In every family there comes a time when the child needs to decide which college (post-high school path) to attend. This “college decision” does not take place in a vacuum. The place where this decision is most often made is “around the kitchen table”. At that time, there are no school counselors available. There are no “college-coaches” around. The recruiters from the colleges are absent as well. This decision is made by the student and their parents. It will be based primarily on two factors Their College Acceptance Letters along with the available financial means.
The quality of the college decision varies from household to household. The current statistics show that the quality is not too good. Roughly 40% of students starting at a four-year college will leave that college without a degree within their first six year. At two years colleges, about two-thirds do not earn an associate’s degree or a certificate within the first three years of studies. I often think parents feel these statistics are “far away” – they happen to other parents. But in reality, they are in many cases, our own children. In short, parents should not be surprised if one of their children does not achieve reasonable college success. These statistics reflect the poor quality of the college decision. And this mediocre quality is due most often to inadequate college preparation. As parents, this is heart-wrenching experience. Our path for our kids is obviously going to have to take a different path than the one we had hoped for.
We (parents) are all extremely busy. Despite the fact that we know college preparation is a big deal, we tend to let it slide down the priority list. For most of us, it is not the most exciting thing in the world – and we really don’t know how to do it.
As a result, we tend to turn over the responsibility to the schools. We tell ourselves comforting stories like: the guidance counselors will take care of this; the schools will do a personality assessment and this will show our kids what they should study; we’ll send our kids to a test preparation course and that will do it; or, we simply say we cannot afford the cost of a college education and our children will simply attend a local community college. In these and many other “stories”, we tend to shift the responsibility of getting fully engaged to others.
Let’s ask ourselves: How well do the guidance counselors know your children? In many cases, the kids don’t even know their counselors’ name! Here is the “Pre-college Disconnect”: although parents want to (and need to) help their children prepare for college, parents tend Learn How to Guide your Children towards College Success!
The counselors and college-coaches are resources, and at the end of the day, they do not bear responsibility for the quality of the college decision. In the pre-college process, the most important support people for our children are their parents. Day in and day out, these are the ones who know what the students aspire to and shy away from. Parents understand the challenges of each of their children better than anyone else. They comprehend the potential that their children possess. The ones who must live with this decision are the students, their parents and college-of-choice.
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For years we have been helping families tackle their unique college preparation challenges. We can help reduce your stress and make better quality decisions – and save you a lot of money!