Eps 421: Best practices in the college application process with Janae Young

Episode 421

My guest this week is Janae Young, and I’m so excited that she’s here to share her wisdom as a college admissions coach with us.  

Janae shares why she’s so passionate about college admissions, and we talk about what the admissions process looks like now, including what the common application system is. Janae shares what’s challenging about college application essays for adolescents, tips to help, and her two archetype essay writers. I ask Janae what best practices are for parents who are helping their kids through the college application process, and she shares where we can support and when we need to back off.  We hit on missed deadlines & natural consequences and how to best list awards & activities.  I ask Janae what kids can be doing in 9th, 10th, and 11th grade to help prepare for college applications, and we briefly touch on ACTs and SATs. 

Guest Description

Janae is a college admissions coach as well as a  Stanford University Alumni with a Bachelor of Science in Management Science and Engineering and a minor in Education. 

After witnessing a need in her community, she founded her company at 15 years old in Wilmington, NC to help high school students achieve personal and academic success. 

Over her last 7 years as an entrepreneur, Janae has coached hundreds of students around the world throughout the college application process to reach their dream schools including Stanford, Harvard, Cornell, UPenn, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and other top schools across the nation. 

She now helps high school students raise their SAT/ACT scores and get accepted into their top schools through her group coaching program Ivy League Score and 1:1 coaching program for college preparation. 

As a multiple six-figure business owner at 22 years old, Janae aspires to utilize her passion for entrepreneurship and education to empower students around the world to accomplish their wildest dreams.

Community is everything!

Join our community Facebook groups:

Takeaways from the show

  • What’s the college application process look like now? 
  • Common application system 
  • College application essays 
  • “Perfectionist Polly” and “Rushed Ryan” 
  • How can parents best support their teen during this process? 
  • Week-by-Week college application calendar 
  • College applications are their job, not yours 
  • Missed deadlines & learning through mistakes 
  • What teens can do in 9th, 10th, and 11th grades to help the college admissions process 
  • Best time to take SATs 

What does joyful courage mean to you

Joyful courage means, to me, (this is more from an entrepreneurial perspective but could even be applied to college admissions), which is, not to be morbid, but when I think about my life as a whole, I always say if anything were to happen, I know that I laid it all on the line.  I played full out.  I think there’s a lot of days where, obviously, in entrepreneurship, it’s challenging.  I would say, even in college admissions, it’s challenging sometimes, when you’re going for the big goal that you could otherwise hesitate to not go after.  I say that to teens all the time, “Go for the big goal, because it’s a muscle that you’re building that you’ll use throughout so many years of your life.”  I feel like for me, joyful courage is knowing, even in the hard moments, that I’m exercising that muscle.  I’m playing full out.  I’m creating a life that feels big.  I’m not settling in any area.  I’m so grateful that even as a young woman, I’m able to say that I’ve built this company, and I’m doing what it is that I love every day.  The days that that’s hard, I remind myself  “No, this is exactly what I wanted, and I was courageous enough to go after it.” So I think that’s what joyful courage is to me.



Janae’s Instagram 

Janae’s Facebook 

Janae’s Website 

1:1 Coaching with Janae 

Janae’s Ivy League Score Program

Subscribe to the Podcast

We are here for you

Join the email list

Join our email list! Joyful Courage is so much more than a podcast! Joyful Courage is the adolescent brand here at Sproutable. We bring support and community to parents of tweens and teens. Not a parent of a teen or tween? No worries, click on the button to sign up to the email list specifically cultivated for you: Preschool, school-aged, nannies, and teachers. We are here for everyone who loves and cares for children.

I'm in!

Classes & coaching

I know that you love listening every week AND I want to encourage you to dig deeper into the learning with me, INVEST in your parenting journey. Casey O'Roarty, the Joyful Courage podcast host, offers classes and private coaching. See our current offerings.


students, essay, parents, schools, writing, talk, teens, kids, application, people, activities, senior year, started, extracurriculars, admissions process, application process, supplemental essays, janay, stanford, sophomore year
Casey O'Roarty, Janae Young

Casey O'Roarty 00:04
Hey, welcome to the joyful courage podcast a place for inspiration and transformation as we try and keep it together, while parenting our tweens and teens. This is real work people and when we can focus on our own growth, and nurturing the connection with our kids, we can move through the turbulence in a way that allows for relationships to remain intact. My name is Casey already I am your fearless host. I'm a positive discipline trainer, space holder coach and the adolescent leader at Sprout double. I am also the mama to a 20 year old daughter and 17 year old son walking right beside you on this path of raising our kids with positive discipline and conscious parenting. This show is meant to be a resource to you and I work really hard to keep it real, transparent and authentic so that you feel seen and supported. Today is an interview and I have no doubt that what you hear will be useful to you. Please don't forget sharing truly is caring. If you love today's show, please pass the link around snap a screenshot posted on your socials or texted to your friends. Together we can make an even bigger impact on families all around the globe. I'm so glad that you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 01:25
All right. Welcome back listeners. Welcome back. I'm so excited for today's guest. It's a little self indulgent considering what I'm working on with my own senior in high school. My guest today is Janae young Janae is a college admissions coach as well as a Stanford University alumni with a Bachelors of Science in Management Science and Engineering and a minor in education. After witnessing a need in her community, she founded her company at 15 years old. And I say that again. She founded her company at 15 years old, in Wilmington, North Carolina to help high school students achieve personal and academic success. Over her last seven years as an entrepreneur Janay has coached hundreds of kids around the world throughout the college application process to reach their dream schools, including places like Stanford, Harvard, Cornell, UPenn, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and other top schools across the nation. She now helps high school students raise their SATs and AC T scores and get accepted into their top schools through her group coaching programme, Ivy League score, and one on one coaching programmes for the college preparation process. As a multiple six figure business owner at 22 years old, you're inspiring to all of us. Janay, aspires to utilise her passion for entrepreneurship and education to empower students around the world to accomplish their wildest dreams. Hi, Janae welcome to the podcast.

Janae Young 02:59
Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here. Well,

Casey O'Roarty 03:03
I want to start with well done you. I want to invite everybody who's listening who just listened to your bio to remember, we get to love the kid that we have. Right? We get to love the kid we have. We get to spend a little time with a superstar right now. And I'm so inspired personally, as a business owner, like you're a baby and a boss. It's a me thing. Yes. Talk about your passion for working with young people on the college application track and tell us a little bit more about your journey.

Janae Young 03:38
Absolutely. So as you read, I grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina. So growing up, I actually didn't really know what I wanted to be for a while. That's one of the things that I'm always kind of coaching students and parents on throughout the admissions process whenever they start to feel like I don't know what direction my kids on exactly, I remind them that I wanted to be an actress, for sure when I was 1314 and then pivoted to anesthesiology, and then biomedical engineering, and right around the time of my sophomore year in high school. So when I was starting, I was young for my grade. And so I would say like the standard job in Wilmington was like you go work at Chick fil A, you go work at a fashion boutique or whatever, when you turn 16 to get some extra pocket change, and I was not eligible to work. And so I remember just being like I'm tired of relying on my parents for like $20 to go get something from editor forever 21 at the mall, I need to start having my own cash. And so I actually started a babysitting business. My sister told me about a friend to kind of had built this babysitting clientele. And I thought it was so amazing that she had her own agency and she could make her own decisions and spend her own money. And so I started there, and I even went door to door knocking like the traditional entrepreneurship story and recognised I lived in a retiree neighbourhood pretty quickly. No one had small children. And so then I said, Okay, well, I've always loved teaching. I've always kind of been the person who buzzes around the classroom and helps people with their work once I was done and said, Why don't I try to iterate. And so I started with one student, and my Algebra Two, class one turned into two, two turned into three. And I very quickly began to see, which is still a core value of my company. Today, when I was able to sit down with a student, I was able to explain it to them in a way that they could understand. Because I could speak their own language, I wasn't coming to them from a perspective of someone who was trying to admonish them, I could just connect with them. And that peer to peer education was magic. And so because of that, my clients results started taking off, and I started growing this client base pretty quickly. And I played soccer for 15 years. And so my soccer season was in the spring. And I just remember thinking, I don't want to leave these clients hanging. And so I did what any, like a 16 year old would do, and I hired an employee, and then two, and then three, I look back and I have so much gratitude for my former self of I obviously made the decisions that I did, because I think I didn't know anything else to do. But how audacious she was at the time. So by the time I was 17, I was kind of running a tutoring agency K through 12, in my hometown with 10 tutors, and we focused on just tutoring and subjects. And I also had my clients that I still worked with. And then when I was going through the college admissions process,

Casey O'Roarty 06:39
let me pause you really quick, because I want to highlight something about your story. Yes. So I just did a couple of free workshops for parents of teens. And one of the things we talked about is teen brain development. And we look at it I like to look at it through Dan Siegel's work brainstorm the power and purpose of the teen brain. He has this acronym called Essence motional spark social engagement, novelty seeking and creative exploration and in creative exploration, we talk about what you just said, like the audacity to think that at 16 years old, you could hire employees for your tutoring company that you started, like, I love that about adolescence, I love that there can be this piece of like, why not? Why not me? Who says I can't do this. So I just wanted to highlight like that is creative exploration in action, so

Janae Young 07:30
absolutely on. Yes. And I always say I'll lay out the four year plan down the line later in our conversation of what a parent should be encouraging at each step of the way in a student's high school career. But sophomore year is all about that exploration. And although I didn't know it at the time, what I was doing as a sophomore was so helpful for my application by the time I got to senior year, which I can dive into in terms of strategy with different grades later on. But by the time that I was a senior, I was in the thick of it, just as probably many viewers and listeners kids are right now writing my essays, I had so many questions. And when I was reaching out, like I even think my mom got a phone call with a counsellor. And I was asking questions, and I felt like there was no one that could really understand what it was like to go through the process in this day and age, and with COVID and social media and just all of those very specific things that Gen Z's were navigating at the time. And so when I matriculated at Stanford, I decided to niche down into college admissions, to be that voice that I didn't have to help students and have been so blessed to do so over the last four years. I started in test prep, which was very interesting during COVID, and then have scaled to cover the entire admissions process and ninth through 12th grade. And I now run that company full time. So I scaled it throughout my time at Stanford. And now I just have a network of students around the world that I work with every day. And that is amazing. So I run two programmes, as you mentioned in your introduction, my test prep programme, Ivy League score and my one on one coaching programme. So I'm happy to talk about all of the secrets of the trade and any questions that anyone had considered me your coach for, like the next hour?

Casey O'Roarty 09:18
Yay. Well, and I'm curious, too. So where were you at school wise? You're 22? Yeah. So when COVID Which part of your journey was COVID?

Janae Young 09:29
I was a freshman in college. So that spring of freshman year spring? Yes. So I was really physically at campus for six months. And then I was sent home. And that was really hard because which you probably if you study adolescence, you know, like, that's the independent forming phase of having your own friends and finding out how to live alone. And I was then kind of just catapulted into, I think what we all didn't expect at the time. So that's when it hit At knee, it's funny because I now coach students, and I'll ask them the same question will be like, for my current seniors? When did COVID happen for you? And they're like, Oh, I was a freshman in high school. And I'm like, wait, yeah. Yeah, no, it was definitely a time. I think for me, it showed me the importance of people having a peer, like I remember, at the time, I didn't know what was going on for high school students, right, because the landscape had changed. Testing had paused. And obviously students were still going through the college admissions process, but with even more stress, and so I would just get on Instagram Live and tell people come talk to me. And I developed actually a relationship with one student, her name was Rebecca. And she would come on and talk to me and ask me questions about Stanford. And I would tell her what I knew at the time. And I ended up coaching her and now she's a sophomore at Stanford. So like in the exact position that I was at when I was talking to her across the screen. So it's fascinating to watch how I think we even the worst times in our world of rise, how human connection can still get us through. So I think that's what I learned too most during that period.

Casey O'Roarty 11:10
I love that. How long as the common app been around

Janae Young 11:14
a long time that I actually haven't changed significantly, even since my class year when I was applying. So they've only changed really one prompt, I think there's one now about gratitude. But most are the same. So actually, like the exact same common app essay that I wrote, I'm coaching people on the same exact prompts. So they've kept it pretty standard.

Casey O'Roarty 11:36
So explain because I was like, Oh, this is a new thing, right? Because college application has not been on my radar until now. So explain to the listeners, what the common app is.

Janae Young 11:46
So the common application is a system that they've put together to try to simplify the application process as much as possible, where most schools overwhelmingly in the US are on the common application. And it's a common application. So the essays and activities and recommendations that are entered into the common application, go to all of the schools within the common app. So let's say you have a list of schools that 16 And they're all on the common application, you write a personal statement, which I'll talk about in a second, your activities list and then as you send those schools individually, it'll go to the same school. So the same personal statement goes to all of those schools. So the Common Application personal statement is really the heart of a student's application. It's the longest essay that they'll write by far, and the most challenging, which I can talk about in terms of essay writing. And it's 650 words, it's the most challenging because many students have not stopped and paused for the self reflection that the college admissions process requires. So a lot of the work that I do with students is diving deep, and asking them questions they may have never encountered before, like, how did that experience impacted me? Or what was the time I stepped up as a leader? Or what was a time that I had a challenge? Or why is it that I want to do what I want to do or what I think I want to do? Yeah, and so oftentimes, it can be hard to take those experiences and get them on paper. And students aren't taught the act of creative writing, which is basically writing about yourself. In school, you're taught maybe how to write a research paper, or how to outline an essay with standard five paragraphs, but not how to take an experience, diagnose it at 17, and put it into a page essay. So that is first one of the most challenging experiences, and I just want to validate any parents were like, my kid has been procrastinating on writing this essay for three to four weeks. That's completely normal. There are ways obviously to get it done. Like I always say, with my clients, we get their company app done in seven to 10 days, no drama, cuz I know their brains, you know why they're procrastinating. But that's the common app. And then in addition to the essay, there is an activities list that has 10 activities. It's kind of like your version of a resume for college admissions. But schools are very concise. And so students actually only have 150 characters to describe their activities. That's a sentence and some change. And so it's then also figuring out how to take maybe something that has spanned so many years and dents that down because I sat down into a quantifiable impact driven statement that shows their impact, and only a few characters. And then there's the recommendations, typically two core teacher recommendations from teachers who have taught them within the last 12 months by core teachers, they mean math, science, English history, and that will then go to the most of their schools.

Casey O'Roarty 14:39
Okay, so I have some questions. I've been like, I'm taking notes. I'm listening to you. So do you feel like the common app? I mean, I remember back in, you know, 1990 When I was applying to college, I applied to like 10 colleges, many of which I didn't know where they were or anything about them. It was just told to me and I guess I was really easygoing. And I was like, Okay, fine. Do you feel like the common app? While it streamlines the process? Do you feel like there's still lots of room for kids to be able to really paint a picture of who they are?

Janae Young 15:16
Absolutely. So with the Common Application, there's seven prompts that you can choose. And so what I like to do in terms of essay writing with my students, actually is, because in addition to the Common Application, the personal statement, for most schools, especially competitive schools, you then have an additional set of supplemental essays that each school will require. So let's say that if you're applying to one school, they require two additional essays of 300 words, each one about why you want to attend that school in particular, and then maybe one about what you feel like you would contribute to the community. All of a sudden, we have maybe 15, to 20 supplemental essays that a student's writing over the course of application season with a list of 10 schools. And so it's really important that they not only know how to convey their strengths, but also how to repurpose those essays. So they're not writing 20 to 30 essays, but instead they write 10. Good ones. So I take my students through an exercise called core stories, which is basically where we figure out all of the things that make them into who they are. Maybe cultural experiences, that they've had interests that they have a time they overcame a challenge, a moment of realisation that they had, whatever really intertwines, I have like set questions, I asked students like, for example, what were three moments that you feel like have shaped you into who you are today? For me when I was 17, that looked like I was bullied pretty badly in middle school, I started my business when I was 15. And that meant a lot to me of kind of figuring out like, who I was and what I wanted to be as an entrepreneur. And I got kicked off the soccer team in high school and had to work my way back on and get to team captain. So I was really proud of those three moments, right? So then you could take those as core stories and say, Okay, this is then going to fit a challenge supplemental essay, this is then going to fit a intellectual curiosity essay talking about why it is that I want to study what I want to study and how I've done that outside of the classroom. And then this core story will work as my personal statement, something that I'll elaborate on further and will be the centre of my application. And so then very quickly, when a student has their core stories, they never question what to write, because it's then just picking almost like from a platter of stories that they can use, and strategically repurpose with supplemental essays in their application. And then they have really clear application themes as well, so that they can come across with a clear application story, which is an essential if you want to stand out in the admissions process. So I always say students can be as creative as they like, and their application is supposed to convey who they are. It's not supposed to be some mechanical resume of their academics in their activities. It's supposed to include the most personal aspects of them. My application is Stanford, Stanford is notorious for their supplemental essays, they have around seven, I talked about everything from my grandmother's blanket, who passed away from cancer when I was very young, to my billing experiences in middle school to how I was good enough at soccer to make the team but never good enough to play. And what that taught me about grit, like all of those things, in addition to obviously, the academics on my application, and every student should.

Casey O'Roarty 18:28
Ah, I mean, my head is spinning right now. Janae, and listeners, are we all having the same experience where we're thinking to ourselves, I gotta get my kid to listen to this podcast. Because that's what I'm thinking right now. I love what you talked about with that personal statement being the heart of the application. And I know my son has talked, actually, for the last few years, he said, I know when it's time, what I'm gonna write my essay about. And when we went through COVID, and my listeners know this a few weeks into COVID, we also found out that my husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. So freshman year, online COVID, while also his dad and I, literally living in Seattle, which is an hour and a half away, him and his sister being here, holding down the fort on their own, you know, and he's really excited to write this. And so I'm wondering how much weight is in the mechanics of writing, versus the content and the reflection of the essay? I'm sure it's a both and but just out of curiosity, is it like they're being graded on their writing ability? Or are they being understood better through the content

Janae Young 19:44
100% content and clarity. This is a big misconception in terms of essay writing and the admissions process, which is basically that you have to be Shakespeare to get into, I would say, any top school that you're looking for, or even just that students think so Going through the admissions process that their essay has to be perfect. Your content and the clarity with which you articulate that content is what matters the most. And then students naturally will have different writing styles. I have some students that I've worked with through the years that have very poetic writing styles, they naturally insert things like metaphors, personification, their sentences seem to string together. And then I have people that are very direct writers, and are just saying what they think that is okay. And both of them do very well in the admissions process. When the content of the essays clear, the biggest thing that I see actually talk through different essay archetypes. In some of my programmes. One, I like to kind of point to two main archetypes that I see, one is a perfectionist Polly. So I always like to say this as the student as it

Casey O'Roarty 20:50
turned out my son, by the way,

Janae Young 20:53
this is the student that oftentimes is feeling a lot of pressure throughout the admissions process, they may be applying to top schools or feeling pressure from their parents. And they feel like their essay has to be very great. And so they will go online, the look at other essays, they'll go on YouTube, go on Tik Tok your student definitely is, if they have a phone, they've seen something. And so they can compare themselves to those essays. So they'll try to write their first rough draft, it won't match maybe some of what they've seen. And they'll scrap it. And they'll say, that's not good enough, and then just consistently get stuck in iterations of that essay without actually completing it, not knowing that you have to write a functioning messy, rough draft to get to the poetic, eloquent essay. So that's the first archetype. And then the second, I would say is like a rushed Ryan is what I like to call it with my students, which is basically where they feel like they want to get their essay done, they have so much on their plate. And so they jump right into writing without reflection first, and then that creates kind of an essay where they're still trying to figure out their words, but they didn't organise their thoughts on the front end. And so they're doing a lot of revisions to try to figure out what that story may look like overall. And so having a set brainstorming and writing process helps clarify those ideas before they even start. And so I definitely think knowing the mechanics of the writing process, and what actually slows students down is so helpful, but they definitely don't have to be perfect writers in order to write a good essay.

Casey O'Roarty 22:20
Yeah, well, that's good to know. And as I listened to you, I'm thinking to myself, Okay, great. This is what I can say to Ian. So being a real mom right now, in the thick of it, what are best practices for parents in supporting their kiddos, who are moving on either end of that spectrum, either Polly or Ryan? Or the other archetype, which is, you know, deadlines what I'm just gonna resist, resist, resist? Yes,

Janae Young 22:48
I would say first, just understanding your teen is most likely stressed. They are aware, I think sometimes I see parents will come to me. And even with that third archetype that you were talking about where they're more avoidant, they'll say, they're kind of like not thinking about the college process. And then we'll get a lot done in a short period of time. They'll say, Wait, I thought they'd like weren't thinking about this at all. And I'll say no, it was totally in the back of their mind. Oftentimes, teens just don't know how to process or get started on something that feels so large and important as applying to college. Oftentimes, they feel like, oh, you know, I was a sophomore, as a junior now, I'm a senior that has a weight that has implications. And so I've seen people can procrastinate, people can be very, very detail oriented. And I think it manifests stress manifests in teens differently. So I think it's just first being their number one advocate, and their number one supporter, I see a lot of times students feel like they have to have something traumatic or super extraordinary about them in their application, otherwise, they're not going to stand out. And I think I always tell students, there is no other student on the planet like you. Like back, surely there's no one that's had the same experience as you the same stories as you the same challenges as you the same, you know, life stories that have made you into who you are today. And so I think reminding them of that of they're not just another person, they are unique within their own right, they have value within their own right. And they don't have to feel like they have to be someone that they're not in order to get into maybe the schools that they want. So I would say first, just kind of being that safe space for them. Because a lot of times the in school conversations will be very comparison oriented, of students may be talking about I've done this and I've done that and they may start to feel behind. Second is that you should have a process and organisation process. So I for example, always say September is the perfect time to put together an application timeline. I literally have a Google Doc that has September week 1234.

Casey O'Roarty 24:56
Do you share that Google Doc or do we have to hire you for that?

Janae Young 24:58
We can link it. We can link it. Absolutely, I mean that, that says, okay, when do we actually need to be writing these schools by, for a lot of teens, it's just a matter of if you are applying to a list of 15 schools, right, that's an entire project management system. Like a lot of times I use things that I used in consulting and management science at Stanford to organise my students because there's so many moving deadlines, there's different application systems. And so it can just be helpful to get organised, once you've addressed comforting routine on the front end of knowing, okay, here's what we need to do week by week from now, all the way until December 31. I encourage students to have a writing routine. So set times that they're writing and editing every single week, it can be an hour, I teach a concept called Speed writing, where students are able to get like two to three supplemental essays done in 60 minutes. So it doesn't have to be a lot of time. It can be at four o'clock when they get home on Monday. And then they can edit those essays Thursday at four o'clock once they've had some breather time. But that way they know okay, here's what I'm getting done the week of October 7, I need to be writing these types of essays. And here's what I'm gonna get them done on my schedule. And that can alleviate a lot of stress. Because then what our brains do is if we don't know what we're doing on a week, by week basis, it'll tell us that everything is urgent. And so there's a lot of stress and procrastination, versus breaking it down week by week. And when you're writing is broken down week by week, and you have a clear routine, the writing doesn't get pushed into the margins, which is what a lot of students and parents experience life is busy already. You already have a cycle. And so when you don't create intentional time for the application process, the work of the application process gets pushed to Christmas break Thanksgiving break and weekend. Yes, yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 26:51
And I want to mention here because I know that there's people listening, and I have clients, and we've been in this conversation around that third archetype, which is, ah, they're not meeting the deadlines. They're not doing what they're supposed to be doing. And I just want to speak directly to those parents right now and say, this application process is theirs, not yours. Yeah. Right. And the natural consequence of resistance, resistance resistance, and usually they're resisting because you're on their back. Yeah. And they're tired of it. And they want to show you actually, I'm in charge of this situation. So I'm not going to do anything. As soon as you get yourself out of the way and remind them like, Listen, I'm gonna love you, no matter what, you know, the deadlines, you get to create your own experience here, and I'm willing to stand by and be supportive of you. That is what those kids need. Also, you know, I love that you're talking about organisational tools, because 100% More and more, there seem to be kids with either executive functioning challenges, or ADHD or fill in the blank. So we also get to be compassionate around the gaps. Right. And again, I'm speaking directly to the parents, like, be compassionate around those gaps, and quit thinking it's just your kid being lazy or a pain in the ass or not caring because they do. If they're resisting, it's either you're in the way and creating a dynamic that isn't useful, or they don't have the tools or skills to be able to hold the organisational situation that has been created for them. So where can you scaffold? Yeah, right? Yes,

Janae Young 28:30
100%. And I always say in terms of the organisation I'm talking about, have them put it in their phone. Yeah, like have them put it into alerts, with alerts with their text reminders. And that was actually the third point I was going to make first is comforting being your teens advocate. Second is helping them get organised in third is letting the process be their own. A lot of parents try to micromanage. And I've seen it kind of happen where there will be students who are resistant, and then will, you know, put off deadlines. And then there's also sometimes students who will follow but they are experiencing incredible amount of pressure as they're going throughout the application process because they are consistently feeling like there's someone overseeing everything and reminding them of deadlines. And that can then create a very heightened amount of anxiety as they're moving through application season. And so I always say the value of the application process will come in the lessons that your teen needs to learn in particular, and so it's okay if they miss a deadline. It's okay if they are learning to manage their time through not managing it at first. Like that's naturally part of them growing up and I think that the gap between them concluding junior year and going onto a college campus as an adult is the college application process, right? But spring of senior year, there are partying, there's prom there's graduation. It's a fun time. aim, it's that fall where they're learning a lot of life lessons. And so it's a disservice to not let them learn them, because they're going to need them long term in college. And so many times, they're students where they will be working last minute towards a deadline. And I have to say, I'm here to support you, but also, like, they're not going to make that mistake again, right? They're going to feel whatever,

Casey O'Roarty 30:27
they might make it a couple more times,

Janae Young 30:29
they might make it a couple more times. It's not fun to write at midnight. But you only learn that when you're writing it bit night. And if they pull off, so yeah, I just wanted to clarify, I think you at the beginning, you said, like I think sometimes parents will hear of me and what I've done and think that I did not give my parents like any stress and my

Casey O'Roarty 30:52
perfect Janae you're the perfect child, you did anything wrong, right? Like

Janae Young 30:59
I made all the same mistakes, like I put it off at first and procrastinated. That's why I'm able to understand what's going on in a teens brain. And so that's also just part of the process, even for students are going to do phenomenal. I just want to offer that just part of them growing up. And so those lessons are going to be so valuable for them. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 31:21
And it might be the lesson of a big missed deadline. Right? Everybody gets to go to college, right? There is opportunities for higher ed, for every single person, right? There are pathways to get their parents, I know that we want all the doors to be open, and we want every possible opportunity for our kids. And again, like I'm listening to you say, which I think is so so valuable, which is why I want to say it again, this is their journey, and the opportunity for growth and reflection. And pivot and learning happens when they're in the struggle and when they make those mistakes. And they can feel the actual natural consequences of that. So I'm here for that, too. Yes. Okay. So I want to ask you, you said something about 10 activities, there's 10 activities. What does that mean? Yes. So does that have 10 activities?

Janae Young 32:15
That's okay. So the Activities List has 10 spaces for their activities, they do not have to use all 10. There's typically an activities and award section, like where students can insert awards, if they have any, I did not have any awards.

Casey O'Roarty 32:30
Oh, hey, your image of you.

Janae Young 32:34
I have parents who will email me all the time, like, my kid doesn't have any awards, they've maybe an AP Scholar Award. But beyond that, and I'm like no high school student typically receives awards in time. And so it's completely normal, that award section does not have to be full. Even if your students applying to very competitive schools, that's not required. So I just wanted to put that out there in terms of the activity section, you don't have to fill all 10. But you will be constrained to the character kind of activities. That's where I see students struggle the most.

Casey O'Roarty 33:07
So do they get to say their activity like in my son is a basketball player, and he's had a part time job since the summer before his junior year, that's basically the extent of his activity list. Perfect likes to play golf, but he doesn't play on school team. So it does your characters like basketball, and then they can blah, blah, blah, this is what I learned, or this is what they get to

Janae Young 33:30
kind of actually, we'll use a direct example from your son, we can do it together. So typically, you'd first list out that organisation name, there's a space on the activities list for the organisation name. So that's where you would put maybe, for example, the name of the basketball team and the school and then there's a space for a position title. So if, for example, if they are team captain or play a significant part in the team, that's where you would insert that you can also just put general member or general player or their position, that's typically what you would do for a sports team. And then that's kind of their title. And then goes the activities description. So that description should highlight a student's impact. Use as many numbers as we can. And also be concise because we only have about a sentence. So what that maybe looks like is what their practice routine look like if they oversaw or mentored any younger members on the team if they were up significant part and the team winning any local or state or national titles. Like when I was talking about soccer, I was team captain, even though I didn't play, I had a really significant role in mentoring some other younger girls on the team. So I talked about that. So that's just an example of how you could break that down in terms of a part time job. There's so many skills that are learned in a part time job people oftentimes overlook customer management communication, working with a team overseeing a domain of some particular asset fact of that job.

Casey O'Roarty 35:00
Oh, he's a lifeguard exactly everything, Lord of the pool.

Janae Young 35:05
Yes. And so I would say the number one mistake I see is students will downgrade what they've done, okay, and they want to bulk it up, we want to bulk it up, we want to use power verbs like I was using in, you can literally look up a list of resume verbs and just go with ones that you feel like best match the description, but you just want to lead with those power verbs. We want to use as many numbers as possible. So we quantify the impact. So for example, I was just with a student in Texas, and she is Drum Major of her marching band. And I said, Okay, well, you know, she told me that for maybe nine months, and I said, How many people are in the band, and she said, 400, and he said, Wait, you oversee 400 people, that's very important. I wouldn't know that because my marching band at my high school was 50 people, right? So you want to give the admissions officers context of what that impact actually looks like. And there is a specific portion and activities list where they will ask for hours a week and weeks a year. So their time investment doesn't have to be listed in that 150 characters. But they do want to own and brag a little bit about what it is that they've done, and all that they've accomplished in that activity. And last thing I want to say on that, in addition to your traditional extracurriculars, like sports, clubs, jobs, there are also other things that can be listed. For example, taking care of a sibling, taking care of a parent, any way that a student spends their time outside of school would be factored into their summer experiences can also be factored in. So all of those count as activities as well. Okay,

Casey O'Roarty 36:47
amazing. All right, before I let you go, I know not everyone listening has a senior right now. This is so useful. Janae I'm so excited about this conversation. I'm so excited. What are kind of some quick tips on what to be thinking about and encouraging earlier on in high school?

Janae Young 37:12
Yes, yep, I can walk you through it. So I'd love coaching seniors, but I also love helping people prepare for senior year because it's the number one way to reduce your stress. And I think the biggest misconception about the college admissions process is that it starts senior year, I teach a concept called the four year plan that shows how every year in high school students career plays into their application senior year. So I always like to say freshman year ninth grades about foundation building. This is where a student wants to focus on knowing how to achieve the types of grades that they want, focusing on time management organisation getting the foundational skills that they would need to have a successful high school career. And I always like to say what happens in freshman year determines the ease of their upperclassmen years. So for example, if students are procrastinating on writing senior year, they're not able to manage long term deadlines, for example, instead of like that quiz is due tomorrow. So I'm going to do it tonight, knowing how to prepare for that paper that they may need to write two weeks from now, and how to break that up incrementally. That's a skill set. That's you senior year. So when we can start building that freshman year, we set that foundation. So typically, this is going to look like just students knowing how to manage their grades, manage their time, know how to both manage short and long term assignments, like the worksheet that they need to finish overnight, or the quiz that's coming up in a week or the paper that's coming up in two weeks, and how to break those assignments down. And also just putting together a four year plan for the courses that they're going to take. So that way, if they want to play around or switch any courses, you're able to communicate with your counselling staff effectively. So that's typically the work that I do with my freshmen. In terms of sophomore year. It's all about that creative exploration that you've said.

Casey O'Roarty 39:00
So the freshmen that you're working with, like you're helping them learn those skills that you're just mentioning. Okay, great.

Janae Young 39:06
Okay. Yes, absolutely. And it's so fun to watch them grow up, like when I can see my students from freshman year who are now juniors and we got all of their testing done before junior year even started. They're organised. They have all of their extracurriculars, and we're just chillin going into junior year. It's the best. So that is the work that I do with freshmen. And I also do because I have a life coaching background. I do a lot of mindset coaching and helping them understand how to process their emotions and understand how their thoughts influence how they're feeling and just giving them vocabulary around a lot of the hard things that teens often experience because High School is hard in every aspect. So that's kind of what freshman year looks like sophomore year, I call is the year of exploration. This is where students want to rigorously pursue all of their interests and from a parental perspective. Have you want to give them freedom to do that. So in whatever way you can support them, I always like to say the way that teens interest emerge aren't within adult vocabulary fuel, they're not going to tell you that they want to go into political science. They're going to hang around while you watch the news, right? They're gonna ask you questions, or they may not tell you that they want to go into engineering, they may just start working with their hands and having particular interest in certain clubs or activities. And so then you just want to nurture those interests. So to show that journey for me, like I said, I wanted to go into acting for a while, I joined theatre, and I got to talk on stage, and I loved it. And then I said, this may not have the work, the long term work life that I'm looking for, right, I have to be really, really good if I want to be successful. And so we're going to try something else. So then I pivoted into medicine. And with medicine, I figured out still didn't have the work life that I imagined for myself, and maybe my 30s or my 40s. But I only got there from rigorously pursuing that interest. I started a club at my school in medicine, and I also went to some camps. So I could actually talk to doctors and see what it was like, that's when I got my questions answered, like you're in school for a long time. Maybe that's not exactly what I want to do. But I took what it is that I did like about medicine, which was helping people. So by the time I then got to entrepreneurship, I could say, Okay, I liked talking, I liked being able to present, and I liked helping people, maybe I'm able to use those skill sets in this career path. But I wouldn't have been able to get there if I hadn't had that exploration phase. And then of course, that's how I started my business, and it was a good fit. So sophomore year is all about pursuing those interests, to the extent with which you can and I would say figuring out if something isn't a good fit is just as valuable as figuring out if it is. So that's what we focus on in sophomore year, I help students do that through extracurricular development, both in and out of school. With all of my students, we actually put together an impact driven initiative in their community that helps them get clear on what it is that they want to do and create and help a particular group of people that they want to help. So that can be everything from like a sustainable fashion business, to putting together a AI voting system to whatever student personally feels helpful feels would be helpful for their community in their area of interest. I have a student who's doing like a mental health support group at his high school for young men, because he recognised that young men often don't have support spaces, I have another student who's doing genetic research, I had a student who did research and gender economics on the gender wage gap with a professor. Now you, too, like there's so many different things your team can do. But we just want to do it in their area of interest to get them better clarity. So that's what sophomore and junior year look like, in terms of extracurriculars. And then I pause

Casey O'Roarty 42:54
you right there. Because I want everyone who's listening to calm down. Calm down your panic, if you've got kids that don't want to get off their phone and don't want to get out of their bed. Okay, this is like, I love this picture that you're painting. And like I say, with other things, this is a direction to point the compass, right. And as parents, we get to nurture we get to offer, we get to invite, and it really is going to be up to our individual kids to step in. And if you want your kids to step in, and they're not and they're resistant, you all know where I'm gonna go with this, like, take a look at relationship, take a look at the dynamics, look under the surface of the iceberg, figure out what's going on, because it is developmentally appropriate for there to be a spark of curiosity, right? And if there's not a spark of curiosity, parents, then that's something to not be pissed about. Right? Not just see it as a character flaw, but instead, get really curious around what's happening under the surface for your kiddo that's getting in the way of this development. So I just wanted to know, absolutely.

Janae Young 44:05
And just so I can elaborate on that. I think a lot of people think extracurricular development has to be something that is ultra phenomenal, and requires a lot of time on behalf of your team, and also requires just relentless ambition from them. And that's oftentimes not true. They can do something that's very impactful, and only two to three hours a week. So let's just take the sustainable fashion business, for example, the way that ended up developing with my students that I was working with was a sophomore that she would sell clothes on Depop. Do you know, it's like a it's like a fashion website. Cool. I know what that is. Yeah, I didn't I didn't I have a 20 year old daughter too. So yeah, that's why it was like, If anyone knows what this site is great, because I had no clue. But I would ask great saying, what do you do for fun? She said, Oh, well, I sell clothes on Depop. And then I said, Okay, well, what is it that you want to study? And she said she wanted to go into business and I said, Well, what if we thought about ways that we could, you know, accelerate that a little bit. Like, let's get you some entrepreneurial skills, if that's what you want. And so I said, what would we need to do to have you selling those clothes on Depop? Or to create your own brands? And she said, well, at Salvation Army, there's clothes that basically they put out, and they're gonna take to the dumpster if no one takes them. And so I'll typically go in there, and I'll get some clothes. And I said, Okay, great. Why don't we take that. And that can be some of the inputs that you're using, you can then use those and repurpose them for developing your sustainable fashion brand. And let's just start there, let's just get serious about it. Let's actually start looking at how much money you're making a month. And she was making like, $400 a month. And I was like, that's a business girl. Like, that's amazing that we can. So I then showed her how to actually track the stats of how much she was selling, how to figure out how to plan for her business model. And then I said, what if we did a nonprofit wing, where you partnered with nonprofits in your area, to actually go through and pre select clothes for a particular target audience, for example, if you wanted to help people who do not have the same resources, have clothes for interviews, or if you wanted to, you know, have a women's fashion line where you take the clothes, you repurpose them, and then donate them and just partner with nonprofits to do that, and see what they need to go out there. And she said, okay, yeah, why don't I do that. And so then she got an internship with a nonprofit, and started creating what is now a professional wear, kind of lying that she donates to nonprofits across Oakland. And she's still on her phone all the time, like still still a teenager, just a little teenager. And so I just wanted to emphasise that. And the other thing I typically recommend in sophomore year that just a lot of parents don't know that I wanted to clarify, if your student decides that they do want to take the SATs and the AC T, the SATs and AC T only cover up to algebra two. So whenever your student finishes Algebra Two is actually the best time for them to start testing instead of later on maybe when they're in something like precalculus, or statistics, because then what they're learning in the classroom won't be relevant. So any testing that we can clear out of the way sophomore year is best. And also preparing them for any accelerated courses will take as a junior and a senior junior year is about kind of building a niche area of interest, if you will, doubling down on some of the extracurriculars that they're doing, continuing that exploration and really accelerating into leadership positions where there are opportunities in school and out of school. And then senior year is where we tie it together with a bow. So as you can see, senior year is oftentimes so dependent on what happens in the first three years. And so that's why I love coaching on like ninth 10th and 11th grade, because then it can make senior year feel a lot more approachable. But that's how I break down the four years.

Casey O'Roarty 47:56
Right? And everyone who's like, oh, great, well, so much for freshman, sophomore, junior year, like, take a deep breath. Right, we're where we're at. And we get to just move forward and move forward. Yeah, thank you so much. This was so beyond helpful. I knew it was going to be so useful to talk to you. And I'm 100% sure that listeners are feeling the same way. Thank you for your work, thank you for your ambition and for feeling that inspirational spark and running with it and for being supportive of our kids. Thank you so much. Of course, I always ask my guests the same question at the end. And so I'm gonna ask you What does joyful courage mean to you? Janay Ooh,

Janae Young 48:43
joyful courage means to me, this is more from an entrepreneurial perspective, but could even be applied to I think college admissions, which is, when I not to be morbid, but like, when I think about my life as a whole. I always say if anything were to happen, I know that I laid it all on the line, like I played full out. And I think there's a lot of days where, obviously, in entrepreneurship, it's challenging. I would say, even in college admissions, it's challenging sometimes when you're going for the big goal that you could otherwise hesitate to not go after. And I say that to teens all the time, like go for the big goal, because it's a muscle that you're building that you'll use throughout so many years of your life. And so I feel like for me joyful courage is knowing, even in the hard moments that I'm exercising that muscle, like I'm playing full out, like I'm creating a life that feels big, like I'm not settling in any area. And I'm so grateful that even as a young woman, I'm able to say that I've built this company and I'm doing what it is that I love every day. And the days that that's hard. I remind myself like no, this is exactly what I wanted, and I was courageous enough to go after it. So I think that's what joyful courage is to me

Casey O'Roarty 49:59
Yes, I love that. Where can people find you and follow your work and find out more about your offers?

Janae Young 50:05
Yes. So my website and social media channels are under Janay tutoring. That's my name, J A N A E tutoring. So my websites Janay tutoring.com. My Facebook and Instagram are Janay tutoring as well. And if you're a parent that's like, I, this girl needs to be in my kid's ear. That's why I'm on Instagram and I literally have a highlight dedicated to all the coaching segments I do on Instagram where parents would be like, Can I show this to my team? And I'm like, Yup, just send it to them and have them binge all of my videos.

Casey O'Roarty 50:39
Beautiful. Amazing. Thank you so much for hanging out with me. This was so great.

Janae Young 50:44
Thank you so much for having me. I loved being here

Casey O'Roarty 50:55
thank you so much for listening in today. Thank you to my spreadable partners as well as Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for all the support with getting the show out there and making it sound good. Check out our offers for parents with kids of all ages and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected at the Sprott audible.com. Tune back in later this week for our Thursday show and I'll be back with another interview next Monday. Peace.

See more