Just last week I met with a family whose oldest child started high school this week. The young lady was excited to be starting the part of her education that would lead to college. Her parents were obviously delighted that she took such an interest in the process. As I gathered my things to leave, this question was posed, “why doesn’t everyone sign up for services like yours?” I didn’t have an answer. No one has ever argued that planning for life after high school is a bad idea, but why don’t more people think that it is a great idea and get help making it happen?
The only point of reference I have is my own experiences and observations. Back in the olden days when I was in high school, my plans were not to go to college. My older brother had gone into the Navy and my older sister had enlisted in the Air Force. I was debating between the Navy and the Marines. Looking back, I would likely have had to fight a lot being only 5’ 6” tall and carrying a label like “Jar Head.” Anyway, there was a plan that got changed only two months before graduation. Because this was more than two generations ago, I was able to apply to college and complete the FAFSA in time to receive admission to the one school I applied to and get a Pell Grant. Of course the things I didn’t know still made college more expensive than it should have been. No one told me that when you qualify for a Pell Grant that you become eligible for additional state and federal education dollars. Also, my achievements in high school put me in a great position to win a number of scholarships that I didn’t know about. Those details could have made a world of difference.
So, plans change at the last minute and families are uninformed… But, here is where my situation is different than many I see today. I was ready for anything. I had four years of metal fabrication experience already through my Agriculture Science classes, there was the option of military service and of course college. Employers are looking for the same skills and intelligence as the colleges. No matter what you want to do after high school, you prepare the same way. In light of that reality, the answer to the question I was asked about why everyone doesn’t sign up for services like mine, “I have no idea.”