College Counseling: The Risk I Was Willing To Take After Turning 50

Writer, College Admissions Counselor
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So many things had me start a business after turning fifty. I must have had something powerful hit me to work as hard as I did and want more. I am a college counselor and had an interest in everything college admissions, but it was more than that. I wanted to prove something to myself and the timing was right. My husband’s successful business was beginning to have issues that were worrisome and that was the trigger I needed. Having worked for others for what seemed like countless years, I wanted to do something on my own where I could feel the reward of accomplishment, help out at home and do something new.

I had been out of work for about five years reading, taking classes, working on a few small projects and attending conferences. I learned that education was also a business. However, before I set out to “rule the world”, I needed to have more knowledge on the ever changing college landscape.

Although I dabbled in other fields, I landed in education because that’s what I knew and loved. The feeling I get seeing the smiles on students’ faces when they are accepted to their choice colleges is thrilling and the growth I witness through the college process as these young people are about to embark on a life of their own inspires me. There’s nothing like getting that email that says, “I GOT IN”. Yes, I have celebrated with many. I love the long talks I have with students, deciding on potential essay topics, listening to stories of their lives and walking through unfamiliar self-reflective writing. Visiting colleges all over the world and chatting with students and faculty is beyond stimulating. However, there was something intangible about starting a business. I had no idea that my efforts would be successful and there was nothing I could prove. I trusted myself and my life comrades gave me necessary support.

I would sit up until the wee hours learning what I could, rarely tiring and hungry enough to keep taking steps forward. I wasn’t sure if my business ideas would work but I kept going. I became more and more passionate about the subject. I printed cards and materials and set out locally to advertise my services. The slow process of gathering families was tedious and building my reputation would take time and persistence. Although impatient and with no long-range business plan, I saw the need for college consultants, which drove me even more. My determination became insurmountable and that’s what it took.

Ten years ago, Social Media was at its infancy and my Internet activity was basically emails and news. Then, with a good friend, I built a website. I began to notice the sponsored ads Google provided and wanted to get on the playing field. I called Google and with clear explanation began my Adword account. I was willing to learn as much as I could as I saw a way to reach the world. Keywords, remarketing, conversions and ad groups became part of my vocabulary. Inquiries started coming in from everywhere. I needed to expand.

I went on to hire experts in their field, wrote articles for numerous publications,
spoke at events and began to love the relationships I developed with my students.

Deciding to start a business at this stage of my life was a big decision. Was I ready to commit to long hours and stressed families waiting for admission decisions? I asked myself lots of questions and the answers came back yes! I’m an active, energetic person with the willingness to work hard. I knew I wanted to do something creative that would also benefit others and wanted to interact with intelligent people who were as driven as me. Fifty was a turning point and although never bored, I wanted more enrichment in my later years. When I did begin, I had no idea where this ride would take me. Reinventing myself was something I wanted regardless of the risks, work and responsibility. I kept moving forward, feeling inspired to develop new solutions, search for opportunities and the desire to try and stay ahead of tomorrow.


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