Welcome to the College Prep Confidential Podcast
Sept. 16, 2019

CPC Episode #20 - Desperation Is The World's Worst Cologne

This episode is dedicated to giving you negotiation power with tips like: Why you should treat college choices like dating and jobs The 7 letter word which guarantees you more financial aid Do this one thing if you like giving away all your power How...

This episode is dedicated to giving you negotiation power with tips like:

  • Why you should treat college choices like dating and jobs
  • The 7 letter word which guarantees you more financial aid
  • Do this one thing if you like giving away all your power
  • How to flip a coin where you win with Heads or Tails
  • The 3 positions in any negotiation, and which one you should always strive for

It's 2:39 A.M.

I'm laying in a puddle of my own drool.

I'm half awake in a daze, I can't tell whether I'm dreaming or not.

I hear my 11 month old son shrieking. 

Usually, when he cries, my wife or I find a way to make him stop crying.

Not this time.

He's belting out a pure, guttural cry... enough to melt the paint on the walls.

I'm worried the neighbors might call the cops.

I roll over in a stupor, and I see my wife visibly frustrated. 

She tells me she's nursed him twice.

Yet He won't... stop... crying. And he won't go to sleep.

So I stagger to my feet.

And I go to my crying baby playbook to try and help.

  • I tried the Pacifier. Fail.
  • Chewable Puffs. Nope.
  • Singing. Try again.
  • Take him in the cool, dark, quiet basement. Denied.
  • I Give him a toy. He threw it across the room!

At this point, I'm desperate. My son's cries continue at full blast, like vuvuzela's at the World Cup.

Not once in 11 months since my son was born, has the entire baby crying playbook failed.

So at this point, I'm in a bad spot, out of options.

I'm at a loss for what to do.  [PAUSE]

In a strange moment of desperation, I decide to walk outside. I still don't know why.

Maybe it was because the temperature outside is a cool 64 degrees.

Maybe it was the fresh air.

At this point, I got nothing to lose.

As I swing open the door, I hear my arch nemesis, the cicadas whirring around.

I'm told cicadas only visit once every 7 years.

For me, it feels like they visit every year. The whirring sound during the day drives me nuts.

But I'm desperate, and beggars can't be choosers.

As I open the door, I notice the cicadas have settled into a quiet hum.

As I walk outside with my screaming 11 month old son in the cool Illinois night, something unexpected happens..

My son instantly jerks his head to the treetops in the direction of the cicada symphony.

And he stops crying.

He's mesmerized... 

No crying, no fussing, no complaints. 

He relaxes in my arms.

His breathing slows down.

I'm speechless, so I go with it. I walk him around the backyard for 15 minutes. He starts to get weary eyed, so I bring him to the house, give him his pacifier, and he crashes.

I smile wearily, still in awe of what happened.

Saved by my arch enemy, the cicada.

And it got me thinking...

My God, it's nice to have options.

Instead of being locked into limited choices.

Instead of feeling desperation, because you have no other options...

There's an old saying...

Desperation is the World's Worst Cologne

I talked about this a bit in Episode 1 of this podcast.

I can think of a few things in life where you don't want to be locked in to a single decision right away...

  • Relationships
  • Jobs
  • College Prep

I'm hearing a lot of yammering about early decision. The old, "when you know, you know." It's my dream college. Early applying "locks me in."

Yeahhhhhh, except that it doesn't.

If you dig deeper you'll see early applying isn't all flowers and unicorns.

Drawbacks of early admission

Can't apply anywhere else

If you get an offer, you have to take it. Butttt, they can still reject you. Doesn't sound too fair to me.

What about rejection? You take a risk, commit early, and if they turn you down, you lost alllllll that time when you could have applied to other colleges. 

Something may change about the college from the time you commit to the time you'd be accepted. Examples include scandal, policy changes, or general changes. The college you knew 4-6 months ago might not be the same college tomorrow.

Cannot negotiate and play offers against each other. Remember what I said in prior episodes.

Early decision puts all the power in the college's hands. You must wait, and see. And just like the job market, waiting and seeing is a recipe for disaster. Why give away all your power?

The downfall of taking what's first

Think about it, would you commit to marry the first person you dated?

What if you did? And you got married quickly, without knowing all you need to know about the other person. And then one day you woke up, and found out the person you married was nothing like who they were when you first met them.

What about a job? would you take the first job offered?

If you did, you'd lose out on other opportunities. You'd lose out on counter-offers.

when it comes to college, dating, and jobs, I swear by a 7 letter word which will grant you power in life... OPTIONS.

Always have options. Let me share some advice I gave a younger employee regarding options. I've also covered this on Quora:

Number 1 rule in this game of jobs... Always. Have. Options.

  • You're more attractive as a candidate when you have options.
  • You're more relaxed when you have options.
  • You don't reek of desperation when you have options.

Having options immediately raises your value in the marketplace. And it raises the buying temperature of the people pursuing you.

You give off a different vibe with options.

Employers can see it. Colleagues can see it. The entire market can see it.

With options, you call the shots. You're not beholden to anybody wasting your time nor jerking you around.

Options makes you outcome independent. Heads you win, Tails You Win. 

Imagine if you had 2 companies pursuing you. And they both want you, bad. And they both know about each other. So B decides to offer you another $10,000 in salary. Now, 1 of 2 things will happen:

  1. Company A raises their rate to match the $10,000
  2. Company A raises their rate to go above the $10,000
  3. Company A does nothing

Under all 3 scenarios, you win.

At a minimum under Scenario 1 and Scenario 3, you get a $10,000 increase. Scenario 2, you get even more. And if you get a Scenario 1, you may even be able to go back and let both companies know about the new level. One of them may re-raise their offer to be the highest bidder.

The same thing works with college financial aid. OPTIONS.

Options gives you control. And human beings love when they're in control.

Options – the ability to choose – is real power. - Tim Ferris

There's an old saying among negotiators... Negotiate from a position of strength.

Think about it, in any negotiation between 2 parties, you can be in a position of weakness, a position of even strength, or a position of power.

Why wouldn't you want to rig the game in your favor, and be in a power position?

Having options is like playing poker with 4 Aces. 

I covered this briefly in a few of the prior episodes. But it's worth diving into in detail here. Colleges compete. And the only thing worse then them losing a high value candidate is losing them to the competition.

So make sure one of your options is a competitor of your first choice college. And when the discussion comes up about financial aid, mention the competitor. This is another advantage of not taking early decision. You leave yourself open.

Just like free agents in sports, explore the field. Even if you have a dream college in mind, and you love everything about them, take some time to get at least 1 more offer. 

Call To Action:

You may be wondering...what other ways can I get more options for college prep?

And the answer is, get help from people who know the inner workings of the college prep process. 

If you don't want to be locked in to any decision until you get what you deserve, then why not get the help of people "in the know." I want to help, so here's what I got for you today. For podcast listeners only, I've reserved a college prep strategy session worth $250, free of charge. And what you'll get in this session is a complete walkthrough of your needs, and some tips for how you can succeed in college prep. 

Why am I doing this?

Because college prep takes a large amount of work. And for those not in the know, it's overwhelming. So if you find value out of this free strategy session, you may choose to work with my team for a complete, done for you college prep package. But if not, you'll still walk away with some valuable tips for navigating the college prep maze.

To get started, call 800-234-2933. That's 800-234-2933. And leave your contact information with my assistant. What happens next is, we'll get you booked for your free, college prep strategy session worth $250. One more time, that number is 800-234-2933. A word of warning: We have a limited number of free sessions, they fill up fast. So be sure to book yours right after hearing this episode.