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College Bound Article
A College education has now been in the cross hairs more than ever given the pandemic and it's effects on society Although those fortunate enough to have a college education fared better in the recent unemployment statistics, some are still questioning the value of a college education. Mounting student loans, universities on the brink of bankruptcy as students sue for tuition and fee reimbursement as well as remote learning have piqued many to question: Is going to college worth it? My family and I have guided thousands of students through the college selection process for the last six decades, to say I have learned a few things is an understatement.
My answer is: No, not all kids should go to college. Perhaps this re-set is just what we needed, forcing the educational system, families and students to re-evaluate where they are. Families will re-assess their finances, finally not giving their kids free reign to snow board their way through school or get college credit for fly fishing Bighorn River. Rock climbing walls may give way to meditation retreats and food courts, while we are all gloved and masked up, may be less cool of a hang-out making the library the best learning milieu. Prospective college students should be mature and aware enough to know why they are going to college. Nice weather and proximity to the beach are mood killers when discussing potential criteria for colleges. God bless if you can get a marketable major that lands you a job while still near a beach.
College students should have "skin in the game. I know when I paid for my books I took care of them, when I paid for tuition I made sure I went to class and got something out of it. Only the strongest students can work full time and also take on a viable major. If one would rather work more than read, you may have found your answer. Career exploration, internships, test scores, and grades should then warrant their anticipated major course of study. It is painful to ask a junior or senior in high school what they want to do or where they want to go. I have seen students and their parents literally come to near blows and tears when they enter this arena of questions. High schools need to make career testing and a career course mandatory. It's more important than their required math and science requirements. Kids needs to know that becoming a plumber, a barber, a chef, or stewardess is nothing to be ashamed of. Parents need to not feel a failure if college is not to be. I explained to my own two, "I will do anything for you, go anywhere you want, but I want results.” Just like a business venture or investment, ROI (return on investment) needs to be discussed, otherwise you're financing a tailgate and the best prospective bowl game spot. It also takes a special type of 18 year old to go "far way." High SAT /ACT scores demonstrate maturity more than anything. An ability to fight off home sickness and get involved in new activities among new people in a new location is challenging. Those that make it through four years and a plane flight away proved it in high school.
Finally, less kids going to college makes a college education more valuable. My father graduated Penn State in 1958. when less than 10 percent of males had a college degree compared to today's 36 percent. Less colleges and universities mean only the best students will go to college. I always hear, "there is a college for everyone," or "some college will take my money." But do you really want that? Why settle, and then have to start the process all over a couple years later. Be overly prepared for any college or university. Be as prepared for college as the ice hockey player that plays on three teams or the ballerina that dances six nights per week. Look at community college as a buffer between maturity and economics. Have a plan, no one can argue with a plan. And it's your plan. No one needs to know your plan. It only needs to make sense for you!
Samuel P Alfonsi Jr. M.Ed
College Bound West Chester
Educational consultant since 1987
215 815 3641