COVID-19 has changed almost everything in people’s lives – from working to grocery shopping to seeing loved ones.

But for families with teenagers thinking about college, Your Teen Media has devised a virtual eight-week program starting March 9, where speakers from across the country will help guide parents through the college transition.

Susan Borison, Your Teen Media founder, co-publisher and editor-in-chief, said Destination College was created to combat a longtime struggle for parents when it comes to knowing when they should take a deep dive into a college procedure versus letting their college-bound child take the lead. Add on the pandemic, and what was already a complicated process for families became even more difficult.

“In a world where people are so uncertain with COVID in terms of what college admissions looks like, parents are going to be blown away by the amount of comforting, valuable information that not only will give them practical tips and tools on how to move along this whole process, but will also provide emotional strength, power and perspective,” Borison, who works from her home in Beachwood, told the CJN. “Our intent is to really take parents’ anxiety down from where it is right now, and I’m confident that with these (speakers) we have that we’ll get there.”

At 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday through April 27, one or two panelists will break down a topic and provide advice.

The program features 15 panel experts who will cover topics ranging from the college search process, ACTs/SATs, finances to the application process. Panelists include:

• Akil Bello, senior director of advocacy and advancement at FairTest and founder of Bell Curves

• Tiffany Blessing, principal college admissions counselor at IvyWise

• Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost for enrollment management and marketing at Oregon State University

• Nancy Dunn, college access adviser at College Now Greater Cleveland

• Kedra Ishop, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Southern California

• Emily Levitt, vice president of education at Sylvan Learning

• Jeff Levy, co-founder of Big J Educational Consulting

• Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author

• Wendy Mogel, clinical psychologist, New York Times best selling author and international public speaker

• Sydney Montgomery, founder of S. Montgomery Admissions Consulting

• Ethan Sawyer, a nationally recognized college essay expert and Amazon bestselling author

• Jeff Selingo, New York Times bestselling author and higher education strategist

• Nat Smitobol, master college admissions counselor at IvyWise

• Allison Slater Tate, director of college counseling for Lake Mary Preparatory School in Lake Mary, Fla., and college consultant for Dunbar Educational Consultants

• Belinda J. Wilkerson, founder of Steps to the Future and vice president of ethics and professional practices for the Independent Educational Consultants Association

Three bonus sessions will address FAFSA, gap years and college process experiences from parents. Bonus speakers include:

• Carla Y. Emanuele, co-chair of the DEIA committee with the Gap Year Association

• Oona Hanson, parenting coach and educator

• Cyndy McDonald, founder of Higher Educational Consultants Association and a teacher at the UCLA college counseling certificate program

• Julia Rogers, founder of EnRoute Consulting

Borison encouraged parents of high school sophomores or juniors to attend, but she said parents with high school seniors taking gap years or young teenagers are more than welcome to register as well.

“We are going to deliver information in a way that feels like parents are a part of an experience with other people,” she said. “They are going to get to know the experts, be a part of a conversation and their personal questions will be answered. It’s just a unique opportunity.”

The program costs $49, and parents can register, receive additional information and find a schedule of speakers online at bit.ly/3r8DRAP.

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