Category: For Parents
In the news, all over social media and everywhere else in between, you’ll see posts or articles about the rising cost of college. For many people, the trouble isn’t getting into the college of their choice, the issue is being able to afford it. College can be expensive: Between books, tuition and housing, the average American college student is looking at spending tens of thousands of dollars on their college education. It is extremely common to hear college graduates speak of the debilitating, anxiety-inducing student loans that they struggle to pay month to month. Crippling student debt is a scary reality for many college hopefuls, but don’t fret! There are ways to offset the burden of college expenses and arguably the best way is to apply for and hopefully, be awarded scholarships. Below are a few tips to help you begin your scholarship search.
During this campaign season, we have seen an extraordinary battle of ideas regarding higher education. One of the more interesting ideas currently being promoted actively by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (and supported by President Obama) is a policy proposal to make community college free for everyone.
On its face, this seems to be a no-brainer – after all, what could possibly be wrong with offering free community college to every American citizen? In theory, it should increase not only the lifetime income potential of students who take advantage of this, but it would also greatly increase the skill set of millions of current and future workers.
Despite these benefits, I think this is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
After concluding my 15th year of working with high school seniors, with many of them getting admission letters into Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, and Yale – it’s becoming increasing apparent that top students are obsessed with the Ivy League. For many parents and students, admission into an Ivy League school is a stamp of approval of their hard work in and out of the classroom. In many instances, students and parents see an Ivy League admission letter as a punched ticket to success for future aspirations. I often joke with my students that getting into an Ivy League school today is like unwrapping the golden chocolate bar from Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
One of the most frequent questions I get from the students I work with is whether or not they should spend their summers going to faraway places to enhance the college application. In fact, the number of students who have been asking about this has grown exponentially in the last 10 years.
As a general rule, I counsel my families to not spend inordinate amounts of money on travel just for the sake of enhancing the college application. There are five considerations I think you should consider if you are only travelling internationally to enhance the college application:
It’s that time of year again when U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) ranks the top universities in the United States. To virtually no one’s surprise, it once again came down to a battle between Harvard and Princeton for the number one slot. These two universities typically fight it out to be number one in the magazine, and this year it happened to be Princeton.
I’ve been an independent college consultant for fourteen years. I’m very good at what I do, but I will be the first to admit that I am not an expert in everything and I am not the best fit for every family. For example, I am not a good fit for families looking at boarding schools or for students with special needs. When I’m not the best fit for a family, I try to refer them to someone who might.
I often encourage families to research many independent college consultants – one size does NOT fit all. Families should make a decision about a private college consultant based on answers to these six questions:
I am currently finishing Gregg Easterbrook’s The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America. It is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read about football, and as someone who’s been a lifelong football fan, it was an eye-opener to put it mildly.
The author’s basic premise is that contact football grievously injures tens of thousands of young people every year from elementary school up to and including the pros. However, while concussions are a major focus concerning the NFL today, Easterbrook makes a much more salient point: the vast majority of concussions happen well before a player ever reaches the NFL (if that happens, which is unlikely), and indeed we need to focus on high school and college football if we are to address the epidemic of concussions.
What does this have to do with my college consulting? Many of my clients are scholar athletes, which is a good thing. However, occasionally I will have a client that is so addicted to a sport – including football – that they have dreams of making it to the pros one day. However, as Easterbrook notes in the book, the chances of winning the lottery are probably about equal to ever becoming a starter in the NFL. Indeed, most people will end their athletic career in their last year in college. Given that, Easterbrook makes a powerful indictment of parents who coerce or encourage their children to become virtual full-time athletes, instead of being scholars first, athletes second.
I recommend Easterbrook’s book immensely because it has much to say about our sports-saturated culture and also the very sorry epidemic of parents who misguidedly believe that sports is a ticket to a happier and wealthier life for their kids. It isn’t for the vast majority of students entering college.
On newsstands right now, US News and World Report ranks the top colleges and universities in the nation. No big surprise here - Princeton University is number one. Traditionally, Princeton and Harvard trade places at number one, like a game almost.