Owning Your Future

As a teenager, we all dream about the moment we take ownership of our first vehicle.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen; the jobs we’ll do, counting the change or dollars, making those deposits and monitoring the savings account until the day we finally make that first purchase.  Making that purchase brings a sense of pride, confidence and Ownership.

There are countless reports in the news and articles in papers or on the web addressing the skyrocketing costs of higher education.  But what is not being addressed is the fact that you can avoid some of the pitfalls by taking Ownership early.  If the National average is to change majors 3-5 times, and changing majors equals increased numbers of semesters and dollars spent, then it seems reasonable that having a more defined idea about one’s future career endeavors would increase the probability of an on-time graduation and diminished need for additional education expenses.  Taking Ownership means you take action.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful tool to help chart a course, to take action.  Did you know that by the time you are approximately 14 years old, your Natural Abilities are defined and measurable?  Imagine if you knew what they are, how they match with identified professions and combined that with a methodology to assist in learning about those professions so that you are prepared to choose a major.   You take Ownership – you take action.  That way, when you go to college you don’t waste semesters, exceed your budget, and you graduate with a meaningful degree in something you enjoy and it’s marketable.

Own your future.  Ownership is powerful!

Up 10%

I speak frequently about the ridiculous amount of student loan debt in our country. Not that there aren’t times and situations that they are warranted, but all too often they are a product of irresponsible choices.  Irresponsible meaning that students and families do not invest the time and effort into exploring options before they commit to majors and then change their mind.  In changing majors, you loose at least one semester, so the graduation target gets pushed back and the monetary investment gets extended.  The national average indicates that students will change majors 3-5 times in the course of their four-year degree, but in doing so they end up graduating in six years instead of four.

The newest data shows that loan debt has increased 10% over last year.  Here is a very cool interactive map that shows state-by-state the amount of loan debt and % of students with loan debt. http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/college/student-debt-map-2012/?iid=EL

Need help exploring your options and developing a plan NOT to be one of the statistics.  I am not a financial consultant, but I am  a college and career advisement specialist.  Contact me.

Pro-Active vs. Pro-long Debt

Once again, the issue of student loan debt is in the news.  The angle this time, universities suing students over unpaid loan debt.  But what continually goes unaddressed is the fact that nationally, students change their majors 3-5 times and each “change of the mind” results in approximately one semester of extended time for degree completion.  Multiply that times 3-5 and you have gone from a 4 year graduation plan to 6 years spent on a 4 year degree.

Determining a career path and choosing a “good fit” college require tremendous effort and diligence.  I am continually baffled by human nature.  We spend hours searching for the perfect car or house, but typically far less time picking a career or college.  Often we are simply influenced by where our friends go, what our parents do for a living, or the latest craze on TV and in the media.  So it is no surprise that 60-85% of Americans dislike their chosen field of work.

But there is a far better method.

  1. Read the linked article – click here
  2. Determine if you will be proactive or risk being a National statistic
  3. Contact me for a proactive approach for a great college fit and career direction

Part of the problem with student loan debt is the fact that university costs are rising.  But you don’t have to fall into the trap of the 6 year graduation group and go broke in the doing.  And you don’t have to fall into the 60-85 % of disillusioned American workers.  Love what you do!

  1. Go with a purpose
  2. Get a great experience in college
  3. Make a career out of something you love and are Naturally inclined to be successful

What action will you take today?

Critical Questions for Funding a College Education

This week we have a Guest Blog written by Mike Dailey, owner of College Authority in Connecticut.  Mike has 25 years of experience working with families and college funding strategies.  He has spoken at many high schools and brings great insight to the college process.  While he is based in Connecticut, the Internet makes business anywhere a reality.  I hope you will enjoy his perspective and expertise!

Financial aid is a critical piece of paying for college for most families, and even if it is not, why are you spending unnecessary dollars?  Unfortunately, paying for college can be an extremely complex and convoluted process with colleges having different financial aid forms and filing deadlines. On top of that, there are formulas used to determine a family’s eligibility for federal aid and a college’s need based financial aid and non-need aid, scholarships and grants.  Colleges typically do not explain how the formulas are derived but they can easily be determined college by college if you know how to look up their aid statistics. Knowing this information puts the family in the driver’s seat to understand their aid eligibility and to appeal their aid package if they feel they have been shorted.

Between now and January, seniors will be submitting applications and financial paperwork will need to be filed with your institutions of choice.  Have you considered these questions:

  • How to make college affordable regardless of our income level
  • How to maximize our family’s eligibility for college financial aid
  • What are the little known funding sources available even if we don’t qualify for need based aid
  • What to do we do if the value of our 529 college savings plan is down by 25-40%
  • How do we pay for college without sacrificing our retirement
  • How do we pay for college even if I lose my job in the next 12 months
  • How do we determine exactly how much money we’ll need to pay for college expenses
  • Are there colleges that offer the best shot of getting a good financial aid package
  • Is it possible to attend an expensive private university for less than the cost of a state college

Feel free to email us for a complimentary phone consultation by visiting our website: collegeauthorityct.com

I want to say a special Thanks to Mike for sharing some of his expertise and taking the time to provide some very important questions for consideration.

Plan Ahead for All Around Success

When you eval­u­ate the cost or invest­ment in some­thing, some­times we humans can be a bit short sighted.  So when it comes to eval­u­at­ing the cost of a col­lege edu­ca­tion and your invest­ment of time, you want to make sure you invest well and pro­vide good mar­ketabil­ity for your­self.  You also want to reduce the poten­tial of debt after graduation.

There is an excel­lent arti­cle, The Best Val­ues in Pub­lic Col­leges that ranks 20 of the best uni­ver­si­ties and rea­sons for the rank­ings.  I point this out because there is an addi­tional fac­tor to pay atten­tion to in these num­bers and it isn’t printed.  The last col­umn on the chart iden­ti­fies “Aver­age debt at grad­u­a­tion.”  This is important…many states, like Florida, offer aca­d­e­mic schol­ar­ship dol­lars to in-state stu­dents based on GPA.  But even with those dol­lars, the “Aver­age debt at grad­u­a­tion” for stu­dents at Uni­ver­sity of Florida is $16,013.  Maybe your most eco­nom­i­cal and major spe­cific insti­tu­tion isn’t in-state.  Look at all of your options.

By doing some work up front, you can explore careers, majors and schools that are inter­est­ing, make sense and are a nat­ural fit for you.  That’s where I can pro­vide you excel­lent guid­ance and steps to cre­at­ing an effec­tive plan for col­lege and career direc­tion.  Those steps help to lead you to a great col­lege experience, on-time grad­u­a­tion with a mean­ing­ful degree that is mar­ketable in a career path geared to your sat­is­fac­tion and reward.

Get­ting the biggest return on an edu­ca­tional invest­ment means:

  • Grad­u­at­ing on Time
  • Reduced or No Stu­dent Loan Debt
  • Mar­ketable Degree
  • High Degree of Sat­is­fac­tion in Career Path

Click here for more infor­ma­tion on cre­at­ing a suc­cess­ful high school and col­lege to work­place plan.

Click here for the full arti­cle and table – The Best Val­ues in Pub­lic Colleges.

Click here for evidence that Loan Debt isn’t just for the younger student.