October 20, 2020
Is Community College a good option after high school?
You're going to hate me for this answer, but it is, in fact, "Yes and no."
- For students who are borderline academically qualified for college-level academics. The academic rigor of college is harder than of high school. Most four-year colleges demand more academically than most community colleges.
- For students who desire expressly to earn a technical certification and enter the job market from there. No one should consider that choice as lesser than attending a four-year college. It is simply a different choice. Every adult knows, once in the work force, job performance determines career advancement.
- For families who think it will save them money. If any money is saved, and that is a proposition easily challenged from the data, the amount saved is modest compared to what is missed.
- For students who think a community college will help them figure out what they want to major in, and what career they want to pursue (with the exception of a technical certification, as mentioned).
The original question (Is community college a good option?) reveals an underlying issue that parents and students should address. Why go to college?
- To find direction for life as an adult? At $25,000 per year (or more) those are expensive directions. Instead, consider getting a job and learning what it takes to earn $25,000 in a year. Enlist for military service and be trained in a career-quality skill, mature as a young adult and, upon completion of active duty feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Because that's what others are doing? That is seldom, if ever, a good reason for doing anything. To reiterate, get a job instead. Find out how hard your parents work to provide for your family. Save most of the money for college. Pay taxes. That's an education, too.
June 22, 2020
Colleges will trim and revise financial aid offers for the next few years. High school Class of 2020 and 2021 will be the first to feel the impact.
Those statements are, admittedly, my own reckoning. I have no insider information. What I have is the ability to add 2+2+2 and come up with 6 as my answer.
- The ongoing corona-virus precautions are generating new expenses (sanitizing alone!).
- The onset of the pandemic wreaked financial havoc -- the closing of campuses.
- The tanking of our economy is pressuring everyone -- citizen and university alike.
- Every college in America is anticipating reduced enrollments and, consequently, reduced revenue.
- Looking to the U.S. Treasury for bailouts? Get in line, right?
Enough. You get my point and, I feel confident, understand the conclusions that present themselves. To parents and students anticipating college matriculation later this summer, 2020 --
- Read again, and thoroughly, the agreements and contracts you and/or your student signed for financial aid awards. The colleges have language in there that is a backdoor for them. Understand what your rights are under the terms of the agreements, and what the college's prerogatives are.
- Anticipate reductions in "scholarships" and other grants-in-aid (non-federal). Reductions in financial aid grants may not come this fall. You may see them Winter Term; and definitely anticipate revised financial aid offers for the 2021-2022 academic year. Revised -- what I mean is, you may not be proffered the same amount of financial aid for 2021-2022 as you received 2020-2021.
Financial aid appeals will, I predict, flood college offices in the spring of 2021. Staff will be overwhelmed and will grab the "Denied" stamp reflexively. Any deviation from excellence in academics, or personal conduct will be all of the justification needed.
- Now more than ever, devote yourself to academic pursuits. You do not need to make straight A's. Don't put that kind of pressure on yourself. You must, however, demonstrate maturity, along with focus and commitment to academic achievement.
- Do NOT "cut" any college classes (i.e. skip school). Less-than-100% attendance will be a first consideration (my prediction) for modifying financial aid awards. If you miss because of illness, follow carefully the requirements to be excused. Read your student handbook.
- On the same track do NOT veer astray of standards of conduct, honor codes, campus security, etc. Stay away from alcohol, marijuana, non-prescription drugs, and whatever else your peers are indulging. Violation of codes of conduct will result in revised financial aid awards.
- Do NOT spend any cash deposited to your student account on personal-pleasure trips, non-academic gadgets, etc. Food, shelter, clothing and academic supplies only! Save those dollars to offset any reduced financial aid realities in your sophomore year, and so on. A school audit of your use of financial aid is not out of the question.
Hang on tight, my friends. The decade of the 20's promises to be a wild ride.
April 24, 2017
Complete College America's
white paper The Four Year Myth
proposes its solution to the problem of college students taking 5, or 6, or more years to complete an undergraduate degree. CCA calls it "Guided Pathways to Success" (pp. 14-19).
Their's is an impressive solution to a problem that must be solved; and the sooner the better. However, CCA's solution is systemic. It requires system-wide changes in states, universities and colleges.
That will be nice . . . when it happens. In the meantime, you've got a kid in high school. What can be done for your
It would take a book to detail everything Succeed Where It Counts
does (and such a book is in the publisher's hands, right now). But even through a book, it is an impossible challenge to address every variable. Your student is a unique human being. Your student deserves a tailored fit. Your financial future also benefits.
In outline form, here's what SWIC
addresses with each family:
- AFFORDABILITY: what is a realistic budget, annually, for you to pay for college? Components include ways to reduce spending, student employment, and dollars currently being transferred away unknowingly and unnecessarily that can be recouped.
- INDIVIDUAL ASSESSMENT: we use the Birkman Career Assessment to help every student begin to visualize what a career might look like.
- CAREER COURSE-SETTING: we use Candid Career, job-shadowing and other opportunities to help a student capture a clear and accurate picture of what a particular career involves on a day-to-day basis.
- ACADEMIC RIGOR: we encourage students to evaluate their own ability to do college level work, and to compete in rigorous, academic environments. Their high school transcripts are a key indicator.
- COLLEGE SELECTION: we lead students through a process of narrowing down, from many dozens to a manageable group of a dozen or so colleges, for finer scrutiny.
- CAMPUS VISITS: are essential, time consuming and costly ( parents' PTO, travel, overnight lodging, food). That process begins online, and on the telephone to minimize costs.
- FINANCIAL AID: (free+self-help+loans) we work with parents and develop their plan. It sets parameters for what may be possible for scholarships and grants-in-aid ("free" money) from the colleges; for students' employment during college (self-help); and for the Direct Student Loan program. We discourage borrowing by either student or parents beyond the Direct Student Loan limits.
- CONSUMER PURCHASE: (value + price) at the end of it all, the decision is a family choice and a personal choice. The least expensive is not always the best, and the best is not always the most expensive. College is a consumer purchase. That means price and value are factors to weigh when making the decision.
Contact Suceed Where It Counts
today for a no-cost and no-obligation consultation. Click on the "Home" tab, and then on the red button at the upper right corner of the Home page.