Aim for Success!
My friend, Pastor Gregg Harris, says "If you aim at nothing, you can count on hitting it." Continuing our discussion of college scholarships, after you have considered what you have to work with, you can begin to form a good idea of post-high school directions. The earlier you start aiming, the more effortless the guidance. If you wait until the spring of your student's junior year, you may have to make truly gut-wrenching adjustments in order to hit close to your target.
It may be that you will want to do something other than college. Maybe your student will jump right into a job which will train him as he goes, or into the military. Maybe your daughter wants to concentrate on building a strong cottage industry, which will be portable with her (eventual) family. You might find that apprenticeships or internships are better preparation for some of these options than college.
You will want to weigh the pros and cons of college carefully. There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Naturally, students who aspire to be doctors, lawyers, teachers and such will find that a college degree is the only ticket to those professions. But, you may find that a college degree gives a daughter the credibility she needs to make a significant contribution to her family's income from her own home without leaving her children in someone else's care. An entrepreneurial son might find that the networking potiential of the college community will jump-start his business.
However, there are significant problems with attending college that you will need to prepare to solve or sidestep before they become destructive: lack of parental authority, negative social atmosphere, tremendous financial strain, or indoctrination rather than education. With creativity and determination, these drawbacks can be overcome, and the full Launch to College workshop helps families explore some positive alternatives.
So, what are college admission committees looking for?
Next time - a close-up of those college admission must-have's.