The 5 Essential Elements of Wellbeing

In their book Wellbeing, authors Tom Rath and Jim Harter outline what they call “the five essential elements of wellbeing.”

Wellbeing

Think about your kids as you read this list:

Physical Wellbeing

Social Wellbeing

Community Wellbeing

Financial Wellbeing

Career Wellbeing 

I think it’s fascinating to look at what happens in the spaces where two or more elements of wellbeing overlap. There’s great joy, for instance, in having a career—however humble—that gives you financial stability enough that you can give money away to help others who need help with their physical wellbeing.

And for teens and 20somethings, even if they temporarily have very limited money and zero career stability, they can still increase wellbeing by partnering with others around them (social) to do projects that help others (community).

According to Gallup research, this can actually be a faster route to happiness than going to an Ivy League university! (See the article I’ve written on this subject here.)

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That Local State University May NOT Be Your Bargain Option

Many parents have only one strategy for lowering college costs. Send the kid to the local state university.

But is your local state university actually your bargain option — considering all the factors involved?

state university

The hidden costs of state university nobody talks about

At many state universities, it can take even the most diligent students six years to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Why? Because classes are full, so students struggle to get into the classes they need to graduate.

A state university education can be like buying a plane ticket, walking down to the gate, and then not being allowed to board — over and over and over again — because the plane is overbooked and every seat is taken.

Two extra years in state university can end up costing your kid a staggering amount.

Read the article I wrote here on how two extra years in college can end up costing students $300,000 in extra tuition, interest, lost full-time income, and stunted retirement savings. Plus, of course, a huge number of students get discouraged before the six years are up, and drop out — leaving college with a boatload of student loan debt and no college degree.

Yikes.

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Should Teens Take College Classes in 11th Grade?

Is it a good idea for teens to take college classes in 11th grade?

Increasingly, school staff at both public and private high schools are saying yes, and are working to create new and better ways for students to do so — often at state expense, which can save parents thousands on eventual college costs.

Private education, especially, is benefitting.

Private high schools have the flexibility to create innovative in-school programs where students as young as 11th grade are able to take real college classes for real college credit during the school day, while still having the full, enriching high school experience.

Innovation like this works out well for parents, schools, and students. Parents find it easier to pay private school tuition when they know their future college costs are going to be lower, schools are able to brag that many of their students are graduating high school with as much as two years of college credit already completed, and students who are ready to achieve can dive into real college work as soon as soon as they’re ready for it, efficiently earning college credit and high school credit at the same time.

college classes in 11th grade

AP classes declining in popularity 

For years, high schools offered Advanced Placement (AP) classes in an effort to help high achieving students earn some college credit before age 18, but in recent years, concern about the AP program has caused its popularity to plummet. Fewer than 50% of students who take AP courses actually receive the promised college credit, and that makes AP the least dependable way to earn college credit in high school. (This Atlantic article goes so far as to tell parents bluntly, “AP classes are a scam” and “AP students are being suckered.”)

Students who take real college courses in high school enjoy 7 significant advantages:

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Can Parents Call the College Financial Aid Office?

If you’re parenting a teen, there’s a good chance that sometime during the winter of your child’s senior year of high school, you’re going to be flipping through documents called “financial aid award letters.”

You’ll have a “financial aid award letter” from every college that’s accepted your child—as long as you’ve filled out the FAFSA financial aid form (which you should absolutely do, even if you’re rich).

When you’re sifting through three or four financial aid award letters, how do you compare them?

financial aid

This article is going to help you with that important task. As a starting point, let’s look very briefly at what financial aid award letters are, and what the problem tends to be with them.

Financial aid award letters tell you how much money you’ll be expected to pay for the education at each college. 

Sounds great, right? This is the point where you get to know the actual price tag for each school. This is where you find out which college is offering your daughter the best deal.

The problem is that financial aid award letters are notoriously difficult to interpret and compare. 

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