passion. It is bit like the hollywood version of a true soul mate – an expectation set so high, that it can almost never be satisfied.

Most times, you can’t know what you want to be till you have the opportunity to be that. As Sheryl Sandberg said: “The reason I don’t have a <career> plan is because if I have a plan I’m limited to today’s options.

In other words, you will do well to:

  • stay broad in your education and learning opportunities (e.g. study ancient history, not hieroglyphics)
  • pick growing, open, and narrow areas to showcase your achievements (do a project in hieroglyphics, not ancient history)
  • evaluate opportunities as they present themselves
  • take the opportunities/risks that help you open new doors (you may, in the wake of Arab Spring, research how archeological work can best continue during periods of political instability. You may even help archive artifacts related to the Arab Spring. Neither of them is a study of ancient history, or hieroglyphics. Both can open many doors.)

And yes, there is risk inherent in every opportunity – even in the decision not to take the opportunity. Evaluate risk, instead of avoiding it.

Image Credit:  Some rights reserved by quinn.anya

Why Volv?


During the heydays of Juniper Networks, our then CEO, Scott Kriens, would always travel with a coach by his side. One day, I had the unique opportunity to spend an hour with his coach, and after that, I never passed up another opportunity to work with a good coach.

80-90% of all companies use coaching, and 51% believe coaching is crucial to their success.

In contrast, coaching techniques are hardly used in the college admission context. Counselors struggle with young students’ ability to apply themselves to the admission process. Students feel overwhelmed, and not-in-control.

We believe that all students have an untapped, hidden potential. We bring to our counselors and young students a framework of tools designed to tap into that potential. Our framework is powerful because it brings clarity. It breaks down the complicated, into simple and straightforward. And in doing so, it empowers students to act.

[Image source: Some rights reserved by annnna_]

Say Hello To Your Opportunity

8423157044_f32d9f9f2e_oYou will be defined by the college you go to – because of the opportunities that will come with it . Opportunities, however, are only worth what you make of them.

Colleges know that, and want to admit the students who have shown they can make the best of their opportunities. 

The real question to ask is not, “Will I get into my dream college?” It is, “What am I doing now that makes me worthy of getting in?”

Volv is a unique coaching program, that brings to the college admission context a proven approach, that has been the cornerstone of success for many highly successful people.

Image Credit: Some rights reserved by One Way Stock

Involved Parents Dilemma

1236894043_610e48e4ac_oCollege admission officers shudder at the thought of the over-involved, helicopter parent. William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard,  joked that his office has identified the top five parents from hell.

6952633997_301a24f154_b-1On the other end of the spectrum, teachers, coaches, and now, employers, are embracing the involved parent, and figuring out how they can work more effectively with them. Google, Deutsche Bank, LinkedIn and many others now host a bring your parent to work day. Northwestern Mutual lets parents come along to interviews and hear details of job offers.

Are you, as a counselor, embracing or dissuading the new levels of parent involvement?