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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Suicide at College and College Selection

Recently, the Boston Globe reported on yet another unfortunate death due to suicide at MIT.  These have been happening among both undergraduate and graduate students.  In 2010, Cornell experienced six in one school year.

What does that teach us?

First, there is no conclusive data which directs us to a problem to solve.  Is the problem the school atmosphere?  Or the students' own backgrounds and cultures?  Or personal problems?  At this point, there is no answer.

The national average is 7.5 -12 suicides per 100,000 15-24 year olds (Depending on what source you use for that statistic).  The rate in the past decade at MIT is 18.1.  But they are not alone.  The Daily Beast, in March 2011, posted a list of the top 50 most stressful US colleges.

As a student focused college planner, finding the right setting for each student to continue their education is paramount in my mind.  It must be considered - Just because a student qualifies for a top university does not mean that the best choice for that student would be one of those schools.  It may be, but, for some students, they might be better off being a big fish in a smaller, more gentle pond.

There are a few action steps parents can take, need to take, in order to appropriately prepare their high school student to go off to college.  First, teach and empower your student to be his or her own advocate, to ask for help when it is needed.  S/he must learn to recognise his or her need for assistance, the sources for that help, no matter what kind it is, and how to successfully ask for it.  Each of these is crucial.  S/he cannot get help with organising their papers until s/he recognises that there things are in disarray and it would be helpful to have them in better order.  The student identifies the situation, and identifies it as a problem, as something which, if changed, would be more beneficial to him.

If your child has special needs of any kind, facilitate letting the college know about it.  Do NOT live in denial.  The problem(s) won't just disappear.  College tends to make them worse, because students have to learn to be far more self-reliant than they were in high school.  So, if s/he is struggling with depression, is ADD, needs learning supports, what have you, identify the appropriate office(s) on campus and make sure they are notified of your child's needs.  Ideally, have your student contact them directly.  Classroom accommodations are a right for qualified students.  Ensure that your child is able to get his or her needs met.

Lastly, check with your insurance, or the campus insurance, regarding benefits for the services your child needs.  Knowing what is available will help your family get the needed help in the most efficient manner possible.

Partnering effectively with your college planner, parents can continue to facilitate their children's success.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PSAT mysteries

The PSAT was administered last week.  So, what does that mean?  For most, honestly, it merely functions as a wake up call.  College is coming.  In a year or so, you must take the SAT and/or ACT!  Start thinking.  For others, it is a serious attempt to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.  For some, it is the first college related test which allows students to see where they rank nationally.  As a sophomore, it is a confirmation that they are on the right track.  Or a wake up call, when their scores fall short of their goals.  As a junior, it may be the ticket to a full National Merit Scholarship.  How will you sort it all out?

No matter where you are on the spectrum, having a guide on your team makes a tremendous difference.  No athlete doesn't have a coach.  Achieving your college dreams requires the same diligent preparation under expert guidance.  Call the office for a free initial consultation today.   We provide expert knowledge for the journey to college - dealing with student preparation, college selection, applications, financial aid, and alternative funding (NOT loans!)