Quick Thoughts on College

Part 1: My significant other told me yesterday he met someone who next year will spend $78,000 to go to college.

WHAT?!!!!

Is $78,000 per year really worth it, no matter what your major?

Are the concrete dorm rooms and served food really worth it?  Paying for those the rest of your life?

The president who earns six figures with the fancy penthouse?  The administrators who earn six figures and do nothing?  The adjuncts who earn pennies on the dollar?

The tuition that may go up to $80,000 or more a year times four or five years?

Is it really, truly, deep down in your heart worth it?

Have you looked at Plan B?  Other alternatives?  Are you really going to have a six figure salary when you leave?

Is $78,000 going into some unknown pit really worth it?

Part 2: The subject of college, college education, and getting into college has come up a lot recently.  It is that time of year.  Registration is open and SATs loom.  The majority of people I have worked with over the years outside of the classroom have needed assistance and support in relation to college.

My advice: please get a college degree or some advanced degree.  You will need it.  It is a necessary part of life.  And at the same time, here are some questions and personal lessons I have learned along the way:

  1.  Go out and talk with the student, whether your child or your friend.  Shut off the cell phones, find a quiet place, have some coffee, a meal, whatever, and talk about college.  Are their plans for them?  Are they logical?  What they want to do, is it feasible in the long run?  How many years will this actually take? Do they know what they are getting into?  Do they really know what they are getting into?  Have they researched the field, the area of study?  Have they worked in that area?  Internship? Do they know people who make a living from this area?  Why are they doing this: for themselves or because someone else wants? Who has made this decision for them?
  2. CLEP tests.  Look them up.  The best kept secret, ever.
  3. Do you have a skill, a trade if college doesn’t work out?
  4. You have Plan A. And do you have Plan B, C, D?
  5. Before you spend money, time, stress, find out how much emphasis the school places on the SATs.  Do they make or break the school’s decision?
  6. Would it be better to start off at a community college/ 2 year school and transfer?  Same classes, same professors, same credits,and four year schools will usually take up to sixty credits.  And you save a lot of money.  And all you need is a high school diploma.
  7. Does the person going to college feel prepared to go to college?  To take the SATs?  Scores change, days change, you could be sick that day….Maybe a year off ……
  8. Are you planning on working during college?  Are you already working?  How will you support yourself if your main support falls through?
  9. Do you want to graduate with debt?  (This was the hardest lesson of all for me.)
  10. Hardest lesson Number Two: A college degree is not an automatic assurance of a job.  You still have to pass employment eligibility tests.  You may even be told you need more schooling.
  11. Hardest lesson Number Three: You need to know people to get a job.
  12. Question: Do you know yourself?  Do you know the student?  What is the student’s true passion?  What makes them tick?  What are their favorite things, skills, what sets them apart?  Colleges want different, they want diversity.  SATs say how well you test, not what you will contribute to the community and the rest of humanity.
  13. Question: Is college an obligation, a necessity?  Why is this journey being undertaken?  Does it have to be undertaken in only four years?

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