This post is a scary one. But read all the way down to the red print at the bottom and I’ll give you a boatload of hope about college.
1. “If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t be able to get a good job when you graduate.”
This statement is completely and utterly false. Let’s all be honest for just a minute. Don’t you know people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Let’s get even more honest. Don’t you actually know many, many, many people who went to so-called “bad colleges” and they have great jobs? Why do we purposely scare kids with this lie?
2. “You, of course, shouldn’t even consider technical school.”
The bias against technical school gets communicated to kids from the age of 12 on up in a thousand insidious ways.
The subtle message kids hear is: “Tech school is for kids who aren’t as smart as you.” “Tech school is for kids who can’t get into real college.” “We won’t even show you a catalog of job training programs available at a technical school. We don’t care if tech school would empower you to make really great money after only two years of training. We won’t even suggest the possibility of going to technical school first and then perhaps four-year college after that. You’re smart and you come from a good family — that automatically means four-year college or university for you.”
(To see my post on “Could Your Kid End Up Wealthier and Happier by Not Going to College?” click here.)
3. “Of course you’re going to take out $40,000 in student loans to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to pay those loans back with the excellent job you’ll get after you graduate.”
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The dad waited in a long line to get to shake my hand. He was beaming.
“We squeezed into a packed high school auditorium to hear you speak about scholarships last year,” he told me. “You inspired my son to go home and apply for 20 scholarships he thought he’d never get. He won eight of them, and now has over $20,000 extra to help pay his college bills. I just wanted to say thanks.”
I beamed back at him. Nothing excites and energizes me like seeing students achieve things they thought they never could. And when they rake in the scholarship money? That’s the best feeling ever.
Winning college scholarships is only one very small piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting kids through college debt free. In all honesty, other strategies that I provide to parents can net even greater return for families.
If you want to maximize scholarships, though — here are just a fraction of the scholarship strategies I recommend for students and parents.
1. Don’t assume your kid won’t qualify for scholarships because of grades or test scores.
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This article was originally posted on this site on April 4th, 2016. It was updated on January 10th, 2018.
In 2015 I wrote about how some students could end up wealthier and happier by not going to four-year college after high school. It was a life-changing post for many. If you missed it, be sure to read it here.
But what about this great idea? Your kid could go to community or technical school in a fantastic, in-demand career field for two years and gain excellent, immediately-employable job skills . . . and then start work on a bachelor’s degree in a related field at age 20.
“Wait, a minute . . .” I can hear you objecting. “Who wants to go to college for six straight years, and not get finished until age 24? The credits my kid would earn in technical school probably wouldn’t transfer to a four-year college, right?”
You’re right, college credits don’t generally transfer from technical schools to 4-year bachelor’s degree programs. But imagine this. What if your 18-year-old teen had already completed two full years of bachelor’s degree college credit in high school at state expense—as I explain here? That teen could complete two years of technical school between age 18 and age 20, and then finish up a bachelor’s degree between the ages of 20 and 22.
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