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Parents Guide to College Planning

Current College Guide Failure

Every parent dreams of creating a viable path for a successful post high-school education experience for each of their children.  College planning is complex and difficult. This is attested to by the often crushing student debt families experience, the dismal college graduation rates and of course, the disenchanted college graduate. A parent’s guide to college planning is one of the most dynamic and fascinating scripts that each parent needs to write with and for each of their children respectively.

Guide as To-Do List

Most parents envision a guide to college planning to be like a handbook.  There are different chapters for each grade. Each chapter has a “to-do list”. When their child arrives as a senior, the list is practically completed and college success should await them. This is the typical approach provided by high schools. At one level, Continue reading

Free Money for College Students

Free Money for College comes at a Price

College-bound students and their families are confronted with the high cost of a post high-school education. Many want to find the so-called “free money”.  In this article, I want to briefly point out the “cost” to obtaining free money for college students.

The Cost of Grant Funding

Grants are a common type of free money for college students. To be considered for grants, either at the Federal or the Institutional level, a household must demonstrate financial need. This de facto means Continue reading

Kids Going to College

“Call-to-Action” for College Preparation

Most parents want their children to benefit from a post-high school education, i.e. college.  As parents, we want our kids to be “prepared for college”. Yet we know that less than 60% of students attending four-year colleges graduate within six years. Less than 30% attending two-college colleges obtain either an associate’s degree or a certificate within three years.  In addition, we observe many households burdened with unexpectedly high amounts of student debt. And of those that who do graduate, we know many disgruntled college grads. Obviously, college preparation isn’t working too well for many families. These results are a call-to-action for parents with kids in middle and high school.

Middle / High Schools assume College Preparation Responsibility

Last week I spoke with a mom whose freshman son attends a local high school. She shared that her son had already visited three colleges via the school. I found that a bit hard to believe. We both agreed – my goodness – isn’t this a bit over-the-top?
Many local schools have created the appearance of being a “college preparation school”. Parents are led to believeContinue reading

Our Kids did it all wrong

Three Kids – 17 Years of College and Counting

Earlier this week I talked with a long-time friend and dad whose three kids are now in their mid-to-upper 20’s. All three attended four-year colleges. The oldest studied environmental science and ended up on the seven-year college track to become a middle school teacher. The middle one took a circular path towards computer science; fortunately he is now gainfully employed and enjoys what he does. And the youngest, now 25, is going back to school, having figured out what he might want to do. All totaled, they have a combined 17 years of post-high school education between them and more on the way. In the discussion I can hear their dad repeatedly say: “They have crushing student debt. Our kids did it all wrong.”

What the Parents were doing

As far as the parents are concerned, it is not as if they were absent or not involved, not informed. Their dad has a master’s degree and their mom is an elementary school teacher. They did all the typical parental guidance stuff that one finds most parents doing. Great parents in many ways; but still, when it came to helping their children towards college success, what were they really doing? And now we have to ask: what were they really expecting?

Misplaced Parental Self-Forgiveness

So how can a parents say: “our kids did it all wrong”? Having known them Continue reading