Both students and parents need to do college preparation proactively in order to:
- Help students understand themselves, their interests, their skills, and their passions, and come up with a comprehensive plan for how the students can pursue those interests and passions.
- They need to do college preparation proactively to choose the very best college where the student can pursue their interests and passions.
- And they also need to do college preparation proactively to prepare the student to really grow academically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout their entire time in college.
- And, they also need to do proactive financial preparation to figure out how to pay for their college education.
That means that good college preparation does more than get students ready to take college entrance exams.
- Good college preparation takes a holistic view of the entire college preparation process.
- Good college preparation helps provide a way for students to become self-aware and analyze what they really want to do in college, and in their later life.
- It helps students select a college based on their strengths.
- It helps students pick colleges that are likely to give them scholarships and other benefits.
- It helps students pick work-study and employment programs that will give them a resume in addition to a college degree.
- Good college preparation prepares the student to understand that leaving college without a degree is simply not an option.
- It ensures that both parents and students get all the necessary information about college preparation in a readily accessible, easy to understand, condensed form.
- It helps students focus on the need for, and the importance of, graduating completely debt-free.
- Good college preparation ensures that parents know how to take advantage of tax codes in order to re-direct money for college.
- It assists students in finding financial aid, work-study and targeted employment to finance their education.
- And, good college preparation helps both parents and students consider attending college from a return on investment point of view.
And this last point is extremely important to both the student and the parents when it comes to financing the cost of education. College is a huge financial investment and both parents and students must know how that investment will pay off in the student’s career choice and later life.
While a college preparation program can be started in the Junior or Senior year of high school, the best practice is to begin between the sixth and the eighth grade because by the sixth grade, most students – with some adult assistance – can get excited about finding out about the adult world… And, by the eighth grade most students can develop a reasonable understanding of whether they want to go to college, go to trade school, enlist in the military, or something else. By the eighth grade, most students have some general idea about what really turns them on in life and the general career direction that they want to pursue.
To gain the most from college and to achieve success in later life, students need a long-term purpose. They must have a dream that energizes them to succeed in and beyond college. First, they must understand what their dream really is. Then, they need to master the knowledge and skills that are necessary to accomplish their long-term purpose, and that process must begin as early as possible in order to attract the colleges that will help the student achieve their dream while providing considerable financial assistance.… And that’s really what both you and your student want, isn’t it?