I offer the publication 10 Deadly Mistakes People Make for College and How to Avoid Them. I’m a little frustrated because as I interview parents and discuss their college plans, inevitably, parents insist on committing all or most of the 10 Deadly Mistakes even after I have tried to get them to avoid them in face-to-face discussion. Here, I am going to share the top two of those ten that seem to come up all the time. I have added two more that came up this year (2010), so the next publication will be Twelve Deadly Mistakes…
The worst Deadly Mistake I see people make is listed as #1 in my publication:
#1 – Starting Too Late
Things will come to those who wait but only what is left over from those who hustle.
Most people start to think about it around Christmas their senior year. This is fine if you are going to local community college or state college, but not if you want to be competitive.
Best time to start preparing for college is NOW. I recommend entering the path in junior high and track through high school. In my experience the latest time to start and not have to double up is the sophomore year. If you wait until the junior year, you have to start doubling up with SAT/ACT prep, trying to raise grades and class rank.
Here are numbers 2-9 on my list. I’m going to skip over them and get to #10 – the second worst Deadly Mistake I see people make.
2. Depending On The School Counselor
3. Taking The SAT And ACT Too Late
4. Not Taking A College Prep Track
5. Using A “Scholarship” Service
6. Getting Bogus Advice
7. Thinking College Is The Same As It Was When The Parents Went To College
8. Thinking You Make Too Much Money To Qualify For Financial Aid
9. Not Moving Onto The 21st Century
#10 – Waiting Too Late to Get Help
I can say it is never too late to get help, but the range of the help diminishes quickly during the senior year. A good senior student who gets help in September might be able to salvage something.
After Thanksgiving, the chart drops quickly because time closes a lot of opportunities.
After Christmas, you are looking at colleges that have late application dates: junior colleges, regional state colleges, and lower tier private colleges.
And certainly, the range of scholarship opportunities collapses quickly because those who acted early have snatched them up.
When to start getting help – NOW!
Here are two new ones I got to witness at the beginning of this summer. These will numbers 11 and 12 in the next edition:
New #11 – Waiting Till Later…
Here are some of the statements I got from parents this summer. I’ve included what went on in my head when I heard these.
“We’ve got a lot planned this summer; we’ll wait until fall to start.”
Huh?!? If you don’t have time to start now, what makes you think you are going to have time in the fall… when you’re in school… and have homework… and have band, and volleyball, and football????
“We’ll worry about this Junior year.”
Let’s see, the PSAT is in October. The people you are competing against for National Merit Scholarship have been prepping all summer. That’s probably why they will be more competitive and you’ll try to blame someone else for not being prepared.
“We have plenty of time.”
I agree… and you are wasting it!
Timing is the SINGLE most important component to college success!
Starting NOW is the CHEAPEST and EASIEST Strategy for college success!
New #12 – Waiting to Start
Waiting costs you $100 a day in potential funding after the Freshman year starts! That’s $36,000 a year in potential funding!
•Average Private College is $40,000+ a year
•Average Public College is $24,000 a year
Can you afford to lose a potential $36,000 a year?
Question: How much would you pay to avoid paying $40,000 a year?
Unfortunately, most people ignore this and end up going in hock up to their eyeballs, when they could have simply started earlier.
I hate to appear cynical, but attitudes like this are why we have the problems in education we have today. It is kind of an apathy-ignorance-procrastination mentality that allows the problems to continue.
Well, I’m still here if anybody really wants some help.