Why “Follow Your Passion!” is Terrible Career Advice

“We need to see you right away,” the anxious mom told me on the phone, her voice shaking.

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“Our son is $40,000 in debt from a history degree he’s not going to complete, and now he’s changing his major to music performance. At this rate it’s going to take him seven years to finish a four-year degree, and he’ll be $80,000 in debt by the time he graduates. We’re worried he’ll never find a music performance job that’ll pay him enough to be able to make those huge student loan payments.”

“That is really worrisome,” I said. “Did your son get any career planning help before starting college?”

“Well, no—” the mom said hesitatingly. “We really wanted him to be happy, so we just told him to ‘follow his passion.’ Isn’t that the best career advice?”

No—it’s not. I’m sorry. Read on to find out why “follow your passion” is terrible career advice.

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Parents of 10th Graders, There’s Urgent News for You.

I know that your child has barely started high school, and I know that his dorm move-in day is three whole years away. I know it might seem like the last thing you need to be thinking about right now is college, but this is not true.

Because of changes to the college financial aid application system made by President Obama on September 13th, 2015, you are about to begin one of the most important years of your entire financial life—on January 1st, 2016.

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Here’s the best way I can explain it.

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URGENT: Will You Have a Kid in College Next Fall? Someone’s About to Snap an Important Photo of You.

You may want to start reducing your family income right away.  Now.  Today.

Read on and I’ll explain why.

On January 1, 2016, a photographer is going to show up at your house.

Not an actual photographer, but that’s a good way to think of it.

Parents, they're about to take a photo of you.

On January 1, 2016, the federal government is going to show up and take a snapshot of your family finances.  This snapshot will give the government a good picture of your family income and assets.  This snapshot will then be shared with financial aid people at colleges and universities, so they can figure out how much money your kid will need from outside sources to help pay for college next year.

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Rare, Once-A-Year Opportunity to Hear Me Speak FOR FREE October 8th!

Great Opportunity to Invite Friends.

Do you have friends who think that “financial aid, scholarships, and saved cash are the only ways to pay for college?” It’s not true!

In this power-packed 50 minute session we’ll cover 9 surprising ways you can save your child over $50,000 in future student loan debt — by making a few smart choices when your child is in middle school and high school.  We’ll also cover changes to the financial aid application process announced by President Obama on September 13, 2015.

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A question and answer session will follow. Special guest speaker Jeannie Burlowski blogs weekly on getting kids through college debt free at JeannieBurlowski.com, and she’s also the author of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward (due out in 2016).

Location: White Bear Lake Area High School South Campus Auditorium, 3551 McKnight Road North, White Bear Lake, MN.  Thursday, October 8th 7 pm (Doors open at 6:30 pm.) Arrive early to get a seat; the auditorium has only 500 seats and this session frequently packs out by 6:40 pm. Description: Do you think that “financial aid, scholarships, and saved cash are the only ways to pay for college?” Not true! In this power-packed 50 minute session we’ll cover 9 surprising ways you can save your child over $50,000 in future student loan debt — by making a few smart choices when your child is in middle school and high school. A question and answer session will follow. Special guest speaker Jeannie Burlowski blogs weekly on getting kids through college debt free at JeannieBurlowski.com, and she’s also the author of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward (due out in 2016). Location: White Bear Lake Area High School South Campus Auditorium, 3551 McKnight Road North, White Bear Lake, MN.

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Would you like free, clear, step-by-step help getting your kids through college debt free?  

Subscribe to my weekly email newsletter using the form on this site, and then open it every single time it lands in your email inbox.  For up-to-the-minute help for your individual situation, click on your child’s age in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website.

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Who is Jeannie Burlowski?

Jeannie Burlowski is a full-time consultant, author, and conference speaker. She helps parents set their kids up to graduate college debt free and move directly into careers they excel at and love.  Her book  LAUNCH:  How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward is due out within months.  You can find Jeannie’s free, clear, step-by-step help for parents in the “WHAT TO DO WHEN” section on this website.  Follow her on Twitter @JBurlowski.

“We only got around to doing a fraction of what Jeannie tells people to do in the free help on her website, and we saved well over $50,000 on college costs. Our daughter earned a four year degree from an excellent private university at age 20, and she’s now in California happily working her dream job at Disney. Get to one of Jeannie’s live classes if you can. Buy a plane ticket if you have to!” — Liz and Tim Weatherhead, parents, Bloomington, MN

 

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On September 13th, Everything About Applying for Financial Aid Changed.

As a parent, you’re hoping that your kid gets maximum financial aid to help pay for college. Well . . . the timing on how parents apply for financial aid changed radically with an announcement by President Obama on September 13th, 2015.

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The date to submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) has changed, and the information that parents are required to put on the form has changed.

The implications of the changes are far-reaching and will impact millions of families. I am still sorting through all of these implications myself.

These four things we know for sure:

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