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From the writers at Optimum Ed….
We can all agree that as parents we want our children to be happy and successful, to be fulfilled in their career, and to be financially able to support the lifestyle they choose. But for many families, those dreams are dashed when the student finally graduates in 6 years with an unmarketable degree and thousands of dollars of student loans they can’t pay. They end up back at home working a minimum wage job with little prospects of ending the cycle.
They could go back to school and add more debt that they can’t pay for. But what guarantee do they have that a master’s degree will be any more marketable? The facts of the matter are that according to a recent study published in the New York Times, only 19% of college students today graduate in 4 years from our 4-year public schools. Nationally, that figure is only 53% in 6 years. And average student debt has grown to $37,000! That’s $550 a month for the first 10 years of the graduate’s working life! And 44% of college graduates 30 or younger are employed in non-degree jobs.
Consider that one year of college can cost an average of $24,000 at public schools and $60,000 at private. UVA is over 32,000, and the College of William and Mary is now over $37,000 a year. How about NYU? Over $72,0000!
How many families can afford another year or two of school let alone the cost of finishing in four? Yet family after family dutifully throws money down that dark tuition hole without any thought as to the return on that huge investment—as if it’s an unwritten law. The largest driver of cost for families is the student changing schools or changing majors—many more than once. They apply to college, get accepted, and plop down their deposit without any clue as to what they want to pursue academically or what that education might bring in terms of a future job and career.
Some years back when a year of college cost $5,000, the freedom to go off to college to discover oneself was financially viable. Not today. Today, there has to be a plan. A plan that addresses the appropriate career direction, which drives academics, which drives the right college—coupled with personal considerations and the financial circumstance so the family identifies the best-fit school.
No, there is no guarantee that the student will finish in 4 years. But if by better preparation the family can save just one semester of college, that could represent a minimum saving of $12,000!
Okay, how do we begin, you ask?
We begin by understanding the student: who they are, how they think, their personality and interests. We begin with an assessment that leads to an array of appropriate careers. That’s where the process begins. Through that exploration and discovery, the student can be much more surgical in what degree they should pursue in college. That’s where Optimum Ed begins as well, providing that assessment and facilitating the exploration and discovery.
Who should take advantage of the Optimum Ed assessment?
We believe the assessment can be a very useful tool not only for the high school student preparing for college but for the college student who wants to affirm that they’re heading in the right direction. It’s also helpful for the rising 9th grader whose family is faced with high school placement decisions.
- The assessment guided a high school junior to discover that her passion was international law.
- A high school senior who thought he wanted to pursue non-profit management is now tracking in marketing.
- We helped a young man reset his high school curriculum to Automotive Engineering. He graduated top in his class and is attending college.
- A college junior found out that his academic struggles were not due to his major but the college he was attending.
At the end of the day, it’s about knowing what you want to accomplish and putting a plan in place to achieve that goal. It’s also about being efficient in how we spend our higher education dollars. The Optimum Ed assessment is the foundation for both. Call (804) 417-4807 or email Optimum Ed to schedule an assessment.
Right College – Right Cost – Right Career
Optimum Ed contracts with Profiles International to use their student assessment tool, Pathway Planner. Profiles International has over 40,000 corporate clients. Millions of people have taken their assessments in over 120 countries.