College

College: 10 Reasons it is so Expensive

Let’s talk college and why it is so expensive. After 10+ years in the business I want to share my perspective on why there is such a staggering amount of student loan debt. In no particular order, here is my list:

  1. Parents are not saving money (new houses, cars, etc)
  2. Kids are not saving money (think about Starbucks)
  3. Choice between creating a legacy or living a lifestyle
  4. Skipping the talk about finances before applying to a college
  5. Forgetting that attending school is a privilege not an entitlement
  6. Parents not saying ‘no’ or making excuses
  7. Loss of opportunity by kids–take the standardized tests, meet with college reps, market yourself, study, etc
  8. Yes, your child is wonderful but…..where’s the right school
  9. Labels do not pay the bills, focus on outcome
  10. Say no if the school does not make sense socially, academically or financially. It’s okay.

It comes down to having the tough conversations as a family. Often times, it’s simply a matter of everyone sitting down and talking. Review your budget, see how much you have saved for college and then look for ways to save more. We joke in our seminars that SAVE is the new 4 letter word, but it is a foreign concept to most families.

It would be easy to begin a rant, but that isn’t going to solve anything. Attend one of our free workshops, sign up for that free consultation and by all means, start saving.

All the best,

~Marc

 

College & Organization

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Dear Parent,

We would like to wish a Happy New Year to you and your family… we hope that this coming year of 2019 is one of great success and happiness, and that there are many opportunities for you to take great strides toward accomplishing the academic dreams of your college-bound high school student. 

Of course, each new year brings your child closer and closer to the day when he or she will graduate from high school and head off to an exciting new life as a college or university freshman… and time certainly does not seem to be slowing down at this stage of the process!  If anything, as we work with tomorrow’s college students, it seems that things are speeding up exponentially as we do so.

One of the things that we have noticed over our years in this field of college preparation is that the students and families that tend to see the most success are often the students and families who grasp the importance of organization as they approach high school performance, college application, college financial preparation, and nearly every other element of the higher education process.

Now, rest assured, we are fully aware that some people just seem to have an “organizational gene” and they thrive on having everything “just so…” and other people are more challenged in that regard.  Honestly, it is our experience that this sort of predisposition can be a benefit, but in the long run it really does not matter –  as long as students and families can follow instructions and have a desire to make the right steps, organizational skills CAN be taught… and learned!  We see it each and every year.

Along those lines, we have a series of tools in place to help with the organizational elements of college preparation and application, and we are definitely the experts in helping families with the management of these important tasks as well as preparing financially for the college years.  But why do we bother?

We bother because it matters to us.  The future success of your college-bound student, as well as the ability of your family to be able to make these dreams happen financially, are precisely the things that make the difference in everything that we do as college funding advisors.  It is what we do.

Bearing that in mind, this month’s newsletter will focus specifically on the importance of organization in college preparation at all levels, both academic and with applications, as well as introducing some of the things that we make available to help families of all types to be optimally prepared for the coming realities of college application and college financial preparation.  We hope that this will be a key in either cementing your resolve to organize the process, or to spark your interest in making it a reality for your family and your student.

1. Organizational Skills In High School

 Ideally, tomorrow’s college students should start developing some excellent organizational skills during the high school years.  Now, we know that some parents (OK… many parents) will take a look at the state of their child’s bedroom and shrink away in despair at that idea, but let us remind you that it is a PROCESS, and developing these organizational skills takes some time for many young people.  The most important thing is that it happens, and this can be a huge benefit academically and in their future college career.

For most students, seeing a modicum of increased success by planning a project well helps to instill a desire to continue in that vein… even if it is not always consistent at the outset.  A series of rewards and assistance in the process can make a big difference early on, and the results will begin to speak for themselves.  Once a college-bound student – who is usually interested in his or her Grade Point Average – can see what organizing a project does for the end result, it can serve as a huge motivating factor.

There is no one correct way to organize high school academics.  Some people swear by technology and smart phones.  Others prefer to use a more old-school method of writing in a notebook or planner.  It really does not matter which way works best for your child, as long as the process is in place.  Regardless, the main thing is that the overall process gets started, and that the positive results instill a desire for increased organization. 

Remember that most students who can slide by with decent (or even very good) grades in high school while procrastinating often find that such actions have a rather dire effect on their academic performance at the next level of their education… so help your student to start now, the earlier the better.

2. Organizing The College Application Process

This is an organizational effort that far too many families do not think about until they are knee deep in the process, and trying to dig themselves out of a confusing mess!  Going into the college application season without an organizational plan can be frustrating, yes, but it can also actually be disastrous. 

All it takes is one missed deadline at a dream school to actually submarine a student’s acceptance or financial aid offer, and we are sorry to report that this literally happens each and every year.  Imagine a student working so hard and diligently for four years of high school, and then having a dream crash and burn because of something as silly as a missed deadline!  For this reason, as well as several others, we seriously recommend having a separate application calendar for the management of the entire college application process – and it should be one of those large-sized wall calendars, ideally. 

It is also important for students to have an organized application strategy, so that he or she is applying to the best schools for his or her interests, background, goals, and personality.  All of these types of details are available to students, but they can only be optimally managed in advance when you work with an expert who knows the process, the specifics about each school that interests your child, and their admissions statistics.  Obviously, as professionals in this area, we are uniquely well-equipped in this regard and are happy to assist with the organizational elements of college application.

Having a well-managed application process can actually lead to more acceptances, and it can help families to obtain the very best financial aid offers, as well.  It really does make a difference.


3. Successfully Managing The Money Side Of Things

The bulk of the financial preparation for higher education naturally usually falls to the parents, since very few high school kids are able to fund a college education on their own and most forward-thinking parents want to help their children to stay out of student debt as much as possible.  With this reality in mind, it is absolutely vital for parents to start their organization of finances with an eye toward college costs as early as possible.

Some parents (or grandparents, for that matter) will start a college funding account for a child at a very young age, and some families even manage to save some money in that account over the years leading up to high school.  Many, alas, do not.  But regardless, this is NOT the kind of organization that we are talking about when we discuss college funding organization.  The subject is far too detailed and multi-faceted (not to mention, too expensive) to be effectively managed with a simple savings account!

We keep our fingers on the pulse of the ever-changing college funding scene and are uniquely qualified to help families manage their fiscal decisions in the years leading up to college to optimize their efforts.  And yes, ideally, we mean in the years (plural) leading up to college.  While we are able to help families from almost any circumstance, even later in the game, our hands are definitely somewhat tied when parents do not decide to plan until the last year of high school.  By that point, many of the tried-and-true options available to families are no longer available.  So yes, in this case, the early bird gets the worm… or at least, access to more worms. 

With that in mind, we can detail the best options available to parents, and help them to organize these efforts to maximum effect as the college years approach.  An organized and knowledgeable strategy is the most effective way for a family to prepare for the college years, and we are able to detail each step of the process so that there is no need to feel overwhelmed.  Simply contact us at your convenience and we can show you how.

If parents and students are willing to take the steps necessary to organize themselves in preparation for the future college and university experience, they will often find that they are much more successful in their endeavors than those people who did not do so.  As students approach their application process, we have a number of services available to help them select schools for which they are ideally suited, as well as assisting them in organizing and managing the entire process from application to admission letter.

For parents, we are likewise well-prepared.  As a part of our long-standing educational effort, we offer live College Funding Workshops for the parents of tomorrow’s college students.  These detailed programs are presented in-person by some of the very best college funding professionals, and help address the needs of parents who are preparing themselves for future higher education costs.  To fit your schedule, we schedule these workshops at the times which tend to work best for parents, including evenings and weekends due to work conflicts. We never charge an admission fee to the workshops, but space limitations and presentation quality dictate that we must require an advance reservation.

For details about the upcoming College Funding Workshops in your area, simply talk with someone from our workshop team at 614-934-1515.  We have all of the schedule updates, answers to any questions about future locations, and assistance with more information about the workshops themselves.  Our friendly staff will also be happy to assist you in making a reservation for any one of the workshops scheduled in your area.

We have also published an outstanding written report about the financial elements of funding a future college or university education.  This report has been specifically created for parents and discusses a number of important details about the college funding maze.  We are quite pleased with this report, which is called “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College.” This report, like the workshop, is also available free of any cost or obligation.  It offers some great insights into the financial preparation required before the college or university years, as well as covering facts about the financial aid process. 

Simply email info@midwestcollegeplanning.com to request the report.

            Until next month,

Early Strategies for College Funding

 

“Playing the ‘Long Game’ –  Early Strategies That Pay Off In College Funding

Dear Parents,

One of the things that we hear from a number of parents over and over again – especially as the time comes for their child to graduate from high school and head off to college – is the refrain “I get the feeling that we REALLY should have started this whole thing sooner.”  Unfortunately, in many cases, we tend to have to agree with them.  If experience teaches us anything through working on college funding year after year, it is that the earlier a family gets started on things, the more favorably things seem to end up as the college years begin!

That is not to say that we cannot assist families who have procrastinated a bit (or a lot), but there is no question that things can sometimes get a lot more complicated and challenging in those cases.  We endeavor to help all families who seek our assistance, but it can be a big relief on all sides if families have decided to start early and “play the long game” when it comes to preparing for the money side of their child’s college experience.

It should be pretty clear that college costs are definitely not on the decline in the United States, so with that reality in mind, it is becoming increasingly important for folks to start their college funding process as early as possible.  Undergraduate student loans will be at 5.05% and Parent Plus loans will be at 7.6% as of July 1, 2018.

Over time, we have learned a number of aspects of the college preparation equation that can be started early on – and also have seen how families can benefit from making the decision to stay ahead of the game by starting early.  The “long game” can include elements that extend throughout the high school years, or even before, and other elements that need to be started as early as possible, but within a specific window of time.

In an ongoing quest to help with this effort, this month’s newsletter covers a number of different things that families can consider as part of their planning for a college future for their kids.  Some of them may be things that you can consider now, others will apply directly to the year in which a child applies for college and financial aid, but all of them are important.

One thing you will note is that we make frequent reference to consulting with a College Funding Advisor – and this is because these things require a firm grasp of the process.  There are families who can manage without our help, and some certainly do.  However, we have a track record of dealing successfully with these financial elements and optimizing them for families in a way that most people cannot.  Should you have any specific questions about the tips below, please do not hesitate to call us.  We will be happy to help in any way that we can.

Tip 1: File The FAFSA Early

The old saying that “the early bird gets the worm” bears particular weight when it comes to financial aid. There have been new and positive changes regarding the FAFSA in the past year. For one thing, parents are now able to file on October 1st rather than waiting until January 1st. This new rule will make it infinitely easier for parents applying for next year to get a start on their financial aid process and stay ahead of the game.

It is also important to note that there are schools that distribute aid money on a first-come, first-served basis. They will continue to distribute until those funds are totally exhausted. Additionally, there are currently seven states that currently have a first-come, first-served financial aid policy for state aid. These states are Alaska, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, and Washington.

If you are submitting early, this can mean that you need to use some estimates on your application.  Because of this, you simply need to go into the website later to update the estimated information with the more accurate numbers as soon as you have them. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, however, is also available to insert current data without the need for you to enter and update the information manually.

There are also some schools that will want to use the additional “CSS Profile” form to assess financial aid eligibility. This application requires more information than is necessary for completing the FAFSA. The CSS Profile will also sometimes have a deadline that is different than the FAFSA, depending on the school. Because of this, it is important to check all the details for each school very carefully.

Tip 2: Make Wise Money Decisions

When the FAFSA formulas are applied to your child’s assets, the government can and will assume that a significant portion of your child’s funds are eligible for use for college. The rate at which the assets held by the parents is assessed is maxed out at a much lower rate. Because of this, family funds should be managed in a beneficial way so that they are not placed in the formula and unduly assessed at a much higher rate.

This is something that your college funding advisor can discuss with you, and his or her advice can make a huge difference!  He or she will be able to explain which options are the most beneficial for you and your child, and which will affect your bottom line most favorably.  Learning where funds can be placed and protected will frequently allow a college student to maintain some assets intact while at the same time making him or her eligible for a more substantial financial aid offer.

If your child is very young then you can save in parental savings accounts instead of accounts set up in your child’s name. This will further protect your child’s funds when it comes time for those funds to be assessed in the financial aid formulas.  Discuss these details with your College Funding Advisor for best results.

Tip 3: Explain Yourself – If You Need To

Unexpected things can happen in life – an accident, a death in the family, a divorce, an illness. These are all things that can occur and can cause a disturbance in one’s life and may result in the need to explain extenuating financial or personal circumstances. If you are the main breadwinner in the family and were unexpectedly injured and it required a long recovery period away from work then this is something that could be explained on your FAFSA application. There are many questions on the application on the form but there isn’t a section that is labeled “Extenuating Circumstances.”

For example, if you or your spouse were laid off from work then you could explain this to them in a detailed letter. It is important to provide as much documentation as possible to bolster your claims for consideration. For example, a notice from your company detailing recent layoffs would be the right type of backup information that would be useful to be included.

Tip 4: Spend Some Money – But Not Too Much

Having a lot of money in your savings account is always a good thing!  Well, OK, except for when you are applying for financial aid with the FAFSA. Since the assets will be assessed at the time of filing, sometimes it’s a good idea to whittle some of those assets down so that you have a lower asset base to be assessed when you file. If you have credit card debt, this would a good time to pay it off. Or, you could pay more towards your mortgage. There are a number of options available, and it is good to discuss them with a College Funding Advisor to see which best suits your situation.

Remember that there is a considerable amount that can be sheltered in the formula before it is assessed (approximately $50,000) so this tip is most worthwhile for those who spend a lot and save a lot.

Tip 5: Pay Attention To Your Assets

There are many things that must be reported on your FAFSA. But, not EVERYTHING needs to be reported. For example, bank and brokerage accounts, CDs, mutual funds, college savings plans, stocks and bonds, real estate and other types of investments are included in the reportable assets category.

There are, however, quite a number of non-reportable assets that may provide some much needed flexibility. These non-reportable assets are the equity in your home, annuities, IRAs, 401k plans and other accounts like that and a small business that is owned and operated by your family.

If you have some concerns, you could consider moving some assets over to the non-reportable category. This, of course, can be discussed in detail with your College Planning Advisor who will be able to show you the best ways those assets can be strategically placed in order to maximize your ability to receive aid.

Tip 6: Be Honest!

There are many ways to strategize and plan the best ways to maximize your child’s financial aid benefits. However, being dishonest in any way on the FAFSA form is definitely not the way to do it. Misreporting, misleading or lying about assets or income is a type of fraud and can result in a fine of up to $20,000.

In addition to the fine, any financial aid rewards are forfeited and there is even a possibility of prison time. Needless to say, it is just not worth the risk and it is definitely not the right thing to do. Working with a trusted advisor will result in the best results and will give you peace of mind at the same time.

We have other ways of helping the parents of college-bound students to learn important details regarding the fiscal preparations for college or university studies.  One way we manage this is via our in-person College Funding Workshops.  These workshops, featuring information directly from the finest college funding professionals around, offer a wonderful service to those who are seeking pertinent details regarding the costs of higher education.  These presentations are kept both timely and focused, with current information that is abreast of any recent changes that can affect rising college students and their families.

Our workshops do not require any entrance fee, but to keep groups to a manageable size we do insist on reservations in advance.  If you would like to know more about upcoming College Funding Workshops near you, please contact our workshop crew at 614-934-1515.  These helpful folks can provide all the necessary information about content, workshop locations, scheduling, or any other workshop questions.  They can also assist with reservations, should you wish to make one.

Aside from the workshops, we also provide a written report for parents who prefer to receive their college financial information in written form.  We have titled this report “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College.” Just like the workshops, it is available to all parents free of any cost or obligation.  To receive a copy of “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” you can call a member of our team at 614-934-1515 and we will send one to you right away.

Until next month,

 

 

 

Planning for your Child’s Financial Success

“Key Ways To Avoid

College Debt And Protect Your

Student’s Future Financial Health

 

Dear Parent,

There are many important tasks that we take on whenever we work with the family of a future college student – but one of the overarching goals that we have for each and every aspiring young person is to allow them to complete their college education without incurring student debt.  It is not an exaggeration for us to state that accomplishing this goal for a new college graduate can literally alter the financial trajectory of their young lives as they begin their pursuits and professions as adults.

There is no question that student debt is increasing to staggering amounts for an enormous amount of college students – often the case whether these students graduate or not, remember, because the debt does not disappear if a student drops out of college – and this can have a sobering effect on young people who are just getting started in life.

We focus on this because we have seen how proper planning with regard to the financial aspect of college preparation can save both college students and their parents from incurring unnecessary debt, even at “expensive private schools.”  A debt-free start to a career post-college is quite seriously one of the most important advantages that we can offer to a young person, and it is becoming less and less frequent these days.

College debt is now being viewed by far too many people as a “normal part” of the educational process, and far too many families think nothing of racking up tens of thousands of dollars (or even more than that!) in pursuit of a college degree.  We could not disagree more!  There ARE ways to avoid college debt, and doing so allows for a freedom and a brighter future that is sorely lacking for many new college graduates these days.

Because of the importance of this task, we have decided to devote this month’s newsletter to some of the many opportunities and strategies that we employ wherever and whenever possible to specifically help students and their families avoid student debt while they complete their years of higher education.  Of course, the individual situations can be extremely different for each family, depending on a vast variety of considerations, so when it comes to avoiding college debt there is really no better partner than a college funding advisor… your resident expert on all details related to the management college costs.

Old Fashioned Savings

There is something to be said for all of those students who take the initiative to work during the summer vacation – or even during the school year in some cases – in order to save up money for their future college education.  Perhaps surprisingly, aside from obviously applauding their excellent work ethic and forethought regarding college preparation, the other thing that is to be said is: BE CAREFUL!

Yes, even with something as seemingly benign as saving money for college, students need to be aware and recognize that they really need to obtain good advice and keep a close eye on their savings.  This is because there are actually strict federal limitations on the amount of money that a student can earn and put away toward college before it begins to adversely affect their eligibility for college financial aid!

There are many, many good things that can come from being willing to work and save for college.  The lessons that can be learned from that experience can play a huge role in their future successes later on in life.  But we urge you to confer with a qualified college funding advisor so that you know how much of their hard-earned savings can go toward college, so as to avoid disappointment later.

«Good» Financial Aid

Student financial aid sometimes can get a bad reputation in some circles when people only focus on the student loan side of things.  Well, as we mentioned above, student loans for college are something that we very purposefully aim to avoid! However, it is important to understand that there are many different elements to student financial aid and they are NOT all detrimental to the future money management of a young college student.

Without sugar-coating things, student loans are, quite simply, loans… which means that these funds need to be paid back after college graduation (with interest, as well).  The fact that student loans are so prevalent in America does not in any way mean that they are a good idea!    In July federal student loan rates will increase to 5.05% for undergraduate loans and 7.6% for the parent plus loans.

On the other hand, student aid in the form of grants are what we like to call «free money» because they DO NOT need to be repaid after graduation.  Grants may be given to a student for a variety of reasons ranging from financial need, to the encouragement of higher education among certain groups, to students who are service veterans, etc.  The amount of money can vary, sometimes substantially, but regardless, they do not need to be repaid!

Scholarships are another – perhaps better-known – form of «free money» that are offered to a student directly because of his or her high performance and/or promise in academics, athletics, the arts, or other areas.  Like grants, they also can vary in size from relatively small sums (which still look great on a resumé, by the way) to the so-called «full-ride» scholarships which cover all – or nearly all – costs!

While grants and scholarships are great, and it is gratifying to receive one or more of them, the simple fact is that most students will find that it is NOT possible to fully fund their college education based on these sources of « gift aid ».  Because of this, it is extremely important to look at all of the college funding options available in order to avoid racking up student debt during the college years.

Work-Study Programs

Some students are scared away from «Work-Study» programs either because they are afraid that they will have no life away from class and an on-campus job, or because they have heard some (usually unsubstantiated) rumors about students being forced to work at terrible jobs at their college or university.

In actuality, there can be some truly inspiring and exciting options available to students who are willing to look for them.  Work-Study is a program that offers students financial aid based on their willingness to work on campus in some capacity.  Students who start the process early enough can find work options in departments that are of great interest to them, which can lead to experience in their area of study, not to mention valuable working interactions with faculty members and professors.

Even those who come later to the process and accept more menial positions will often find that the hours are flexible (or sensibly planned) and that a part-time job can be a great opportunity to have a regular, temporary escape from the stressors of college… and one that helps to keep them out of student debt, to boot !

Family Financial Foresight

One of the most important ways for students and their families to avoid student debt is by implementing a solid and well-thought-out financial plan – preferably as early as possible – with the insight of a college funding advisor.

A college funding professional can help with all aspects oft he college application and funding process, including the optimized planning of financial decisions – because remember, these decisions, many of which will not seem to have anything to do with college at all – will directly affect aid determinations in the future.

Determining a timeline for college applications and admissions can also help with the overall (and ever-increasing) cost of the admissions process, and a similar timeline covering major financial decisions and management can literally save families thousands of dollars within a very short period of time.

Because of this, we always recommend seeking insights from someone who knows all of the details surrounding the college process best, and someone who specializes directly in these areas.  We have seen it pay dividends and assist in the fulfillment of college dreams time and time again, so there is no question in our minds that it is an important step to take.  We certainly urge the families of future college students to begin early with this all-important process, regardless of current circumstances !

Now, some of the details in this month’s newsletter regarding the avoidance of college debt could apply directly to your family’s finances or your student’s circumstances.  By the same token, others may not.  For more personalized details, of course, we are pleased to provide individual help that is tailored to your needs, as well as the future academic pursuits of your high school student(s)… wherever they might lead.

While we are quite proud of these monthly newsletters, the simple fact is that the newsletters are far from the ONLY way that we reach out to help the parents of college-bound kids when it comes to the nuts and bolts of financial management for higher education.  Another popular option for many parents involves attendance at our live College Funding Workshops, which are delivered by some of the best college funding professionals around.

These presentations are specifically tailored to the needs of parents who are seeking a greater understanding of the often-confusing financial preparations for their child’s upcoming efforts in higher education.  We are also proud to report that the information provided at these workshops is up-to-date with regard to any of the yearly changes in college funding requirements, because we stay right on top of these details each and every cycle.

Our workshops are offered without any attendance fee or obligation for those who attend, but we do require a reservation in advance in order to manage our logistics and keep the attendance to a reasonably sized group.  To receive more details about any of the upcoming College Funding Workshops scheduled near you, simply place a call to our helpful workshop staff members.  You can reach them by dialing 614-934-1515.  They will be able to help with details about times, dates, locations, or any other questions about upcoming workshops.  They will also be happy to assist with reservations, of course.

In addition, we offer a key report that is published for parents seeking the vital information about optimal preparation for future college funding.  Our report is called “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College” and our team is instructed to mail it to parents free of any cost or obligation – just like the workshops.  If you would like your own copy of “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” contact our staff at 614-934-1515.  It will be our pleasure to send one to you directly.

Until next month,

Hidden Costs of College Revealed

                                                                          January 2018       

“The Hidden Costs of College

That Many People Rarely Seem to Talk About!

With the holidays in the rearview mirror and a new calendar year beginning, there are plenty of folks who are spending a little time focusing on plans and changes for the New Year.  Whether you are engaging in some resolutions or not, we find that it is a good idea each year to expend some effort in planning for and understanding all of the details surrounding your child’s future educational endeavors.  Again, it is our experience that the earlier one begins this process, the better things seem to work out in the long run!

We are the professionals when it comes to understanding and preparing for higher education, from application plans and college selection, to fiscal preparation and cost-saving plans for the college students of tomorrow.  This is what we focus on day in, and day out, and it gives us great professional pride and satisfaction to help families tackle such an important step in the lives of their children.

One of the biggest surprises that seems to blindside a lot of parents (and their college-bound kids) is a breakdown of the overall costs of college these days.  It is no secret that tuition costs are rising, and with the increase in cost of living the total bill can be something that puts a large lump into a lot of parents’ throats, no matter how much money their family takes home in salary each year.

However, completing that college or university degree is an important goal, so it is vital to have a keen grasp on the overall costs so that proper and sufficient preparation can be made in advance.  Let there be no doubt about it, paying for college these days represents a significant financial challenge, and it is important to understand all of the potential costs in advance, so no huge surprises crop up later.

In an effort to help families prepare, we are focusing this month’s newsletter on some groups of education costs that tend to really add up during the college years, although we find that some families either grossly underestimate (or even sometimes completely overlook) them in looking ahead to their child’s years pursuing higher education.

We recognize these things because we see them regularly as college funding experts – and if our experience can assist with your family’s personal college funding circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.  We have managed this type of monumental event in other families’ lives, and we can proffer the most suitable information for your family’s college preparations, as well.

Group 1: Living Expenses

Yes, of course, most people are quite well aware that there are living expenses at most colleges and universities (while places like the military service academies are a rare exception, for example).  However, what can be surprising is just how quickly these costs can add up – especially when a college student changes living circumstances between semesters or academic years, as an example.

It simply does not take very long at all for costs like off-campus rent, restaurant or take-out food costs, mobile phone bills, and others to add up and put a serious strain on the semester budget.  Remember that schools will give an estimated cost for living expenses, but these estimations can vary wildly in their accuracy and their expectations, which may or may not represent those of your family and/or your student.  Your list of expenses may not match up with the school’s anticipated list of expenses, and it is infrequent that the differences work out to the advantage of the parents, in our experience!

Of course, the school has direct control over the costs for a dorm or apartment on campus, and the on campus cafeteria food plans are also not going to come as a surprise to those in charge at the college or university, since they are part of the organization making the price lists.  But wow, once you start factoring in off-campus or unrelated expenses?  Well, that is one time when things can certainly start to add up to real money in a hurry.

For this reason, any changes in living arrangements during the undergraduate years should be gone over extremely carefully, and not made in haste if it is at all avoidable.  Budgets are generally set in advance for an academic year, so making a change between terms or semesters can also create some unintended – but very real – challenges with the cash flow.  Regardless, remember that a chat with your college funding advisor can be extremely helpful when it comes to reviewing and planning for the full spectrum of living expenses at your child’s college or university of choice – and any changes that may come around during the college years, as well.

Group 2: Direct Academic Costs

We hope this does not come as a surprise, but no… tuition costs are not the ONLY academic fees involved in higher education!  Yes, it is the largest one in most cases, but there are a number of additional potential costs that can wreak havoc with the finances if they are not reviewed in advance and taken into full consideration.

Students who are interested in studying the sciences, or taking a series of pre-medical coursework, especially classes with extensive laboratory components, will find that “Lab Fees” are added to the regular tuition costs.  Even students who are only taking a required science class as a graduation requirement will often find Lab Fees or other course fees tacked on to their tuition bill.  Schools have to calculate in extra costs for lab materials and lab instructors for these types of courses, and they pass those costs directly on to the consumer… meaning, the student!

Students who find themselves having challenges in a certain area may also wish to avail themselves of outside tutoring, which is usually at an additional cost to tuition, as well.  Some schools will have peer tutoring available, which is great in principle, but the quality of the academic help can vary substantially depending on who is available.

Group 3: Extracurricular Costs

Many universities and colleges offer a wide variety of outside educational activities for their students, which can be absolutely wonderful opportunities for learning, growth, development, and even future careers and job options.  Many of these optional activities also can tend to significantly drive up the overall costs for a student while in college, as well.

A few of these options can be exchange programs with other universities, foreign language immersion programs (in a foreign country, with program and travel and living costs!), special training options at industry or government programs, etc.  Clubs and other organizations will also add to the costs for a semester or academic year, sometimes quite substantially, so these things need to be discussed in advance whenever possible.

With this type of expenditure in mind, it is important to look ahead and see what offerings might be of interest to your child during his or her studies – both in the classroom and outside of the study hall – especially considering his or her interests, and try to plan for these types of costs in the academic budget.

Group 4: Unnecessary Costs!

Yes, it is true… the very presence of this group in our newsletter DOES mean that there are costs that many people pay for higher education that are completely and utterly unnecessary.  Often, these costs are due to poor planning or incomplete preparation, and the assistance of a college funding professional can make all of the difference in that regard.  Here are a few examples of frequent costs that people take upon themselves that could be avoided in many, many of the cases we see.

Paying for extra terms, semesters, or even years of tuition, for example, is almost always something that can be avoided with proper planning and focused student performance.  However, the average time that students spend in their undergraduate studies seems to be extending well beyond four years pretty regularly, which means that the schools are able to sock away more and more tuition from students who could have (and very often should have) graduated long ago.  As long as they can keep filling the classes, of course, the schools will usually be happy to keep taking tuition money!

Unbudgeted recreational costs can add up in a hurry, and we have seen cases where undisciplined students have blown substantial college funds on their “social life” and literally run out of money before the end of a term or semester.  Preparation is key, and it is important to include (and follow!) a budget with money for recreation planned into the overall cost.

Even costs like food can come back to unnecessarily bite students (and their parents) later, if a student does not have a well-organized food plan at the college level – there is a huge difference between a pre-paid, on-campus plan with the cafeterias, and unmanaged spending on take-out Thai food and pizzas, so there must be an understanding and a realistic plan in place to avoid running up a food bill that decimates the financial plan for the whole academic year.

Understanding all of the expected costs helps families prepare in ways that can avoid the unnecessary hits to the wallet that many others will experience.  We are well-versed in these issues and will be pleased to assist you should you so desire – just let us know if we can help out in any way!

Aside from our monthly newsletters, one way that we try to help the parents of college-bound high school students understand more about financial preparation for college is through our excellent, live College Funding Workshops.  These presentations, including face-to-face interactions with some of the best college funding professionals available, provide a valuable service to parents who want to learn more about the money side of their child’s future college or university education.  Our workshop information is always up to date and accurate, and we find that parents recommend it highly!

The workshops are without any entrance fee for participants, but we require advance reservations for planning and maintaining an optimal learning group size.  For questions about the College Funding Workshops coming up in your area, our workshop staff can be called 614-934-1515.  These team members will be able to assist with information about locations, content, time and dates, or other workshop details.  They are also able to offer reservations, if you already know that you wish to join us.

We also have published a written report for parents who need the most vital information regarding optimal planning for college expenses.  We call this report “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College.” As with the workshops, we send it out to interested parents free of charge and without any obligation.  For your own copy of “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” just reach out to our staff at 614.934.1515 and they will be please to e-mail one out to you right away.  Happy New Year!

Until next month,

Optimize College Education for Real World Work Environment

“Top Ways To Optimize College Education For

The Real World Work Environment

August 2017

 

Dear Parent,

There is a lot of work and sustained effort that goes into getting a young high school student through to graduation and accepted into a good college or university… and that is only the beginning of the story.  Once arriving on campus at his or her dream institution, college freshmen soon learn that they are facing a whole new set of exciting challenges at the next level of their education!

One of the most important things that we do as College Funding Advisors is help families and students to optimize their efforts – both during high school AND during college – to make sure that they are prepared for the next steps on their journey to an excellent education and a rewarding career of their choosing.  Yes, a huge chunk of this preparation is financial, but we are also extremely well-versed in how to make the college experience a successful one.

You see, getting through high school and into college is a great accomplishment, but it does not mean very much in the long run if the student becomes one of the roughly 41% of college freshmen who do not graduate with a four-year bachelor’s degree within six (!) years.  That is a statistic that, unfortunately, is not going away.

Equally important, however, is the sad fact that even many students who do graduate are quite poorly prepared to seek jobs in their fields of interest.  Yes, many students have dutifully checked all of the boxes for graduation and receiving a diploma, which is great, but they have not focused on optimizing their college degree to help them afterward in the real world work environment.

With this sobering reality in mind, we have chosen to focus this month’s newsletter on some important steps that students can plan to take to make their college years truly preparation for entering the workforce.  Young people who are able to prepare themselves well for their future careers will usually be able to avoid many of the frustrations that new graduates often face – having a diploma in hand, but not being able to find a rewarding job is an ever-increasing and disturbing reality!

 

After your review of this month’s newsletter, should you have any particular questions or concerns about how you’re your student can best prepare for the college years (and thereafter), please so feel free to contact us at your convenience.  We are also able to assist with all of the financial elements involved with preparing for these college years, and the information we offer can boost your family’s preparations for all aspects related to the upcoming years of your child’s higher education.      

1) Begin With The End In Mind    

While some college students enter their higher education experience with a clear idea of what they want to pursue as a career, there are many more who finish high school and enter into the next level without any particular direction in mind.  Neither path is necessarily better than the other, but those who enter with more of an “open slate” should endeavor to take advantage of some of the important opportunities to increase their academic performance early on as well as their marketability for later.

For example, starting college with a full slate of required courses can be a great way to buy some time and to free up the later years of university for more specialized academic work (which can also be helpful when internships and other opportunities arise).  It is also a good way to get one’s feet wet at the college level, while gaining experience in learning how one can best manage the academic rigors that will define their GPA and other credentials – this can be managed best on a personal level, because what works for one student may NOT have the same effect for another student.

Of course, new college students who are beginning college with a pretty good idea of their future career already will also be required to take this barrage of mandatory coursework that is needed for graduation.  These students will often also do well to take these classes in a planned manner that will best mesh with their degree requirements.  In fact, some students may find that courses which mesh well with their major can also fit into some of the predetermined general requirements, so consultation with a good academic advisor can make a huge difference in planning their courses.

2) Work With GOOD Academic Advisors

 Let’s focus on an important adjective from the last sentence of the previous paragraph.  A GOOD academic advisor is worth his or her weight in gold, with platinum lining.  Now, what actually defines a good academic advisor can vary depending on the person with whom you are speaking.  We tend to define a good academic advisor as someone – whether working directly for a college or university, or not – who offers the best and most accurate advice to budding students in a particular field.

Many universities and colleges will have someone assigned to students almost at random (or, more accurately, often by the first initial of the last name).  Now, while these individuals will definitely be able to offer a full spectrum of insights into which classes will meet which graduation requirements (and this is a very important detail, to be sure!), they may NOT be the best people to speak with about entering a particular career field after graduation has come and gone – or have knowledge about details for those entering a particular professional training track, such as medicine, law, or business school.

Be aware that most schools will have specific offices to help serve the particular needs of students who are entering these highly competitive fields, and a good advisor in these areas is an enormous help in the challenging process of application, interviewing, and admission to professional schools after college.  It can also be a good idea to seek out advice from someone who is working directly in a student’s field of interest, to get insights and recommendations for the academic path.  The most important thing is to gain accurate and timely information, regardless of the source!

3) Do Not Ignore “Minor” Things

While most students will be focused on selecting their college major (or even, for the extremely motivated, a double major!), it is often overlooked that students can also choose a related – or even completely unrelated – subject for a minor area of study.  These are areas of academic emphasis that will require fewer classes than a second major, but are still then part of their academic credentials upon graduation.

Some students (and parents) will tend to look down on minor emphases as something “unworthy” of effort, but they can be extremely valuable in many cases.  For example, one can complete a minor by simply taking a steady regimen of a favorite foreign language, or a secondary subject of interest, or even by completing course prerequisites for professional schools!  (For example, pre-med students often find that they qualify for a minor in Chemistry simply by completing the pre-medical chemistry and organic chemistry requirements, and perhaps one or two other related classes over the course of four years).  Minors can be completed in almost any field of interest, and can add to the college experience and to the credentials of any graduate later on in his or her life.

One thing that a minor offers is an opportunity to show that a student has broad interests and abilities, and if their minor is in something that can provide practical experience as well (such as speaking Spanish, French, or Russian… or computer programming… or anything else), then that looks great on a resume later.

4) Diversify Your Options

 One of the things that we are quick to recommend to students is that they work hard toward their goals, while also diversifying their goals to a reasonable degree.  This means planning and working toward a specific graduate school or career, for example, but also being able to seek alternate pathways to their goals.

In general, success does not come along a straight line, and many students will find divergent pathways to their goals, or even new goals that emerge completely unexpectedly over time during and after their college years.  The more open students are to exploring and finding out what options exist for them in their lives, both academically and professionally, the more they are likely to discover enriching and exciting opportunities that they might not have even known about earlier in their lives.

For this reason, we urge students to make exciting plans, aim high, and always keep their eyes open for the opportunities that tend to arise over time – but are only seen if one is actually willing to be looking for them.

 

We hope that you will be able to use the information from this month’s newsletter to help your future college student make the most of his or her higher education experience, and the career efforts that come thereafter.  It is our job to help as much as possible in making these plans a reality while we help with the details of college application, admission, and monetary preparation.  After all, we are the experts in these tasks, and we manage them effectively for families in a variety of ways.

One of the most popular ways that we are able to help the parents of tomorrow’s college students, especially with regard to the financial preparations for higher education, is by presenting our live College Funding Workshops.  These face-to-face presentations are given by the finest college funding professionals in the area, and they serve as a wonderful (FREE) service to parents who are interested in learning more details about adequate preparation for the financial side of their student’s upcoming years of higher education.  The information provided at these workshops is always up-to-date and accurate, and we have seen that it makes a significant difference for parents who attend.

College Funding Workshops are offered for free to all interested parents, but because there are seating limits we must require all attendees to place a reservation in advance.  This also guarantees that we can maintain an excellent teaching environment.  Should you like more information about any of the College Funding Workshops for your area, please call our workshop staffers at 614-934-1515.  They will be pleased to assist with questions regarding times, dates, locations, etc.  Of course, they are also the right people to speak with about a reservation, for any parents who have already decided to attend.

Aside from the workshops, we also publish a special report prepared for parents who are looking for important information with regard to planning for higher education costs.  We have created this report specifically for the parents of college-bound high school students, and it is called “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College.” Just like the workshops, we are proud to offer this report to families without any attendant cost or obligation.  To receive your very own copy of “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” simply ring our staff at 614-934-1515 and they will be more than happy to send one out to you right away.

Until next month,

 

 

Ways to save Money on College

                                                        

                                                                                    June 2017          

“The Best Ways To Save Time (And Money) By Shortening Your Child’s Stay In College

Dear Parent,

We are approaching the end of another school year, as hard at that may be to believe, and for about a quarter of our readers the tale of high school has reached its end… at least, for one student.  This means, however, that about ¾ of our readership – not to mention those with incoming high school students for the first time – still have a year or more to prepare for graduation and college.  What a relief that can be!

The sooner students start thinking about and preparing for their efforts in higher education, the easier it can be to plan for success.  This is true not only when it comes to academics, but also (and especially) when it comes to the financial side of things.  Preparing for college or university studies is a process that ideally starts long before the first day of college on an autumn day (usually) at the age of eighteen.  In fact, the best-prepared students have often found intelligent ways to prepare and affect their college experience even several years in advance.  We think that this is highly advisable, because it can positively boost the student’s academic experience as well as saving their family a significant amount of money over the long run!

How is that possible?  Well, by seeking out ways to shorten their required stay in college or university, a student can shave of a semester (or even more) of tuition, fees, and living expenses from the overall college bill.  This can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in many cases!  This year, there are some motivated students who are graduating from high school and heading off to college… where they will begin as college students with advanced standing, when based on their accumulated college credits.

For this month’s newsletter, we are providing parents and students with some practical and important thoughts and suggestions on how to shorten the amount of time spent (and paid for) in college, but leading to the same degree for which other students will have to work longer… and yes, other students will wind up paying more tuition for the same piece of paper at graduation.  Please remember that as college funding professionals – with expert insights into the entire process of higher education – we are especially qualified to offer this type of important information for the benefit of your college preparation and planning.  Your child’s circumstances can certainly benefit from an individual analysis.

Completing AP Courses

When your child is in high school, s/he can already begin to make headway in college. If you are child qualifies or is able to choose to take Advanced Placement classes, this is a great way to begin to earn college credit while still attending high school.  Many colleges and universities will allow AP credit to take the place of required “core” classes during freshman year.  In this case, a bit of extra effort during the high school years can have a big payoff later!

Another way that students may sometimes earn college credit is to take International Baccalaureate classes, if available in your area.  Completing college credit in this manner, and doing so in advance, can also provide some flexibility when it comes time for a student to choose a major. AP and IB classes are high-level high school courses, and they also give your child a taste of what to expect in college or university classes.

There is no guarantee that AP or IB coursework will be accepted at the next level, so it is always important to review individual school policies on these types of classes.  However, there can be no question than the increased level of academic rigor pays dividends when college days begin in earnest.

Community College Credit

There are some community colleges that will allow high school students to take their college-level courses.  If this is available for your student, and the community college credits are accepted at a university, it can save a ton of time and money. Many core classes can be taken at a community college and they will almost always be much less expensive than university classes. It may be a good option if your child is unsure about which direction to go during college. Taking some core classes in community college would buy additional time in college for determining a major course of study and/or a career for the future.

Usually community college credit is accepted as transfer credit at public universities within the same state or region, which can be a tremendous benefit for students who are interested in these schools.  Some highly motivated students have actually graduated high school with an Associate’s degree in hand, meaning that in the right circumstances they can theoretically start university with junior status!  Talk about saving time and money over the long run…

Take Core/Elective Classes Strategically

OK, so it is clear that not every student is able to make a firm decision regarding a major right away. That is just fine. One way to combat the threat of losing time due to indecision is for freshmen to focus on completing any remaining “core curriculum” classes during the freshman year in order to stay on track and make sure the basic requirements for graduation are being met.

Remember also that students can use electives to “test out” different fields of specific interest that could become a major.  Even if he or she decides to go in a different direction, the elective then still fills the space of a course for graduation later.

Proper Consultation

One way to be able to assist your child in getting through college quickly and smoothly is for your child to meet regularly with his or her college academic advisor.  Each school will have its own requirements for graduation, and the academic advisor can often offer valuable insights into the best way forward – therefore, it is important that they develop a plan together. Your child specifically should let the advisor know that it is very important to him or her to graduate within four years (or less, if possible).

Of course, as mentioned above, many students enter college unsure of which major to choose. That is ok, but meeting with an advisor early on to prepare and develop a plan is helpful to turn that undecided time into productive time. An advisor can offer guidance on what courses to take that will help to point your child in the right direction. They will know which courses are appropriate to consider to and take that will help to develop their passions. They can also connect them with other older students or faculty members will be able to offer additional guidance and understanding that might be helpful coming from a peer.

Not all academic advisors are helpful, but many are, so this is an important resource to investigate during the early college stages.  Also, many schools will have specific advisors for particular careers, such as pre-law, pre-medicine, or pre-business studies.  Students who are interested in these professions should always seek input from the experts so they do not miss any requirements for their professional schools!

Thorough Research

Having realistic expectations is important when your child goes to a college or university. It is also important to know if the university or college that your child will be attending is committed to his or her success. If you and your child visit colleges, it may not be a bad idea to go to the admissions office – or even faculty in a field of your child’s interest – and seek out a chat with one of the staff. You can ask them directly what their rates of graduation within 4 years are and if they are unwilling or unclear about it then that might give you some pause.

It does not necessarily mean that it is not a good institution, but it may deserve additional research. Most colleges do not post these rates so in order to uncover graduation rates and related information, parents often need to ask directly. Having a low rate of graduation within 4 years could mean a variety of things. If there are a great number of students who only go to school on a part-time basis, then this might be a red flag.  This is a great time for us to remind you that your college funding advisor can also provide loads of valuable information regarding these details, which can be enormously valuable in selecting which school to attend.

Express Interest

Another way to help your child to stay on track is to express your interest in their education. Parents who express their desire for their child to have a meaningful college experience are more likely to have children who are also vested in their college experience, as well. It is important not to become extreme “helicopter parents,” which serves no positive purpose in the educational process, and no parents should insert themselves into tasks that students are fully capable of doing for themselves.  However, parents can communicate their interest and their wishes for a helpful and meaningful college education to their child. Educators have noticed that the students who have the best outcomes are ones who come from households where the parents are vested in their college experience and want them to succeed.

Bear in mind that it may not be possible for every student to implement every suggestion listed above – some students may not have a firm grasp on exactly what they want to study as early as others, for example, and other students may not have access to college credit courses in the area where they attend high school.  However, we make it our goal to assist our students in finding the best options for their speedy success in higher education.  If even a couple of the suggestions listed above can be implemented – and there are others, as well – then the chances are good that a student will begin to cut down the amount of time (and money) spent on completing a college degree.

There are also ways that parents can become involved in the process, of course, and the sooner this happens, the better.  One of the top ways that we assist the parents of future college students in learning more about the financial elements of college and university studies is with our live College Funding Workshops.  These workshops feature the finest college funding professionals in the area and offer unparalleled access to information with an in-person setting.  The presentations offer a wonderful service to many parents who are focused on finding the best way to manage the fiscal details of their child’s forthcoming years spent in their college or university studies.

We do not require admission fees for attendance at these workshops, but due to space requirements and our desire to keep a positive and effective learning environment, we have determined that we need to require advance reservations for those who wish to attend.  To receive more information on upcoming College Funding Workshops in the area, you can get details directly from our workshop staff at 614-934-1515.  These professionals are able to assist with any of your questions with regard to schedules, workshop locations, and other presentation-related specifics.  They will also be more than willing to assist with a reservation, should you desire to attend.

We also publish a special report that is of interest to many parents who are on the lookout for more information about how to deal with college costs.  Our report was prepared specifically with the parents of current high school students in mind, and is titled “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College.” Like our workshops, the report is happily provided without any requiring any cost or obligation.  To receive your very own copy of “Nine New Ways To Beat The High Cost of College,” simply place a call to our team at 614-934-1515 and we will place it in the mail right away.

Until next month,

 

 

 

A Must Read for College-bound Athletes

I ran across this article and feel it is not only relevant but enlightening.

Dear Prospective Student-Athlete,

I received your introductory two-line email and read through it. I must say your first sentence was painfully familiar as you introduced yourself by first name only. I assumed if you were trying to make an impression that you would have paid more attention to punctuation, but my assumption appears incorrect. While your opening email failed to identify your last name, what year in school you are, where you are from, or what position you play, you managed to include your most pressing question as to whether our team is “giving out scholarships”.

A week later, I received a second email with full color resume attachment including your action photos, and a variety of links to related newspaper articles. Each of these items were compiled in an orderly fashion and sent out directly from both your parents’ emails.

While it took a bit to thumb through the long list of your impressive extracurricular activities, please thank your parents for putting this packet together and understand that it would have been far more beneficial for our staff to speak to you personally by way of an old school phone call. As my staff sent correspondence to your personal email, we have received only a return from your parents apologizing and explaining that you are simply “too busy to answer”.

As a word of advice, while many college coaches support parental enthusiasm, initiative taken by the athlete is crucial if you are serious about connecting with a quality program. Our staff explained to your parents that we would prefer to connect with you directly, but they continue to respond on your behalf. This will be a red flag for any coach, so please be aware of this feedback being a possibility from any of your other options.

When you visited the campus with your parents, the first thing I noticed is that they did most of the talking for you. However, when you did speak, you were openly correcting and verbally scolding them when you deemed their information sharing inaccurate. As a coach, an athlete who displays disrespect, especially to their parents, is a red flag in the recruiting game of analysis and observation.

As we toured the campus I took copious mental notes including a short ponder on how you were too busy for a returned phone call or email to our staff yet, your email-ready smartphone was all but attached to your hand the entire unofficial visit.

Upon your departure, our staff reviewed your stats, strength numbers and transcripts. All are impressive, but of course we had to see you compete. Unfortunately, the highlight film you left us with that was edited to perfection to omit mistakes, was unhelpful.

Despite my reservations, I made the trip to watch your game live so I could determine if your resume matched your talent. After observing only a few minutes of the team warm-up, I noted that you were clearly the most gifted on your squad. However, your talent was unfortunately overshadowed by the lack of energy and effort you displayed.

At halftime, the team huddled up and as always when observing recruits, I honed in carefully on your demeanor and body language. I watched you walk in the opposite direction of your teammates and take a seat on the bench away from the group. You did not return to the team circle until prompted by your assistant coach. As the head coach spoke, I observed you break off into a private conversation with another teammate, rather than offering the coach your attention.

In the second half, when you scored I noticed you waited for the other players to huddle around you and celebrate. In contrast, when a teammate scored, you retreated to your position without acknowledging or congratulating them.

You added much depth in the scoring category with some impressive runs but when you made mistakes you became vocal and eager to point out where your teammates needed to improve. You had moments of greatness but they were followed by sporadic lulls of half-hearted effort.

As you are the team captain, I found it disappointing that you did not contribute to the post game team discussion. I watched as your mother brought over snacks and saw that you made no effort to assist her in bringing those large containers of cupcakes from the bleachers out to your 40 other teammates. Last, as the rest of the team broke the field down and put equipment away, you found a quiet spot on the empty bench to text on your phone.

Perhaps as a high school-age athlete, these are behaviors you are simply unaware of. In a world where you are being taught the X’s and O’s of mastering a sport, so much practice and dialogue in character building is diminishing. I realize that you have been told repeatedly by many of your previous coaches that you are amazing in your sport. However, players like you, with similar demeanor are a dime a dozen.

Since you have been a star in your sport for quite a while with coaches and parents who have clearly allowed these details to slip through the cracks also, you are not entirely to blame. However, please bear in mind, none of this makes you a bad person only potentially, a bad teammate. The attributes I am judging you on happen to be far more important than any of your trophies, all-star selections or travel team accolades.

There is no doubt you are talented. However, from my experience, here are the 10 things I know about athletes like you.

1. Your incredible talent is the same talent that in your sophomore year of college will suddenly suffer an ego blow when a new freshman arrives with equal or greater talent. Battling your feeling of ownership over your position and feeling threatened is inevitable.

2. Rather than working hard to better your game, you are more likely to be the athlete that is constantly comparing your success to others rather than focusing on growth for yourself. This will become a tedious and exhausting process for your coaches and team to constantly have to reassure you of your self worth and value.

3. As those around you put in the work, rather than be grateful to be surrounded by a committed group of individuals who share common goals, you are more likely to resent them and seek out allies to split the team support in half and create locker room chatter.

4. In the event you see time on the bench you may not be emotionally prepared, willing to engage or support the teammate who is starting over you. Also, it is likely you will find it challenging to support the success your team obtains when they win without you on the field.

5. When you become unhappy with your own performance you are more likely to blame your coach, teammates or anyone other than yourself.

6. Since your previous coaches and adult guidance have fallen short in emphasizing the importance of accountability, you will likely be that much more of a challenge for our staff and program to work with.

7. Aside from your time in college, the end goal of being a student-athlete is to get a degree while playing a sport you love. If your goal as an athlete-student is to get a starting position while earning a degree you tolerate, your goals will be out of alignment with the program from the start.

8. Athletes who truly work for their program become stronger people who work well with others and are able to admit their weaknesses in order to improve. If I am forced to spend your first two years of college trying to catch you up on late lessons of being accountable and respectful, it is probable you will spend your second two years resenting me which ultimately leads to an ambush of bad senior exit interview feedback.

9. Athletes are treasured in the workforce and therefore, you are likely to land a job after you graduate. However, if you fail to get along with those in our program you are prone to carrying this over into your professional life. If you are unhappy with your boss or coworker you will be more likely to find yourself unequipped to work through your problem without soliciting complaining or quitting.

10. By choosing not to recruit you, I am saving my team culture. On the bright side, perhaps if you are rejected this will be your first opportunity to face adversity and grow from it.

I recognize that it is possible you could change with guidance by coming to our program. However, the investment on my end presents high risk to the health of team morale, my livelihood and sanity. In my younger coaching years I believed far too often that many like you were capable of transformation. Over time, without consistent support from the powers that be, I have lost my fair share of those battles and have watched colleagues lose their jobs when athletes like you are unsatisfied. I am a great coach who takes so much of my success and failure home with me at night and am actively making the choice to choose ethics and attitude over talent.

Today I crossed you off my list as a potential recruit despite your obvious talent. Over the thousands of hours I have spent away from my family recruiting, answering emails, calls, official visits, watching game film and logging contacts and evaluations, I have learned from my mistakes. As a result, although the athlete playing right next to you has half the stats and three quarters of your speed, they are supportive, determined and selfless. This kind of athlete, will be our next signee.

Please take these words and advice into consideration and I wish you all the best.

Coach

Source: Fearless Coaching, An Open Letter May 16, 2016.