5 Good Reasons to Take a Gap Year (And 2 Bad Ones)

Your child doesn’t seem quite ready for college yet. Would it be a good idea for him or her to take a gap year? Malia Obama did it, after all. Here are 5 good and 2 bad reasons for students to take a gap year between high school and college.

gap year

5 Good Reasons to Take a Gap Year

1. <Good Reason> Your son’s fallen into a pattern of being unwilling to work hard in high school.

Has he gotten mediocre grades? Is he dragging his feet on filling out college applications and applying for scholarships? Taking a gap year where he lives in a tiny studio apartment and works for peanuts can actually teach valuable life lessons that no college program can.

2. <Good Reason> It could do your son great good to learn what life without education or job training is actually like.

Here’s a good line for parents to practice saying: “Well, you’re welcome to live here at home with us, as long as you’re enrolled in (and succeeding in) a full time academic or job training program. If you’re going to stay out of college and work during this gap year, let’s go find you a small apartment you can rent!”

The struggle to pay for rent, food, transportation, and a cell phone may help your son feel eager to apply to (and work hard in) college or technical school at the next possible opportunity.

For more help on this subject, see this article I wrote on the 7 things every parent should carefully think through anytime kids over 18 ask to–or expect to–live with you.

3. <Good Reason> Colleges will still accept a student who takes a gap year. No problem.

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One Call Can Increase Admissions Chances 40%

Weeks or months after your daughter has finished up all her college applications, you may find yourself wondering, “Is there anything else she can do to increase admissions chances — well after her applications have been submitted?”

Yes there is.

Research shows that one phone call can increase admissions chances 40% at many colleges.

increase admissions chances

How can a phone call increase admissions chances?

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Half of Americans Regret Their Higher Ed Decisions?! Why?

The last thing you want is for your child to make a series of expensive higher ed decisions, and then regret them later. How can you help your kids to avoid making regrettable higher ed decisions?

An Epidemic of Regret

Regret over higher ed decisions has reached epidemic proportions in the US. According to a June 2017 report from Gallup and Strada Education Network, 51 percent of Americans would change at least one of their education decisions if they could. This is an astounding, alarming, high number.

1/3 of People Wish They’d Studied in a Different Field

More than 1/3 of people — 36 percent of the report’s 89,492 respondents — would replace their field of study.

Most Shocking? How Many People Regret Their Liberal Arts Educations 

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Your Job Change COULD Save Your Kid $40,000 on College Costs

Parent, might you be ready for a job change by the end of this summer?

If you make this job change decision strategically, you could save your kid $40,000 on college costs.

job change

“Really? How could my job change save my kids money on college costs?”

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9 Reasons to Talk your Kid OUT of Applying to the Ivy League

Today I’m re-running an article I previously wrote on the subject of Ivy League admission. The reason? Harvard University has made a surprising, disheartening decision that significantly impacts its students’ ability to save money on the education it provides. You’ll read about the Harvard decision–and what you can do about it– in the red text below.

Ivy League

Parents, you feel a lot of pressure to get your kids into a “good” college after high school. An “Ivy League” university would be ideal! But is all the work and stress really worth it?

Probably not, honestly.

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Which Colleges Are Still Taking Applications?

5 Cautions For You If Your Child is Headed to College in 1-3 Months

Ben and his parents sat up late at their dining room table, combing through all of Ben’s college financial aid numbers one more time. Ben’s dad ran his fingers nervously through his hair. The problem? It was already summer, and every college that had accepted Ben for the coming fall was requiring him to commit to loads of student loan debt in order to attend.

Colleges are still taking applications

“Is it too late to just try to go to a different college?” Ben asked. “I don’t know,” Ben’s dad said. “Are there any other colleges still taking applications?”

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7 Ways to Have the Worst College Visit EVER

Getting ready for a 10th grader’s first college visit? Make sure your family doesn’t make these 7 college visit mistakes.

college visit

1. Pick a college at random, and just go.

Give no thought whatsoever to whether this college will actually prepare your child for a job he’ll excel at some day, and don’t consider at all whether your family can afford it. Just pick a random college and go.

The truth is… it’s wiser to carefully research college options ahead of time, and visit only the ones you and your child know are good fits as far as real world career preparation and affordability. Remember, your daughter may fall madly in love with the first college she visits. You want to be sure it’s a good option.

2. Visit only state universities, because you think they’re cheaper.

The truth is… many students take six years to earn a four-year degree at a state university. Read here how those two extra years in college can end up costing students $300,000 in extra tuition, interest, lost full-time income, and stunted retirement savings. Ask a parent who owns my book how to determine which private colleges might be far better bargain options.

3. Don’t tell the admissions office you’re coming. 

Just wing it. What can the admissions office do to help you anyway? They’ll just give you an unwanted sales pitch, right?

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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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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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TONIGHT! This Free Event Could Save You TONS on College Costs

Ideal for Families With MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

Your kid’s in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade?  It’s time to set him or her free to feel jazzed and excited about college. Plus — as a parent– learn 8 things you can do right now to keep that kid’s future college costs low.

live event in Minneapolis

 

I’ll be covering all this in this free live event in Minneapolis tonight, January 10th, 2017.

Give your middle schooler (or high schooler!) a huge jumpstart on college.  Bring the kids and join me tonight for a free live event sponsored by Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

I’ll be covering these important topics:

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