Parents left paying off their children’s’ college debt while the student is a basement dweller in their childhood home. Empty nesters left with empty retirement accounts after paying for college. Credit card debt extended to its limit. Why? These families focused on the 4 years instead of the 40.
The Four (or Five or Six) Years
Most families go about college selection focused on just that – college. By the junior year, the student is constantly pelted with the question, “Where are you going to college?” Finally in the spring of the senior year, they are able to answer that first question which is immediately followed by the next, “What’s your major?”
The grand experiment of trying on different majors for size in the first year or two of college is an expensive one. The result is often extending college to a 5th or even 6th year as only 36% of students who start college finish in 4 years. Colleges love this additional revenue stream; parents’ savings does not. Keep in mind the average student graduates with approximately $25,000 in school loans.
Experimenting can also be problematic if a student settles into a major that can be difficult to transfer into. Among these majors are engineering, architecture, nursing and some business schools. If you can’t get into your desired major, your options are now to settle or try to transfer to a different university. Neither are options that leave the student feeling happy.
How Did We Get Here
Why do parents make such a great financial sacrifice to their own peril? How do parents allow their kids to get into such a jam?
I’m a parent of three, and if you ask most parents what they want for their children, they just want them to be HAPPY. I’ll call it FLOURISH. Parents are willing to sacrifice to the point of pain for themselves to attempt to provide happiness to their children. It’s innate.
Focus on the Forty+ Years
LEAP’s Fit 2 Flourish Coaching turns college selection on its head. Instead of answering that initial question first, we look out to the 40+ years the student will work and aim to find potential best-fit careers based on their wiring as scientifically measured by the Birkman Personality Assessment.
By starting out at the best-fit career options, students then identify the single or often times multiple majors that feed to this career then they can ultimately back into colleges which are reputable for these majors. Bingo! They’ve now selected their college but with much improved methodology.
By focusing first on WHO you are, a student ultimately has a better FIT so they can FLOURISH and parents have HAPPY children, empty basements and full retirement accounts.
To find more tips and techniques for college bound students, check out Mader’s blog.
This post was provided by Lisa Mader, the president of LEAP (Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program), who was a guest on College Smart Radio “Tackling the Runaway Costs of College” on September 14th, 2013. Listen to this broadcast on YouTube here.