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 student?
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.
- 11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 4
- 11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 3
- 11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing? Part 2
- 11th Grade, heading to college -- What should I be doing for admissions and financial aid?
- Four-Year Myth -- What You Can Do Now
- The Four-Year Myth -- why are students not graduating in 4 years?
- On-Time Graduation is Not Optional
- Four-Year Myth -- Graduation Rates Matter
- The 4 Year Myth -- Hidden Costs
- The 4 Year Myth -- a true story
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