One of my favorite movies Is Gone With The Wind. I watched it at a very young and impressionable age and besides Wonder Woman, Scarlett O’Hara was one of the strongest women I’d ever seen. I mean, Scarlett delivered a baby and then took mother and child from burning Atlanta miles away to Scarlett’s home in a wagon with one old horse. After having two children myself, I can’t imagine how grateful Melanie must have been for Scarlett.
So what exactly does Scarlett O’Hara have to do with college planning? One of the greatest lines of the movie, and maybe of all time, still seems to resonate today.
Well, I just won’t think about that now, I’ll think about that tomorrow.
So easy to do with planning for your child’s college education and career, isn’t it? I mean, in general, through 6th, 7th, 8th grade, and maybe even 9th, you might be thinking about your child going to college and picture what that will be like. Maybe you have an alma mater that you want your child to attend. Before I became a Consultant with Optimum Ed, I more often thought of how I would feel when my babies left home and went off to school. Wow, what an eye opener it has been to realize just how early the process and planning need to start!
What does Optimum Ed do to help students and families?
The bottom line is that Optimum Ed optimizes the entire college planning process so that the end game, the college and career your child chooses, is the right one. The process includes the financial aid piece, strategies to increase aid and minimize the family’s share of paying for college. There is definitely way more to the financial aid process than just filling out the forms. I’ve learned the importance of getting in front of the process instead of chasing it in the 11th or 12th grade. I’ve also learned just how much technology has changed the process, and it keeps changing!
Right now, my husband and I have an almost thirteen year old and an eleven year old. We have a 529 Account and we are saving money for their college, so we should be pretty good, right? Checked that box. Plenty of time to “think about it tomorrow”. At least that’s what I thought until two months ago when I began working with Tom Leahy, the Managing Partner.
My oldest child has two more years of middle school, and then BAM! The road to her future career and college prep officially begins.
What path will she be on, advanced classes or regular classes? Will that make a difference in the colleges she gets into later? What will she be involved in to put on her college resume? What are her interests, would she be better working in an high paced environment like a hospital one day or a slower paced field like in a lab? Does she demonstrate leadership, or is she more comfortable following someone else’s direction? So much of their personality is apparent at this age even though it seems so young.
One very important take away so far with working for Optimum Ed is that parents need to make sure they aren’t being Scarlett, don’t say you’ll think about it tomorrow. Don’t wait until your child is in 11th or 12th grade to start talking about possible careers, colleges, and other paths like the military. And if you and your child need help, help is available. Sometimes a third party can really keep the strain off of the parent-child relationship during this time. There are processes in place that lead, guide, direct, manage, and submit everything correctly and on time which takes a huge amount of pressure off of both parent and child.
I’m already having really in depth conversations with my middle schooler about the future.
Well, as much depth as one can have at this age with so many distractions. We’re talking about different careers and choices out there in this big world of opportunity. I’m getting her to think about what Summer jobs could she have in a few years that would give her experience in a possible field she wants to go into? Who do I know that could talk to her about interior design (she changes her room around literally every two weeks and wants to constantly redecorate) and get a really good feel for what the job is all about? Basically, I’m thinking ahead.
Recently we took a trip to Charlotte, N.C and we checked out the campus of UNC-Charlotte while we were visiting. It wasn’t an official tour, just a “taste” of the school and the surroundings. Perhaps by the time she gets to high school we will have visited several more……rural, suburban, urban, large, small, there are so many to choose from! I don’t think I want to be in a panic her junior year because she needs to see fifteen different schools in fifteen different cities.
Because of Optimum Ed, I’ve already started planting the career options seeds. My firstborn 7th grader is thinking architect, interior design, something creative. Of course, my 5th grader is thinking professional soccer player so it may be a bit early to expect a response from him that doesn’t include a ball!
Scarlett O’Hara, as strong as a heroine as she was, could not bear to think about the hard stuff and put it off until tomorrow. Nowadays, she’d be the one in her sophomore year in college with an Undeclared major while Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara would be faced with taking out another $20,000 in loans for her fifth year of college! I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend the time and invest in career planning now and get ahead of that one!
This post is written by Amanda Team, a local mom of two incredible kids who is helping others learn about the services of Optimum Ed.