Don't be Faked Out by Bad News
"Why don't people do things when they are important? Because they are not yet urgent!"- Stephen Covey
Let's get the things that appear bad out of the way.
First of all, college costs continue to rise at an alarming rate. I think we'll see our first $100,000 per year college within two years, likely Columbia University. A few dozen colleges will quickly follow suit. The double whammy is that college financial packages are shrinking in terms of funds that are not paid back, such as Merit Scholarship and University Need-based Aid awards. Meanwhile, Parent Loans have taken their place, filling up financial-award packages and blowing up the financial plans of 75% of college families—bad deal!
Secondly, unemployment/ underemployment rates of recent college graduates are so much higher than people think...likely 75%. The reality is that this number is not tracked, nor is the "job placement" rate tracked by any college. When you hear a college representative boldly state that "our job placement rate is 90%", it's simply fake news made up to make the college seem worth it. Many parents fall for this when in reality, there's not a single college anywhere near it. Just ask them how they track it—they don't!
The rigors of college are much harder now on three-quarters (75%) of its underclassman students. Why? Because these are the students- who spent nearly two years waking up at noon having lost their daily structure, then studied online in their pajamas; who inflated their GPA's by manipulating online tests; who downgraded their academic status by blowing-off SAT's; and who did everything they could to get through the extreme challenges of COVID and its isolation. I'm not judging or blaming, rather, I'm just observing. These students have quickly found themselves in a hole as they face the real world of early morning classes, rigorous assignments, and monitored exams—big challenge for many!
By the way, does anyone believe that "test-optional" is a policy favoring the student...hmmm—Not I!
But don't get faked out or discouraged by all that you hear. You can avoid the 75% trap.
The reality is that outcomes are predictable, both good and bad! It just depends on how you go about it—your approach.
Undesired outcomes and the blame that's dished out accordingly tend to apply to people who leave important things to random chance or guesswork. They are predictable results of people who wait, and keep waiting until things become urgent or turn into a crisis.
Good outcomes come to those who take substantive action while things are important, internalizing their needs and desires, owning their outcome, and are willing to do things now to create unique advantages later—our approach!
Let's take a look.
College costs? We don't control the prices colleges set. However, we have total control over the choices we make. If cost doesn't matter to you, then go ahead and chase the so-called elite colleges, the ones who brag about their single-digit acceptance rate as if its something to be proud of. Those colleges will cost $400,000 over the next four years, an extra $100,000 if the student changes their major a time or two. If college cost matters to you, then both you and your child have a lot to do with finding the right fit college, at the right price, and studying the right major. Students can do a far better job building their credentials. Parents can know much better about what they are about to buy—College.
College outcomes? Today's job opportunities have never been better for those who do it right, maybe 25%. This includes picking the right major for the right reason while building substance for your choice; volunteering in your department of study while connecting with the academic-community of the college; expanding your awareness and knowledge of the topic while mastering the subject content; actively pursuing intern/ job shadowing opportunities; building strong interpersonal skills and abilities while being able to express your passion and desire with meaning. But if that's not your purpose for college, so be it. Either way, your outcome is predictable—75/25.
Rigors of college? There's nothing to complain about here, rather, it's what's expected. As long as you build a reliable, repeatable personal foundation and daily routine consisting of internal structure, discipline, work ethic, responsibility, and accountability, you'll be ready for any and all challenges ahead of you. But for those who prefer to let the day happen randomly without much purpose, not only will college be difficult, so will adult life afterwards. It's all part of the predictable nature of ones success and satisfaction, or disappointment.
I'm on the 25% side. I'm not faked out by woeful statistics, people's apathy, or the general lack of effort that's required to get desired outcomes, and nor should you. I know for sure that a pathway to college and life success results from practicing good habits and making good conscious decisions everyday. I'm equally certain that if you lead a meaningful life, driven by purpose, then you'll draw positive energy your way. Together, we can achieve desired outcomes—predictably good!