More isn’t always better.
Especially when it takes 5 to 6 years on average for American college students to graduate with a 4-year college degree, and each year costs another $15,000+ for tuition, fees, room and board alone (at an average in-state college or university). Of course, that does not include many other expenses (books, supplies, travel, personal expenses…) and private schools may cost more than twice as much in tuition alone.
Yet “more” is, in fact, quite common. In this perspective, providing your student with the benefit of professional coaching may seem like a wise – and financially savvy – investment.
According to recent reports by the College Board about 40 percent of students graduate from college in four years. A fifth year could boost the total cost by about 25 percent. A report published recently by the Education Trust, an independent nonprofit organization, found that only 37 percent of first-time freshmen entering four-year bachelor’s-degree programs actually complete their degrees within four years. Another 26 percent take either five or six years. And the remaining 37 percent either don’t get their degrees at all or complete their coursework in more than six years. (read more…)
Why more? Why don’t more students graduate “on time”? Reasons vary but here are a reasonable few:
- Students may either work while attending college or take time off to work to help finance their education. Either scenario often means reduced course loads, extending the time it takes to graduate.
- Many students are switching schools. The College Board data shows “59 percent reported attending more than one institution during their undergraduate education. Of students who attended three institutions, 48 percent completed their degree within six years. Of students who attended two institutions, 70 percent graduated within six years, and 92 percent of students who attended a single institution finished within that time.”
- Teenagers often don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. The National Research Center for College and University Admissions estimates that over half of students switch majors at least once. (Ironically, many mid-career professionals who attend my keynotes and seminars confess privately that they still don’t know “what they want to be when they grow up.”)
- Some students will take remedial courses or fewer hours to protect their grade point averages (GPA).
- Students are sometimes shut out of popular or required courses because they didn’t register in time or other students have priority. Again, this stretches out the time necessary to earn the credits necessary for graduation.
- When anyone, especially someone in their late teens or early twenties, is unsure of their relatively long-term goals they tend to drift, take a more leisurely approach to life in general and, well, let’s just say they “recreate” more often. Classes don’t seem to serve a real purpose, attention slips, discipline falters, grades fall and graduation is deferred.
Career planning and decision-making
These figures emphasize the importance of career planning and decision-making. Sure, high schools and colleges provide such services – most of the results described above occurred with students who received such counseling.
If I could save you $10,000 or more in college costs
would you be interested?
In other words, if there was a way
to increase the likelihood that you or your child
will graduate on time would you take it?
How clearly defined are the students goals? Most students drift, lose focus, change majors, change schools, extend their length of time in college and even drop out because they lack a clear sense of who they are, who and what they want to be, and how they plan to become that person. They lack a keen sense of direction; thus, their education lacks purpose. This does not have to be the case.
The answer? There is no magic pill, for sure. Many young people just have not had enough experiences to know what they like, and don’t like, to have developed a passion for anything. As a result, they don’t have goals they dearly care to achieve. If there is a young person in your life, get them involved in exploring the possibilities this world has to offer. Get them reading anything they will in any way you can. Don’t let them lock into specific job titles; too many career programs produce this outcome even though the majority of today’s teenagers will someday have job titles that have yet to be invented. Do help them begin to articulate interests, skills and activities that “bring them alive”, even at the very thought of doing them.
I highly recommend 4-H involvement above most other youth development programs because of the quality of program, volunteers, professional staff support, materials and product – youth who are involved in 4-H programs for, say, 3-10 years are nearly always above average performers with a sense of personal direction. Certainly scouting provides highly worthy programs, and there are many arts, athletic and other programs (both school sponsored and clubs). Many high schools require community service, and if they don’t your family should. If your family can afford it (maybe transfer money from your entertainment budget to your education budget), give your child the opportunity to travel and enjoy “peak” experiences at camps, conferences or youth exchanges both here and abroad.
Finally, with or without these types of experiences, coaching can provide the critical experience for a promising, but undecided youth (all youth hold promise). An effective coaching program will help your aspiring high school or college student explore possibilities that he or she, right now, can’t even conceive or know to exist. A coach will help the student carefully develop a personal focus, a plan for success and discover passion in having the hope that comes from a keen sense of direction.
A coach can help your student discover untapped potential
– for a fraction of the cost of an extra year of college!
I continue to be amazed at the power of goals. A year ago, my 17-year-old didn’t have many plans 5 minutes beyond his nose, but he has a passion for hockey. We encouraged him to research what it REALLY takes to play hockey at the highest amateur, college and professional levels of the sport. He did so, and with some additional coaching developed some very realistic long-term goals (2-3 years at this point) that will allow him to develop in his career as a player.
Here is the truly exciting part: he has a contingency plan if hockey doesn’t get him a college scholarship; he has set his own personal academic, family, health and financial goals because he recognized how they affect his hockey career goals. He is a changed person – a young man with a Purpose.
Good, quality coaching will cost between $1,000 and $5,000 for the young aspiring college graduate in your life. That’s a pretty small investment compared to the time and money an extra year of college will cost. And if there is a gift I want every young person to have, it is the same one I gave my son, that sense of Purpose that comes only from having a deeply personal goal that requires high expectations of oneself.
If you would like to talk about the benefits of career coaching for yourself or a young person in your life, it’s never too late. Call me at 217.362.0500 for a free consultation. Ask about Rising Stars and similar programs.
Photo credits © Viktor Petö | Dreamstime.com