Knowledge Bound: The RSC Blog

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Posted on Jun 11, 2014 - 06:00 AM | College Prep | Comments (0)

This is the Information Age. Instant communication. Facts at your fingertips. Upload videos from your phone. Let the world know where you are 24/7. Had a great day? Tell the world in 140 characters or less.
So why in this fast-paced world of new ideas and information do many antiquated ways of looking at college prep remain?
Old Ideas Rooted in College Prep
  1. Start preparing junior year. This is the hardest one to quash. Despite the fact that colleges look at all four years of your high-school record, families often don’t start seriously thinking about college until junior year. And what’s most shocking is that they’re often told to by school officials. Yes, colleges look at your junior year most heavily, but you’re not going to have bad freshman and sophomore years and then turn it around junior year. Develop your college plan much earlier – in 8th or 9th grade.
  2. Your guidance counselor can do everything. Your guidance counselor would love to do everything, but there are just too many obstacles. The average counselor sees twice as many students as she should, and college prep is only one part of their job. In fact, the average counselor spends only 13% of her time on college prep, dealing with all sorts of issues not related to your interests. Wake Forest University has gone so far as to say that if your guidance counselor sees more than 50 or 60 students, consider private counseling. We bet your counselor sees more than 60 students.
  3. My student will win a scholarship. While this is extremely optimistic, it rarely works out. Only 6% of college students win any kind of scholarship, and most are for only a few hundred dollars. While we like to believe every little bit helps,” scholarships often don’t because many colleges subtract scholarship money from other financial aid it was going to give you. So while winning a scholarship feels great, it’s just not a great way to pay for college.
  4. Any college degree is better than no degree at all. This one is partly true. You can expect to earn more, but if you go so deep into debt that you ruin your credit and abandon your plans, it may not be worth it. Remember, an affordable degree is a valuable degree.
  5. You can’t prepare for the SAT. This idea is the easiest to refute. The notion that you can’t prepare for the SAT is put forward by the College Board, but you have to ask yourself, if you can’t prepare for it, why do they sell materials that help you do just that?
New Ideas in College Prep
If old ideas are being challenged, what new ideas should replace them?
·        Begin college prep early. It makes a big difference in your accomplishments and college application.
·        Make it fun and interactive, a full part of blended learning.
·        Don’t wait for good financial aid. Earn it by developing a plan at an early age that improves your SAT scores and uses private counseling to find affordable colleges that are right for you.
But if you want one more new idea in college prep, how about a 5-year program that covers every aspect of college prep at a price that can’t be beat. Now that’s a novel idea!


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