On Friday I spoke to a tutor who assists high school students – typically juniors – that are preparing for the ACT / SAT exam. It became evident that she deals with many students who are afraid that their standardize test score will not be high enough for them to earn an acceptance letter. They are suffering from what I call “College Acceptance Angst”; they fear they will not be accepted to their favorite college. The kids are stressed out and the parents as well. At times, the tutor shared, she sees this fear already with kids who are only sophomores in high school.
Here are two tips for parents planning for college with regards to dealing with this anxiety:
Always keep in mind that there are many good colleges for your student. Focus not so much on getting in (the aspect of college access), but on college success – defined as: attending the most appropriate school, graduating in a reasonable amount of time, at the best value and ultimately doing something meaningful related to what was studied. This more differentiated view can be very helpful in creating a proper college selection perspective for your student.
Secondly, reconsider why your student is so stressed out. If the university requires more academically than your child normally achieves, perhaps it is not a good fit. For example: One can earn a degree in marketing from both UW Madison and UW Oshkosh. The academic rigor of attending Madison is, on a whole, more demanding. Both are good schools. Marketing may Continue reading
Most students (and many of their parents as well) haven’t thought through what they should be expecting from the college they will or are attending. They have not taken the time and effort to write down what they should receive in return for the checks they write and the loans they sign off on. In this regard, these households are, de facto, on what we call “pre-college and college auto-pilot”; they find themselves doing what everyone else is doing and will, in all probability, get the same, often dismal results. As we know, not having clear expectations equates into not having a standard. The “bar is very, very low”. Expectations set the standard. Successful planning for college requires having reasonable expectations.
Every student should be able to expect many things from a college; these are twoContinue reading
Understanding the magnitude of college planning during the pre-college years for our children can hardly be overstated. Most parents are able to make it clear to their children that they are expected to go to college. Even most high schools are able to get that point across – be it to an apprenticeship program, a technical college, or a traditional four-year college.
At this point of getting ready for college, many children find themselves with the inevitable task of picking a college – yet they often don’t get connected with a deeper purpose. The motivating factor appears to be more the “chance to get away from home” or “I’m going to go where my friends are going”.
Indeed, it is all good that our children are expected to “go to college”. Yet the buy-in Continue reading
We have observed hundreds of parents with students in Middle School and High School preparing for college. In short, do you know what is missing? Fun. Yes, a three letter emotionally filled word. Fun. The frustration with college planning seems to have taken much of the enjoyment out of these important years in our lives; it is like so many parents have lost all sense of excitement when it comes to planning for college.
One of the deeper roots of this is lack of understanding how the complex college system works and Continue reading