Manage All Your Kids’ College Planning—Mostly By Yourself

If you’re concerned that you’re currently LATE to college planning, read this article now.

college planning

College planning can feel like being lost in a jungle. And sadly, your kid’s high school guidance counselor can’t help much with hacking through the underbrush. Oh, he or she would love to, but budget cuts have slashed the amount of time guidance counselors get to spend with college bound students, in some cases down to just eight minutes per year.

And your child, smart as he is, isn’t in any position to handle the complexity of college planning either. The stakes are high, both financially and career wise, and his brain won’t be fully developed until age 24.

And the internet? You sure don’t want to depend on the internet for college planning advice.

Don’t rely on the internet for college planning advice.

It’ll take you years to sift through everything the internet has to say about college planning. The bits and pieces of info and conflicting messages you hear from online resources will drive you insane. Plus, a huge percentage of what’s currently on the internet regarding college planning is sorely out of date, since President Barack Obama drastically changed US college financing on September 13th, 2015, and most of the world has not yet caught up.

You need a resource that will give you fast, accurate, specific instructions that the internet can’t provide. (I’ll provide a resource for you, below.)

7 things to do when you feel lost in the jungle of college planning

1. Don’t put off college planning because you feel overwhelmed.

I understand that you feel overwhelmed by the college planning process. Every parent does. But if you wait until your kid’s sophomore or junior year of high school to get started on college planning, 75% of the strategies you could have used to get your kid through college debt-free will be gone. Starting early is the best strategy, even if you can’t save a penny.

(If you’re worried that you’re currently late to college planning, read this article now.)

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The 5 Love Languages, Explained with Burritos

By this time nearly everyone’s heard of Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. It’s sold over 11 million copies, it’s the 12th most popular book on Amazon (where it has more than 13,000 5-star reviews), and it’s been a New York Times Bestseller 8 years running.

Want a super fast explanation of The 5 Love Languages?

This funny explanation by @Alonzo_Creed has been retweeted 52,000 times on Twitter:

1. Words of Affirmation: “This is a good burrito.”

2. Acts of Service: “I made you a burrito.”

3. Receiving Gifts: “Here’s a burrito.”

4. Quality time: “Let’s go get some burritos together.”

5. Physical touch: Arms around a person wrapped in a warm hug, like a burrito.

Are you wondering which one or two of The 5 Love Languages your teen, spouse, or other loved one is most wired to receive? Use the quick free 5 Love Languages assessment that author Gary Chapman offers on his website. You might also love Gary’s other book: The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively.

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5 Ways Parents Head Off College Anxiety

This article is for you whether you’ve got a high schooler or a college student experiencing college anxiety.

When Samantha was in 10th grade, her Dad offered her a great suggestion. “Sam, why don’t we get your guidance counselor to sign you up for some college classes for next year, and you take those instead of regular high school classes? You can get real college credit for them, they’ll still count toward your high school graduation, and best of all, our state will pay for them!” Samantha hesitated, nervous apprehension squeezing at her stomach and working its way up to her chest and throat. It was her first experience with college anxiety. “I don’t know, Dad—couldn’t I just take a couple of AP classes instead?”

Don’t let your child retreat into AP classes to avoid college anxiety.

AP classes are the least dependable way to earn college credit in high school.

Contrary to popular belief, AP classes are not typically “easier than real college classes.” Think about it. Would you want to study a subject for months and months, and then have your success or failure depend on performing well on one big test at the end?

And then, after all that work, you find out that the college you’ll be attending may not even accept your hard-won AP credit?

That’s enough to exacerbate even the mildest case of college anxiety.

Here are 5 ways parents can head off college anxiety. (Number 5 is a big one.)

1. Emphasize that college success isn’t about how smart you are, it’s about how organized you are.

Your son is worried that he’s not smart enough for college. All kids are. If you went to college yourself, tell him that you really started being successful at college when you learned to use a calendar and make lists of tasks you had to do. Emphasize that organization is something anyone can learn.

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The Most Important Thing About High School? It’s Not Grades

Many families mistakenly believe that the most important thing about high school is getting good grades—so students can “get into a good college when they graduate.”

Not true.

What is the most important thing about high school?

In my work as an academic strategist, I’ve found that the most important thing about high school is forging the academic tools necessary for the college or vocational training that comes afterward.

 

I told one underperforming student this: “Imagine college as a place where you have to pound nails into boards, one after another, as fast as you can. Bam! Bam! Bam bam bam! High school is the place where you create your hammer. If your hammer’s put together sloppily out of string and glue and spitballs, you’ll find it difficult and exhausting and painful to pound nails in college.”

Can students “get good grades” and still miss it?

Too many high school students have figured out how to game the high school system enough to get decent grades while still not learning important skills, such as 1) putting away electronics and listening carefully in class, 2) taking thorough, complete handwritten notes, 3) seeking help when confused, and 4) using a calendar or a to-do list to make certain that assignments and test studying are done thoroughly and on time.

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