Planning for our children’s post-high school education is both an exciting and daunting task. As parents, we understand the magnitude of the approaching college decision. Valid questions fill our minds and hearts such as: Will our child pick a good school? Will we be able to afford it? Will our child graduate? Will our child be admitted? Will our child be happy with the chosen major? These are just a few of the concerns we have regarding our child’s college decision.
To have the best results, we as parents must master the two major components of preparing for college.
The imperative of our time with regards to preparing for college is this: Parents! Guide your children towards college success! Do not leave it up to the Middle and High Schools or so so-called college advisor or coach. Understand this: as parents, you are in the best position to assist your children in this venture. As parents, only you and your children will be the ones who will have to pay the bills – not the school’s counselors or a “college coach”.
There are many steps to this process, and the process will vary from child to child. Three vitally important aspects to remember are: 1) Make sure the college decision is focused on career satisfaction. This deals with the principal of “Start with the End in Mind”. How easy it is for our children to get an idea in their head for a time and then loose interest! This process takes time; often a steady hand over 5 or 6 years will give better results than simply “taking an aptitude test”.
This leads us to the second aspect: 2) Start the preparation process early – seventh or eighth grade. The time required and intensity will vary from child to child, especially in the earlier years of preparation. This process must be done in an “age-appropriate, child-appropriate” way. If one doesn’t start soon enough, then you may be hoping that the “college preparation lightning bolt” miraculous strikes your child and give him/her all the insights and financial means to make a quality, balanced college decision.
Given that the odds of the “college preparation lightning bolt” hitting your child are slim, the third aspect to guiding your children towards college success is: 3) Have the tools necessary to accomplish this task together. The tools bring you and your children together in a focused way to maximize the use of your time, energy and resources.
The second component is to make sure that college is affordable. Despite the $1.4 trillion-dollar student loan reality, this aspect just doesn’t seem to sink-in to parents and their children in the college preparation process. For families who have the financial means to pay for college out-of-pocket, most end up paying substantial more than what they really need to. Affording college is a family-by-family decision. Courses to Save TIme, Money & Nerves!Nonetheless, for each family college must be affordable. Students drop out of college most often because of financial considerations. In other words, they (or their parents) do not perceive the return on investment on their educational dollars.
The unavoidable reality is that parents are the ones who must be “in-charge” of the college preparation process. It may not be the most exciting or sexist activity to be engaged in; but at the end of the day, it will come down to you and your child(ren) making the best college decision possible. This decision will only be of excellent value when the preparation was done in a superb way!
Hi and Welcome to the Parents Planning 4 College Family! 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!