We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.
Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)
Think back to your parents’ generation. Life was much simpler. They probably attending high school in the 1950’s or 1960’s. The world seemed much smaller – they graduated high school, married their prom date, and started a family and career in the same town. A small minority of graduates went off to college – most simply entered the military or started their careers.
Nowadays, college isn’t so much an option as an expectation. It is believed that if you are to be successful, you must have a college degree, and, in some cases, a graduate degree. But is college all it’s cracked up to be? Why is college so important? Can a person be successful in life without it?
It has researched for generations that those who attend college earn more money than their non-college educated counterparts. The lifetime earnings of college graduate continue to exceed (often double or triple) that of a high school only graduate. When considering college, parents and students must also consider the return on investment of college expenses. Student debt can be financially crippling is not something that cannot be overlooked. Generally, when students find the career path that has longevity they you shouldn’t have a difficult time paying off the remaining educational expenses in a reasonable time. This becomes even easier when families and students make college decisions with affordability in mind.
College offers a unique experience that allows a student to grow as a person – academically, socially, spiritually, and culturally. This time of self-exploration will help your teenager discover who they are apart from their family and the culture or mindset of the town they grew up in. A student must be challenged educationally and emotionally to see what matters most and for what they stand. This is another terrific “plus” for attending college.
Most commonly, people note that job offerings are more diverse and have potential for growth when a student has earned a college degree. These 4 years teach not only the skills specific to a degree, they also teach the ability to problem solve, analyze, asses, and written and verbal communication skills that can be utilized in a myriad of job placements. Can a motivated person graduate high school and move up the “corporate ladder” purely on grit and motivation? Possibly, but those opportunities are far and few between.
While college is not mandatory for anyone, it is an experience that will have positive pay-off for years to come. You know that the world is made up of many different paths to a flourishing life. If their pathway does not require a formal college degree - careers like an electrician, plumber, construction worker, or mechanic, along with many other options - they will still be required to complete some level of training courses and most likely an apprenticeship to find success in that line of work.
Start your planning now!
Start discussing college visits and planning with your teenager – let them know that you are there to help, have a plan, and are excited about their future. You don’t have to book trips and plan out their future today…but consider sharing with them a plan to visit a few local colleges or universities this summer. You can also look at the upcoming year’s calendar and identify a few long weekend visits too. Reassure them that you are there to help and guide them as they may some really important decisions.
What does your "future sophomore's" class schedule look like? Be sure to help them pick the classes that are best for next year and the years after! Make sure to ask yourself (or your teenager or their counselor) what options they’ll have in 11th and 12th grade based on this proposed schedule for next year.
Is your student taking an Advanced Placement class this school year? Talk to their counselor about signing up for the AP test - it's a great opportunity to earn inexpensive college credit.
Know a school that could use some college readiness support?
We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning. Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students. Learn more by clicking here.