Top 9 Questions Parents Are Asking Me About LAUNCH!

launch

You can “Look Inside” the book on Amazon.com by clicking here: bit.ly/burlowski.  

(Tell your friends.)

There’s been an overwhelming, excited response to LAUNCH since it released on January 4th, 2017. Parent response to this book has already exceeded anything I ever thought possible. Whenever there’s a lot of excitement there are also a lot of questions, so here are the top 9 questions parents are asking me — along with my answers.

1. “Our son is only in middle school. Surely we don’t need to be thinking about college yet!”

Let me be blunt here. If you wait until your son’s in 11th grade to start thinking about college, 75% of the best ideas for getting him through college debt-free will be gone.

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Two Extra Years in College Could Cost Your Kid $300,000

Here are 7 Proven Ways To Get Through College FAST

When you imagine your daughter’s future, you probably don’t envision her spending extra years in college.

Yet, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 40% of college students earn their bachelors degrees in four years. And only 60% of college students receive a degree in six years!

Yikes!

extra years in college

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17 College Majors That Put Kids On the Path to Underemployment

Forbes recently published a list of 17 college majors that carry high underemployment rates.

Grads in these degree fields find it hard to get the jobs they went to school for. They tend to make less money than they should be making, and a lot of them live with this discouraging realization: “I might have just wasted all that time and money I spent on college; I’m not even using the degree I worked so hard for.”

Help your kid stay off of the path to underemployment.

college major

17 College Majors That Tend to Lead to Underemployment:

  1. Physical Education Teaching: 57% grads are underemployed
  2. Human Services: 56% grads are underemployed
  3. Illustration: 55% grads are underemployed
  4. Criminal Justice: 53% grads are underemployed
  5. Project Management: 53% grads are underemployed
  6. Radio/Television & Film Production: 53% grads are underemployed
  7. Studio Art: 52% grads are underemployed
  8. Healthcare Administration: 52% grads are underemployed
  9. Education: 52% grads are underemployed
  10. Human Development & Family Studies: 52% grads are underemployed
  11. Creative Writing: 51% grads are underemployed
  12. Animal Science: 51% grads are underemployed
  13. Exercise Science: 51% grads are underemployed
  14. Heath Sciences: 51% grads are underemployed
  15. Paralegal Studies: 51% grads are underemployed
  16. Theater: 51% grads are underemployed
  17. Art History: 51% grads are underemployed

(This information is based on PayScale data collected from 962,956 workers between 3/21/2014 and 3/21/2016.)

But wait–there’s good news in this Forbes report too!

In every one of these college major fields, some of the graduates are working. A good number of them (in some cases almost 50%!) are employed in their career fields, fulfilling their potential, making money they’re happy with.

What sets the fully-employed grads apart from the underemployed ones?

One thing I know for sure–the grads who completed extensive job shadowing and multiple paid internships in their career fields are doing far better than those who failed to complete these important steps during college.

You can see two extremely helpful posts I’ve written about internships here and here.

If your kid loves a field with low employability, have him or her try this:

Take the advice of Gwen Burrow from Find Your Calling, who tells students: “Ask yourself–do you really need two or four years of full study in subjects like studio art, creative writing, or theater? Is that something you could do with just a few classes, plus practice on your own time?”

Your child could also consider combining the less desirable major with a potentially more lucrative minor. Combine a “health care administration” major with an accounting minor, for instance, or an “illustration” major with a marketing, advertising, or art education credential.

I’m not sure I’d advise your kid to pursue a college major in Studio Art, Theater, or Art History…

Those fields are notoriously difficult when it comes to finding full-time jobs after college.

But I can tell you this. Being strategic about job shadowing and interning can make the difference between depressing, low-paying, motivation-sapping underemployment and a truly fulfilling long-term career that makes perfect sense.

(Many thanks to Gwen Burrow from Find Your Calling for the help she gave me writing this article.)

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“Can I Take a Full Load of College Classes in High School and Still Have a Full ‘High School Experience’?”

Yes.

A 10th grader contacted me recently and asked me this great question about taking college classes in high school.

“Jeannie, I know that you strongly recommend dual enrollment college classes in high school for kids who want to get through college debt-free. I want to do dual enrollment full time in 11th and 12th grades so that I’ll have two years of college done by the time I graduate from high school. But my parents are trying to steer me toward doing dual enrollment only just part time. They’re worried that if I take a full load of dual enrollment college classes in high school, I’ll miss out on ‘the full high school experience.’ What do you think?”

My answer is below. college classes in high school

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Must-Listen 9-Minute Dave Ramsey Rant Against Student Loan Debt

Caution, Though; Dave's Wrong About Two Things!

I love Dave Ramsey’s video rant about student loan debt, which you can watch at the link I’ve provided below.

(Listen for my favorite Dave line in this rant: “I missed where the lady got helped.”)

If you’ve got 9 minutes to listen to this while getting ready for work in the morning or while cooking dinner, please do!

As you listen, though, be aware that Dave Ramsey is wrong about two things:

1. Dave Ramsey’s wrong when he says that your in-state college or university is automatically your bargain choice.

microphone

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Can’t Save For College? It’s OK, Mommy. Try This

I’m excited to be guest posting on the blog of Mommy blogger Julie Hoag this week. Julie blogs about motherhood, family, and faith with a focus on moms raising kids ages birth-13. When Julie asked me what her moms need to know about setting kids up to graduate college debt-free, I immediately thought of today’s subject. Read on and I’ll give you an idea that works for any family with any age kids, but it works better the earlier you start it.

Be sure to stop by and visit Julie Hoag on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram, and on her website, JulieHoagWriter.com.

Here’s the guest post I wrote for Julie.

save for college

What happens in the minute after a toddler first builds a block tower, and then knocks it over?

Her mom starts thinking about college.

Will this one be an engineer? A construction manager? A real estate developer?

How will we pay for the education necessary to get there, especially when our current budget doesn’t allow us to save for college at all?

One brilliant answer is to start very early on with just one non-saving strategy.

In my work as an academic strategist, author, and speaker, one of the first debt-free college strategies I share with parents is the free college savings program at UPromise.com.

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Beyond the Internship

5 Strategies For Getting Hired Right Out of College

Today I’m featuring a guest post by internship & career success blogger Sharise Kent. Sharise spent 5 years managing a national internship program where she placed over 400 interns with some of the biggest media companies in the world. Her blog helps college students understand the value of internships and the importance of designing a career during the early years of college. Her book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams is available here.

I invited Sharise to speak to my followers today because her advice is invaluable for parents who want their kids to get actual jobs after college.

internship

Many parents are dismayed when they find out that colleges don’t actually teach students how to get jobs. 

Students who don’t realize this early can find themselves with knots in their stomachs during senior year when their parents cheerfully ask, “How’s the job search going?”

These well-meaning parents likely have no idea—their soon-to-be college graduate doesn’t even know where to start looking.

What can students do?

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7 Criteria To Decide: Should Your Healthy 20-Something Kids Live With You?

So, your 20-something daughter wants to live at home in her childhood bedroom. Should you happily say yes and make a plate of warm cookies to welcome her back?

Or could this put you (and your child) in a bad spot?

I’ve written in a previous post about the horror of loving mothers and fathers who sacrifice for years only to find themselves in their 50’s, stressed and anxious over unkempt twenty-something children still living in their childhood bedrooms. Many of these parents despair over dependent 20-somethings sleeping in past noon, lounging afternoons away on parents’ couches, helping themselves to food from their parents’ refrigerators, and then staying up long hours into each night gazing into the flickering blue screens of online video games. 

You know that there are hundreds of thousands of parents living this nightmare every day, right?

What can you do to avoid becoming that parent?

1. Is your child enrolled in (and making successful progress through) a full-time academic program?

When your child is in elementary and middle school — or as soon as possible after that — start telling your children this important sentence: “Honey, we will be happy to provide free room and board to you after your high school graduation, as long as you’re enrolled in (and making successful progress through) a full-time academic or job-training program.”

2. If your child is still in high school, clearly lay out the plan for the summer after high school graduation.

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Teen Constantly Angry? It Could be “Launch Anxiety.”

I’m thrilled to be guest posting this month on Julian Caldwell’s GetConnectDad blog, where 150 authors from 15 countries write about practical ways to be a great dad. (This article will be very helpful for moms as well.)

Here’s the article I have appearing this month on GetConnectDad:

15-year-old Luke had been in a dark, angry mood all day long, starting from the moment his mother wished him a cheerful, “Good morning!” and set hot scrambled eggs and a fresh hot caramel roll in front of him at the breakfast table.

Luke ate in broody silence, and his mother felt momentarily thankful for the quiet. If Luke could just get off to school without a screaming mood swing and slamming doors, today would be a good day.

Luke’s mom looked at him chewing the buttery, drippy carmel roll. His eyes were flat, his face devoid of appreciation or joy. She felt anxiety rise in her own chest, but then rationalized it away. “It’s probably just hormones,” she told herself, “and there’s nothing I can do about that.”

Actually, it’s probably not “just hormones.” It’s more likely “launch anxiety,” which is something you can help with more than you realize.

depressed boy blog photo canva

Rather than hormones, your teen’s dark moods, depression symptoms, mood swings, blunted, flat emotional responses, and hair-trigger anger are far more likely to be linked to a psychological condition called “launch anxiety.” The good news? Keep reading. There’s a lot parents can do to alleviate “launch anxiety” and help teens to feel better.

What is “launch anxiety”?

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Ordinary Students—Extraordinary Financial Aid

It's March—Time to Ask Colleges for Extra Financial Aid Money

You’d love for your son to get loads of free money financial aid to help him pay for college, but you’re pretty sure he won’t qualify for much. Your family lives comfortably, after all. You aren’t poor.

You wonder if filling out financial aid forms is even worth your time.

Seven Reasons Filling Out Financial Aid Forms Is Well Worth Your Time.

1. You can have a high income and still qualify for help.

You make over $200,000 per year and have significant assets? Your kid can still get free “gift aid” money to help pay for college. I’m talking about free money that need never be paid back.

Because this is true, plan to fill out the FAFSA form every October 1st that you’ll have a kid in college the following fall. Put this October date on your calendar now, so you can put your kid(s) first in line for all the financial aid money they have coming.

financial aid

2. The FAFSA isn’t just about getting PELL grants. 

Filling out the FAFSA puts your child in line for nine separate federal student aid programs, over 600 state aid programs, and most of the college-based (institutional) aid available in the US. Wow!

Every year, people who were sure they were too well-off to qualify for any kind of aid are stunned to see what kind of generous help they actually qualify for at some colleges.

3. The FAFSA considers many more factors than just your income.

Your household income may look high at first glance, but income is only one of several factors used to decide your child’s financial aid eligibility. Age of the older parent, household size, whether your family owns a small business, number of family members attending college simultaneously, and many other complex and interwoven factors figure in too. Any one of these factors could greatly increase your family’s eligibility for free money for college.

4. Parents can use multiple strategies to get extra free money for college from the FAFSA form.

I provide 10 (ten) safe, legal, ethical strategies that parents can use to get thousands extra in financial aid money out of the FAFSA form. They’re too numerous to list here, but they’re all carefully detailed in chapter 10 of my book, LAUNCH.

The best time to find out about these strategies and get all set to implement them? The winter and spring of your child’s 9th grade year. If your child is already further along in high school or even in college, though, it’s not too late.

5. If your fortunes happen to suddenly turn for the worse, you’ll want your kid to be in the pipeline to receive help.

Every year there are very wealthy families whose fortunes turn suddenly and unexpectedly for the worse. People lose businesses. They divorce, lose jobs, or suffer house fires. They may get devastating medical diagnoses. If this happens to you, you’ll want your college-age children to be in the financial aid system where they can walk into a college financial aid office and get the help they suddenly need.

6. At the very least, you’ll want to qualify for the very best student loans if those become necessary.

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Could Your Kid’s College Texting Habit Cost You $28,000?

A Simple Way to Make Sure It Doesn't

texting

Quick. Picture your son sitting in a college class.

Got that picture in your mind?

Let me guess what you just imagined. You pictured him absorbed in his college lecture. You pictured him paying close attention to every word the professor is saying. You pictured him diligently filling page after page with carefully organized notes.

You may have just imagined wrong.

The typical college student squanders one-fifth of his class time doing this.

Texting. Emailing. Checking Facebook. Surfing the web. Playing games on a phone, tablet, or laptop.

A 2015 University of Nebraska-Lincoln study of 675 college students across 26 states reveals that nine out of ten students report that texting is “their main diversion during class.”

About 75% of students polled admitted to emailing or checking the time on their phones. 70% reported scrolling through Facebook and other social media during the time they were supposed to be learning. Nearly half surfed the web during class, and one in 10 spent class time playing games.

What’s the cost to parents? Let’s do the math.

Let’s say your son attends a private university that charges $5,880 for a 3-credit course. If your son texts, emails, checks social media, surfs the web, or plays games during just one-fifth of his class time, which is a lowball estimate, that diversion will end up costing your family $1,176 for each class he takes. If your son takes 18 credits per term during every term other than his first one on campus — as I advise students to do in order to graduate faster — this seemingly innocuous habit will cost your family $7,056 per term. $28,000 or more over the course of an entire four-year college career.

Not to mention the cost to your son when that knowledge base isn’t available to him when he tries to enter the workforce later.

It’s no wonder today’s college students are having trouble getting real jobs after college.

I have a magical way to solve this problem.

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