The Road to College

Why College?

  1. Pros
    1. Employment
    2. Lifetime earnings (college grads make at estimated $1 million more than high school grads)
    3. Quality of life
    4. Greater job security
    5. Prestige
  2. Time to mature
  3. Cons
    1. College is expensive ($50,000 to $250,000 for four years)
    2. Lost Income opportunity ($20,000 a year equals $80,000 in 4 years)
    3. Real cost could total up to $400,000 or more
    4. Starting over at the end of four years with no experience
  4. Parent’s Role
    1. Providing information
    2. Mentoring and helping child while enabling ownership in the decision.

 What Employers Look For

  1. Quick return on investment (need little training)
  2. Proven ability to have “stuck it out in college” (worked while others played)
  3. Was able to “go along to get along” (played the game, put up with bad profs)
  1. Obtained some technical skills (major/minor)
  2. Demonstrated ability to read, write, do math, do basic research and THINK
  3. Maturity; work with minimal supervision, easy to manage
  4. Dedication to success and willingness to work hard (reflected in a good GPA)

What does it take to succeed in college?

  1. Parental/family expectations
  2. A good academic and social “fit” (mid-bell curve)
  3. Mastered fundamentals in high school (reading, writing, math, reasoning)
  4. Time Management – 3 to 4 times as much workload in college as high school.
  5. Discipline – ability to balance academics and other activities
  6. Quality friends (get plugged in with the right crowd – church, discipleship groups, athletics, clubs, SGA)
  7. Strong student motivation and goals
  8. Divine intervention
  9. Biggest Mistakes Kids Make
  10. Forget the objective/priorities (too many personal and social distractions)
  11. Get behind the curve (3 to 4 times more reading/work than high school)
  12. Never ask for help, even when grades are hitting bottom!!!  At most colleges there are lots of assistance programs available for free.
  13. Pick a major too soon and waste credits and time in wrong classes.
  14. Try to beat the system and not play the game (bad proofs, poor schedules, hated classes, never sits in front, never sees the prof, never shows interest)
  15.        Ease up towards the end of the semester when work counts the most especially in the springtime. (TIME MANAGEMENT)
  16. Love and romance distractions
  17. Money and credit card problems
  18. Picked the wrong college; poor fit

Selecting the type of college

What is your objective?

  1. Public schools
  2. In state/out of state
  3. State home school rules

Athletics (division, teams)

  1. Class sizes
  2. Who teaches what? (grad assistants?)
  3. Graduate vs. undergraduate emphasis of college
  4. Private schools
  5. Real cost (percent of total costs students actually pay)
  6. Retention motivation

Religious emphasis, culture, character

  1. Home School friendly?

Some schools are very home school friendly, others are clearly not so.

 Assessing the “fit”

  1. Section criteria by student and parents
  2. Student body demographics
  3. Size of school
  4. Majors (all schools seem to list a lot of majors but many may not have a lot of depth – look at course selection)
  5. Level of competitiveness:  too hard, too easy?
  6. Location (most students live within 150 miles of their college)
  7. Housing, food plans (some only offer junk food)
  8. Campus safety
  9. Sports, student activities
  10. Image, reputation

 Admissions – The Nuts and Bolts

  1. National Tests (ACT, SAT) Can take as many times as you want.  Normally the highest scores count.
  2. Transcript (lots of good examples on the Internet)
  3. Portfolios that show work (good for combined classes such as writing and history)
  4. Reading lists (keep good records)
  5. SAT II’s (if only required of home schoolers probably an indication of not being home school friendly)
  6. GED – if required, probably not home school friendly
  7. Some schools require an essay.  Normally very competitive exercise with much outside help.  (With new SAT, probably will not be required much.)

Admissions – The Process

  1. Admission officer’s job is to select the best candidates per their game plan criteria mix (SAT’s, grades, gender, minorities, in and out of state, foreign students, financial ability to pay, athletic ability.)
  2. Your job is to get noticed, considered and selected to the pool of candidates.
  3. The more they want you the more financial aid you might be offered.
  4. Negotiations and posturing tends to go on until award letters are sent out each spring (for fall semester) but decisions are made as time goes on prior to that.
  5. Home schoolers need to prove they are what they appear to be. This can be done through accreditation or portfolio.  SATs/ACTs are very important as well as any college credits earned.  A blend of a transcript and a brief portfolio may be beneficial.  Do not provide too many examples!  They do not want a scrap book!
  6. Joint Enrollment (Dual – Enrollment) Recommended taking classes at a local college beginning as early as the sophomore year. The benefit is proof of doing college-level work, having extra credits so that if later on you have to drop a course or two you are still on time for graduation. Also, saves a lot of time and money later on.  Be sure to take generally accepted classes (core curriculum type).  Do not take too many courses or you will be considered a transfer student.  (30 hours)

Financial Aid

  1. “Real” awards – bottom line (not including student work and loans)
  2. Loans (beware of acquiring too many debt before graduation)
  3. Student  work, normally very convenient, good for a few hours here and there type arrangement, sensitive to academic schedule and demands.
  4. Percent of costs students are paying (typically 75%+ at many private schools). The lower the better, getting matching funding for every one of your tuition dollars.
  5. Private schools typically have much more academic financial aid, not based which is typical among the publics.  So, if you have great SATs and demonstrated academic achievements, might get a better deal at a private school.

 Other Items to Consider

  1. Campus Visits
  2. Admissions arranged
  3. Classes, teachers
  4. Virtual – Web-based
  5. Dual Enrollment



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