That Can Be Dangerous When Planning For And Attending College
By the time I had spent two years coaching families about how to realize the most success in college planning, it had dawned on me that the coaching wasn’t just for seniors or juniors or even sophomores. Teens that most often experienced whatever they called success started working with me in the freshman year of high school.
Over the years I have attributed successful outcomes in the college application process to good and timely advice, monitoring grades and exam scores and making sure that all required and optional work was complete far in advance of any deadline. Recently, it has come to my attention that there might be more to a longer client/advisor relationship than meets the eye.
Two years ago a pair of rising seniors who are siblings, were referred to me. We had to fast forward all the work but they performed admirably. Each of them selected a major that they seemed to be excited about and we evaluated colleges that delivered superior instruction in the area of those majors. Both students got accepted to their first-choice schools and there was even a bit of scholarship money attached to one of the acceptance letters.
After the first year, one of the students was unhappy with their college. I was asked to see what could be done to make for a better sophomore year. But in the process of discovering the problem, I and the parents were informed that a dismissal notice had been issued and that practically all the first-year courses had failing grades. Had two things been done differently, this bad start in college could have been avoided.
I discovered over the next couple months that early in this student’s life, there had been developmental problems that caused him to struggle with assignments that involved any kind of writing. It had been an inconvenience in high school but they had been able to cope with the problems. Also, the parents had not insisted on being given access to the college records.
Had I worked with this student over the course of three or four years instead of a few months, these issues that resulted in under-performance with written assignments would have been easy to catch. Because they are medically documented, it would have been easy to get additional time on college entrance exams as well as the appropriate assistance from the college. Also, had the parents had access to the college grades they would have realized there was a problem at midterm of the first semester and intervened.
Whether you have a freshman or a senior in high school, make sure you know the potential problem areas with preparing for and attending college that may be unique to the individual. Get help if you are not sure and don’t wait until the kids are rising seniors.