Prepare for the 2014-15 school year this summer

Prepare for the 2014-15 School Year


Summer is upon us and many families are evaluating the previous school year and/or planning ahead for 2014-15. Start Early: College & Career Planning Service offers an early intervention that can enable students to have options after graduation. Clients represent grades 6-12, and high school graduates seeking an undergraduate education.

As a college and career planning professional since 1982, I bring my clients a wealth of knowledge in academic achievement, college preparation, scholarship information, career exploration/planning, parental support, and high school and college transition, as a few of my consulting services. My clients are traditional, first-generation, athletes,  diverse college-bound students, and students with learning differences.

Interested families can contact me via email at, or by calling 301-924-7027. You are encouraged to visit my website at to view a summary of my services. Summer is an excellent time to prepare for the next school year, as well as “life after high school.”


Marjorie A. Goode, M.Ed.  - Educational Consultant


Athletics: Keep it in proper perspective

It’s that time of year when aspiring basketball athletes, young and old, get that itch and start dreaming about professional basketball.  Some call it an itch; others refer to it as a fantasy.

The bug actually bites in March during the annual obsession of NCAA basketball tournaments.  Remember the three weeks of continuous games that culminates the first week of April?  When we think we have a break, the NBA regular season ends and it’s back to the races.  Another month or so of professional basketball ends in mid-June, if we’re lucky.

There’s no more basketball until November, or is there?  Summer always brings “pick-up” games, recreational leagues, and camps, but one highly anticipated event is the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union)/  program for boys, which will be showcased in Louisville, Kentucky next month.  All the “wanna-bees” and talented gents will be there to demonstrate their athletic skills with hopes they get a special invitation to the Gold Super Showcase, and maybe more in 3-5 years.

July 2009, by coincidence, I had a client and nephew both vying for the attention and respect of the represented coaches in Las Vegas.  My husband and I were both there for professional reasons and it was humorous that the cab driver thought we were parents of an AAU participant.  Probably because our hotel was near UNLV, he assumed incorrectly; however, when I visited the campus days later, the hoopla of AAU was gone.  Mixed emotions about the experience were expressed by my client; didn’t get feedback from my nephew.

The concern with AAU programs and “prep schools” is the vulnerability of some of the high school students and parents who get caught in the fantasy of dreams that will not be fulfilled.  Yes, we all dream of endless possibilities, but at what point do we “wake-up” and realize that our expectations might jeopardize our well-being.  And to what expense should one follow these dreams?

The Chronicle of Higher Education featured an article, “Basketball Academy’s Empty Promises,” March 30, 2014. (  Kingdom Prep Academy in Des Moines, Iowa was the program of controversy and many families were disappointed about the education and basketball programs their sons did not receive, as promised.  Many academies claim to help academically challenged athletes fulfill their high school graduation requirements or improve their marketability for college, by offering support with admission test prep, educational achievement, and related criteria.  Some students at Kingdom Prep realized and regretted their mistake; they left their home and school and traveled far for unfulfilled goals.

Several years ago, I remember as a school counselor that NCAA issued a warning about some of the “prep schools” and noted the concept lacked supervision.  I shared the information with my student athletes and several of the varsity coaches.

Personally, NCAA’s intervention was a welcomed relief; considering, I had a basketball athlete, in the late 80′s, stop by my office to tell me his prep school wanted me “to clean up his transcript.”  My reply was, “And exactly what does that mean?”  He explained, as he had been instructed; he had to inform the prep school, “it wasn’t going to happen.”

One of my favorite cliché’s, keep it in proper perspective, best describes the developmental path of college and professional basketball for aspiring athletes.  I also like, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Unfortunately, scams are universal and the master-minds know how to prey on the most vulnerable souls.  Basketball is fun to watch and play.  However, not every guy who spends a week at AAU or attends a basketball prep school will achieve the success of Michael Jordan or Lebron James; and that’s okay.


College Summit: #BeAGrad Twitter Chat

     Join me as I co-host @collegesummit’s #BeAGrad chat and share tips on making the most out of your Summer job/Internship!

TUESDAY, June 24, 2014

6:00-7:00PM  EST

@marjorie_goode  (host handle)




Marjorie A. Goode is a retired school counselor (30 years) and educational consultant, with a practice since 2006.  Her thirty-year school counseling career consisted of two years in a private school and twenty-eight years in Montgomery County Public Schools (MD). Start Early: College & Career Planning Service focuses on college and career planning for middle and high school students, and high school graduates seeking an undergraduate education, as well as being a supportive resource for parents.  Some of her consultation services include assistance with high school transition and academic management, college planning and postsecondary options, career awareness and planning, college recommendations for students with learning differences, parental guidance navigating the education process/school achievement and supportive roles, and preparation for postsecondary admissions requirements.  Since 2007, she has visited 180 college campuses.  Her clients are traditional, first-generation, athletes, and diverse college-bound students, as well as students with learning differences.


Mrs. Goode’s passion for assisting students with college and career goals has extended to speaking at teen and adult community forums, presenting professional development seminars at conferences, making guest appearances on radio and television programs, contributing to professional and family newsletters and magazines, serving as a consultant to the College Board, Columbia University, NIH, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and other agencies, and contributing as a college admissions expert for, UNIGO and other prep forums.  She is a member of several professional organizations.

Her educational credentials include a M.Ed. from Auburn University (AL) in mental health counseling, B.A. from Incarnate Word College (TX) in psychology, and College Counseling Certificate from UCLA Extension.  Her first career was in clinical and public health dental hygiene and she completed her studies at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN.



High school friendships can last forever

As the school year comes to an end, it also brings the pomp and circumstance of graduating high school seniors who are preparing to embark on their next journey.  The excitement of leaving the K-12 establishment and seeking the new frontier can trigger a potpourri of emotions. The long awaited rite of passage, freedom, may not be as dynamic as assumed.

When graduation arrives, ready or not, seniors must advance to their next milestone. The options of college, military, gap year, travel, and “discovering oneself” will be pursued within a matter of weeks or months. The urgency to graduate might be slightly tepid due to uncertainty about the future.  The enthusiasm of independence becomes faint as thoughts of leaving family and friends for new horizons produce panic attacks.  In the adult world we call this change, but it can be scary to the younger crowd.

As a curious school counselor, many years ago, I asked my seniors about their greatest fear; second to college rejection was losing contact with high school friends. Now you may be thinking, “Well there’s Facebook.”  True, however, Facebook was not a social media thirty years ago and not everyone uses it now.

I remember as a class sponsor chaperoning the senior banquet, April 1995; a three-hour boat ride on the Potomac River. It was obvious the students were having a wonderful time.  When the boat returned to the pier and the seniors were returning to the busses, I realized some were missing.  We found about twenty very emotional students, on the boat, who were afraid they would never see each other again and did not want to leave.  With some coaxing and counseling, the chaperones were able to ease their tension and help them feel more relieved about the future of their friendships.

Some graduates want a more personal relationship with their friends, not just a photo and verbal yakety-yak with embellishment.  They want to be able to laugh, cry, hug, and joke as they did as teens and reminisce about high school.

So high school graduates, perk up, friendships can last a long time.  It may take some effort to keep them active, since we are so busy, but it can happen.  It doesn’t hurt to take the leadership role, if necessary, to keep them alive.  Many career strategists advise using high school friendships as a networking connection.

Congratulations on your graduation and best wishes in your future endeavors!