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Summer: A Great Opportunity for College Visits

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 @ 9:17 PM

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If you’re a rising junior, senior, or ambitious high school underclassman, you may be considering college visits over the next several months. While you might decide touring in the autumn is a better option (classes fully in session), there are a number of advantages to touring in the summer season.

You can completely focus on your visit.

Visiting in the summer allows you to absorb the experience distraction free. If you wait to visit once school has started, you’ll be dealing with homework, exams, college applications, extracurricular activities, and more. Your focus may wander a bit with so much on your mind. Yet if you visit during your break, you can explore the campus unencumbered.

The university campus will be less crowded.

In the summertime, colleges quiet down quite a bit. If you’re looking to get the real student experience, visiting when the semester’s in session might be preferable. However, in the summer, you can wander the buildings and grounds with no one in your way. This could be advantageous to exploring a place more deeply.

You can have a more personalized visit.

Most colleges still offer official tours throughout the summer months, yet chances are you might be the only family signed up. This can be a real benefit to you. Tour guides are almost always students, and with their full attention, you can ask all the burning questions you have about majors, dorms, or even the social scene. The tour guide can also take a longer time with you and take you to the precise campus locations you most want to see.

You may be able to have conversations with professors or administrators.

Though many professors spend summers away from their institutions, you may be lucky enough to find a few on campus during a summertime visit. If so, you could have the opportunity to speak with them about courses, programs, and more. At certain colleges, you may even be able to have an official interview during your visit. This can help showcase your interest in a school and get your name somewhat “known” amongst administrators.

Summertime college visits could be part of your vacation.

If your family was planning on a summer trip, why not throw a college visit into the itinerary? This is a fantastic idea, particularly if your dream school is fairly far from your hometown. Bring along the whole family, and make a holiday of it. As a bonus, you’ll get to more deeply experience the town or city the college is located within, and you’ll be able to spend a longer time period checking the place out.

Make sure to call ahead.

If you do choose to plan a college visit during the summertime, be sure and contact the school’s admission department directly. Often, schedules can vary in the summer, so you want to be sure someone will be there to greet you and give you a tour. Otherwise, you may end up knocking on a locked door.

Have you visited universities during the summer months? Any tips for making it a great experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags: college planning abc, Undergraduate, college planning, Manuel Fabriquer, College Admissions, attending college, getting a college degree, High school sophomores

College Planning ABC asks is getting a college degree still a good idea?

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Sat, Aug 11, 2012 @ 7:00 AM

cornellSince the beginning of this year there has been a lot of talk and reports in the media debating whether going to college is still worth the investment in time and money.  The news media has emphasized the amount of recent college graduates who are either unemployed or working at jobs that didn’t require a college degree. 

Then there are the various reports showing the amount of student loans outstanding is now nearing $1 trillion. 

So, not only are some graduates not finding good jobs, they are leaving college with a large amount of debt.

It is no wonder that many students and parents may be wondering about whether they should attend college or not?  Let’s take a look at some real facts that may help answer this very important question.

The real numbers

In order to address these questions we need to look at the true numbers and then draw a reasonable conclusion from that rather than rely on sensational statistics that are designed to ramp up ratings. 

A college degree does matter

Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Americans with a high school diploma was 8.7%.  The rate of unemployment for those who attended but did not graduate was a bit lower at 7.1%.  Now, the rate for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher the rate was down to 4.1%. 

How about pay?

A worker with only a high school diploma earned $638 a week in 2011 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  However, a worker with a college degree earned 39% more per week during the same time. 

Jonathan James an economist with the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank stated his department has hard evidence that employers are willing to pay a higher wages for college graduates.  He has been able to demonstrate that beginnings back in 1977 employers were willing to pay 30% more for college graduates.  Yet, by 2010 those same employers were paying 60% more for college graduates than workers without a college degree.

So, based on these raw numbers employers are not only preferring college graduates, they are willing to pay more for them.

But what about the costs of attaining the degree?

The actual truth is that extreme borrowing is far less common than what we all hear about on the news.  Here are some hard facts from Department of Education:

  1. 90% of the students who graduated with a six figure debt were graduate and professional students (medical students accounted for 49% while law students were 36%).
  2. Undergraduates who attend a private university are 12 times more likely to graduate with a six figure debt.
  3. When you add it all up it is only 1.5% of ALL undergraduates and graduate students who actually end up with a six figure debt.

Bottom line

A college education is still a good investment if it is plan properly like any investment.  This means that not all colleges and universities are a good fit or provide the value you may be seeking.  Now, more than ever parents and students must know what the advantages and disadvantages of each school they are considering.  You need to look both at the cost and the product your student will be receiving.  This is where College Planning ABC comes in.

First, I make sure that the student finds not only the best college, but also finds the lowest cost possible to attend.  Secondly, we find programs that include internships or coops that will help in maximizing the employment potential for that student when they graduate.   

It is not uncommon on a first consultation to see a family who was on road to a high debt education. Then, after meeting with me we have significantly lowered the expense so that debt is no longer necessary.  Similarly, I have had students and parents come in with a firm college choice not knowing that there was another more prestigious college, with better job placement opportunities, and lower costs.

The bottom line is you need to be informed and I am hosting new Workshops this month to give you the tools and knowledge for you to make the best decisions.  Let me bring you the real facts and strategies that will keep your student from being a statistic.  Now is your time. Click me

Tags: college planning, College Planning News, College Admissions, Paying for college, getting a college degree

Just Getting Any College Degree Can Be a Huge Mistake

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 @ 5:00 AM

In my last post,” Is a college education still worth the price?” I talked about some of the college majors that do not have a very good employment outlook.  In this article I will discuss why many colleges and universities offer these majors knowing there is little demand in the workplace for these majors.

Traditionally the purpose of a higher education was to develop the scholarly skills of the student.  For these scholars the university was a place of refuge from the world wherein to explore and develop their intellectual pursuits. 

Those days have long passed and what students and their parents are looking for is for the degree earned to be more than just a scholarly pursuit.  The degree needs to provide job opportunities.

Sadly, many universities are missing the mark and instead placing their emphasis on facilities and amenities rather than on the economic utility of the degrees they confer.

There are many campuses that are filled with cutting edge facilities that are only slightly related to learning.  I am talking about, first class health and workout facilities, luxurious dinning commons, and top of the line sports facilities.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with these amenities as long as the basic learning is not sacrificed.

Why is this happening

First, students are having a hard time completing any type of degree and universities do not want to lose the dollars those students bring.

For example, in a recent study entitled, “Academically Adrift” reported on a large sample of students attending 29 American four year colleges.  The results showed that 36% of the students had no gains in learning in their four years.   

This is alarming especially when we consider that 40% of those who begin a four-year program do not graduate.  By the way, this statistic doubles when we look at those attending a junior college.

Secondly, a report in The Economist showed U.S. government statistics revealing that U.S. High school seniors’ proficiency scores for science, math, reading, and writing all declined between 1992 and 2005.

What this all means is that many universities are “dumbing down” their curricula in order to maintain their enrollment levels.   Students are also choosing the easiest classes available in a path toward a degree.  Many students simply think that a “degree is a degree” and some employer will offer them a job simply because they have a degree.

However, as the news reports show, there are many high-skilled jobs that go unfilled because there are no qualified applicants.  In other words, today having a college degree does not mean anything unless that person has the skills and abilities employers are looking for.  No longer do employers place any value on a person just having a degree.  They must have the necessary skills to do the job or they are no better off than someone who never attended college.

Today, more than ever planning for college is critical and involves a lot more than just picking a name brand university.  Not all universities are good at everything and not all universities are a good fit for your student. 

When I meet with a parent and their student we choose the best fit and best program based on what is unique to the student.  I bring the most comprehensive and current information about each campus and what it “really” has to offer.  At times, some of the so called, “best colleges” may actually be the worst choice for your student. 

Armed with this information parents and students are able to make the best choice that will provide them with best economic utility for their efforts and money.  You are invited to come to my next workshop where I reveal some of the latest information.  You can find more information on these college workshops by clicking here.

In the next post we will continue to explore the future trends of higher education. 

Tags: college consulting, College Planning News, getting a college degree