10: Coaching Students To College and Calling | Carol Ben-Davies


As summer ends, today’s conversation transitions into a talk about Life Calling in respect to college education and college experiences. There is so much that is not covered when people talk about preparing students for college, and a lack of insight for parents as well. Currently, my wife and I are going through the same process with our daughter Asia right now. We’re being helped by Carol Ben-Davies, founder of College Bound Determination, a higher education consulting firm that helps college-bound teens and their parents navigate the college journey by taking a strength-based approach.

What does calling look like for an adolescent? People say the college years are some of the best years in life, but that’s not always true. Carol describes the approach from a college-bound perspective. Not every student knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and this disconnect with Life Calling can be exacerbated by a lack of self-awareness. 

Parents may be well-meaning, but accidentally misdirect their adolescents to a career that doesn’t align with who the student is or what matches the student’s skills. Some students even complete school and still don’t know what they want or end up in jobs they don’t want. College experiences now sometimes lead to youth being disengaged in their jobs; this is why Carol believes that youth should be empowered to trust themselves. She recalls her observations that most students often have what they want to do, their Life Calling, already in them.

Carol believes that students need to be empowered to know that what’s in their heart of hearts, and where their gut is leading them is an okay decision. She encourages students to know personal strengths and weaknesses. It’s not so much about the weaknesses, since we all have strengths. Listen to Carol discuss the lack of self-refinement in navigating the college journey, avoiding common college pitfalls, and pursuing Life Calling over superficial labels.

Time stamps:

  • [00:20] - Carol Ben-Davies uses her experiences working with college students to help Gen-Z reach their full potential.
  • [02:47] - Carol recalls the moment that became the catalyst for her efforts in helping students.
  • [05:39] - Both students and parents are misguided about where to place the most focus when prepping for the college journey.
  • [07:13] - College experiences now sometimes lead to youth being disengaged in their jobs. Carol believes that youth should be empowered to trust themselves.
  • [09:29] - Carol gives a specific example of the shift a conversation and self-awareness can have in a student’s confidence.
  • [11:08] - What does it mean to take a strength-based approach?
  • [13:50] - Be more specific about highlighting what students naturally do well that they take for granted.
  • [16:09] - Most of the natural sense of calling among adolescents is not cultivated as it once was. What are Carol's thoughts on the topic?
  • [18:22] - Carol points out that students should be encouraged to investigate the topics that catch their interest.
  • [20:23] - Carol mentions the common college pitfalls that increase student drop-out rates.
  • [22:46] - Students should refine themselves at college, not to “find themselves”.
  • [25:40] - Do the tasks and plans, but don’t forget to foster the individual.
  • [28:22] - How did Carol know she wanted to work in higher education?
  • [30:33] - Carol explains how Life Calling can be the same across different roles and projects as people transition through their journey.
  • [33:16] - Carol talks about her personal background, and her thoughts on her experience as part of the African American community.
  • [34:49] - Carol talks about the impacts of race and freedom.
  • [36:31] - What advice does Carol have for people who want to live their Life Calling? Carol suggests that people study themselves.
  • [38:08] - Hear Carol speak about compassion fatigue, and also talks about how this ties back into her drive to contribute to social impact.  
  • [41:07] - Find the inspiration of how to encourage each other to follow through with Life Calling.


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