College admissions officers are making up their minds and then it will be time for teens and their parents to make up theirs.
When the acceptances come in, which college do you choose from the ones who have accepted you?
My forthcoming book explains the 'why's' behind these ‘rules’ for choosing the ‘best’ college. But as decisions this Spring will be out before my book is released, I felt ethically compelled to give some tips. Parents and teens are basing college choice on 20- or 50-year old college admissions and college selection truths that are just not valid anymore. Contrary to what most believe, college outcomes are poor regardless of the student’s demongraphic. Choose wisely.
For the next few weeks, look for new tips. Many you will not want to hear. My forthcoming book will provide complex information about changes to make for better college outcomes. But, until then, I wanted you to have 'best' advice for your consideration.
High Ranking vs. Cost
Does high ranking justify any cost?
"How can I possibly turn it down the elite college even if it costs $68K a year?"...how can a college costing $6K a year with scholarships be worth anything.
At the graduate level, the prestige college best in your field is your goal. At the Bachelors level, the place you can afford is the priority.
The material covered at the bachelor's level is similar or identical at this basic level whatever college you choose. Save the money for the future.
I'll figure out what I want to do in college....NO!!!!
College is the worst place to find oneself and one’s career--unless one has unlimited money for college, money for bachelors-level college taking 5-8 years, time unemployed after college and then graduate school.
Those who learn with passion are driven to overcome setbacks, are driven to be experts, will spend hours learning. A music major who is passionate can earn more than a nuclear engineer who hates their work. Passion equates to high earnings.
Follow the planning here and in the upcoming book to make an individualized college plan for your student.
Learning is different than school. And to be successful, learning is for a purpose. Don't pay all that money if the teen isn't passionate about studying something. He or she can change his or her mind. But there needs to be a passion for inquery. And the student must want to learn and not just get A's on tests. Learning usually involves failure but don't make it failures from no mature worldview wedded to no self-knowledge.
On average, students change majors 7-11 times, resulting in a four-year degree taking five - eight years. Did you, the parent, save for eight years of tuition for a four-year degree.
If your teen is not ready for college, isn't it better that he or she plays video games in the basement for a year, than, stressed, reverts to hours of video games in college. This is 'a thing,' kids turn to game addiction or similar when college gets overwhelming.
Teens who take a Gap Year finish college faster and better, even if they do nothing for that year. And over 94% who take the Gap Year head to college willingly the next year. Many of the other 6% actively doing something worthwhile.
The student should not have been forced to being some 'ideal' other student that doesn't exist. Burn out to be someone you are not to become someone you hate doing a job you have no interest in should send up red flags.
Accept the college place and then defer and take time to decompress and get inspired to 'learn with a purpose.' Burn out is real especially when the student's goals are not his or her own.
Your teen's uniqueness is what will be his or her top earning, top success asset. Often we try to make our teens into 'the ideal candidate that no college could turn down.' He or she probably has it within him or her and doesn't need to become or go through the checklist to be a different 'ideal.' Standards of excellence were already being re-written before Covid, and more so now. New ways to establish excellence that colleges and employers want. College choice advisor planning.
Any Degree No longer guarantees a top job
Any college degree used to guarantee a good paying job for life. It doesn't anymore. The student must learn certain knowledge and skills and demonstrate he or she can actually do the job to get hired. This is the Technology Age. There are many pathways to high-paying careers in growth fields.
College is Not a fancy Sleep Away Camp
Unless the family has unlimited funds, college is not a place to mature, like it used to be. And it is now too expensive to just go to college for four to eight years to grow up and get interested in something.
(Thanks to Pali Adventure Camp for the photo. Pali lets kids find passions. An amazing place. What you want in a camp. But camp is not what you want for college.)
Learning is the Goal
Any degree won't guarantee a top job for life anymore. It is not okay to barely slide through college, the goal to be away from home, to make friends, to party, without developing a passion and expertise. The days are gone when any degree could lead to a great-paying management job. No longer.
College is to learn. Parties, lazy rivers, courses on yachts, valet room service are great but college should be more.
When Perfect Student means Average Student
Doing the standard high school college prep program, checking all the boxes--a sport, an instrument, community service, club, debate or subject competitor, leadership role, 4.4 GPA, 3-15 AP's and honors courses...
That's pretty impressive but as courses become taught-to-the-test and less for learning, and activities done to check a box not from interest, the student can be weaker than appears.
What would get your teen to want to read those books
Passion will bring success. Would your teen who hates math or is fed up with years of math, really tackle Accountancy books because it is a good career. Or persevere with engineering when there is no interest aside from that is a hgh paying career.
Those careers pay well unless the person hates the job.
Half of any profession earn below the median, they don't all earn the top salary.
The high earners are those who are passionate about the job.
Most expensive doesn't equate to best outcomes
The most expensive colleges used to mean better libraries, better professors, better facilities. Before the internet. Before college was available to most students--who went on to become great professors.
Expensive doesn't mean better at the Bachelor's level!!!!!
Now. elite colleges and community college often use the same textbooks and exams. The cc student may be taught by an experienced retired full professor. The elite student will not be taught 100 level or even 400 level courses by the Nobel winning professor. Expensive at the bachelor's level does not mean guaranteed value for the extra cost.