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Thursday, March 17, 2011

College Selection: Best Friend's U

Many kids choose their school based on where their friends are going.  It may be a boyfriend or girlfriend, a buddy from a team or club, etc.  It doesn't matter - they are choosing the school because of this other student, not anything about themselves or the school.
Now they are at Best Friend’s U. As they get the lay of the land at their new home, they find that their favorite club isn't on campus, and the kids they've met are not the kinds of kids they were hoping to meet. The classes are too big, or too small or too hard or easy. Their grades slip and you finally have a talk over Spring Break. Only then do you discover that their enthusiasm for this school was because their buddy loved it and raved about it. They have seen that buddy a few times on campus but s/he is busy with all the classes and activities they love -the reasons they liked the school. But your child is miserable. Now you are scrambling to figure out how to transfer, where to transfer to. There are deadlines, requirements, courses the other school won't accept, etc. Often you are looking at an extra semester or two - your child is now on the 5 year plan, is discouraged, and won't be able to start working for an additional year. Heavy costs for the lack of planning.

Working with a professional, certified college planner like myself ensures that the schools on your child's list will be excellent choices for him or her, specifically. Such guidance significantly reduces the chances that your child will be on a five or six year track for a Bachelor's degree, saving you around $60,000 in costs, as well as getting your child working two years sooner, bringing in $60,000-70,000 on average.
Selecting one's target colleges is not a simple process.  A great engineering school may have a lousy writing program.  A school with a terrific lacrosse team may not even have an international business management major.  Schools with huge campuses are great places to explore for some while they make others feel lost and insignificant.  There are many, many aspects of prospective schools to be considered.  At the same time, all your regular family activities are happening - team practices, homework, vacations, ortho visits,the works.  It's a $100,000+ decision - get help.

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