You must put some sanity into your college decision. Your emotional well-being and financial health are at risk. It is a little crazy what many high school graduates and families are doing now. We are not making informed decisions. We are not taking into account readily available facts of the situation. For example, if a college has a 75% retention rate what does that mean for you? If a college that will cost you upwards of $200,000 for four years has a 6-year graduation rate of 60%, what does that say to you? What do you know about the successes and failures of the alumni who actually graduate from the college you are considering? Is going to an out of state public university (that has paid a lot to get a good marketing brand) better than your local state public university? It does let you live farther away from home but it costs a lot more. What deals are they offering you? What should your informed college decision be based on?
We want to help students and their families make an informed decision about college. We are both parents, college researchers, tenured university professors, and counselors. I am also a psychologist. Tim has young children heading towards college in a few years. My children have already gone through the college decision making traumas. I am relieved and ever so thankful that this part of my life is over. I am usually a pretty even and level-headed kind of decision maker. I don’t get too impulsive. I don’t get stuck, unable to move forward. But in all honesty, when it came to helping my daughters choose a college I became insane. Not clinically insane but I was dominated by all kinds of irrational thoughts. Being a first generation college goer myself, prestige was a huge thing for me. One of my daughters got into a very prestigious college. It cost a fortune. They gave her just enough money where it was almost financially doable. I heard myself talking to myself saying things like “I’ll be damned if my kid can’t go to her dream college because I didn’t make enough money. We will borrow. I will find a way to make more money.” My ability to make an informed college decision was seriously compromised. My wife was not at all happy with me. Tim and I started this website to provide you a free service to help you through some parts of this very difficult transition. Sorry for the ads, we have to pay our bills too.
CollegeSanity.com is a place we are putting tools and strategies for you to use based on our research and the best available information we can find. The first two tools are now ready to go to support making an informed college decision, and requires several things. Two things for sure should be on everyone’s list:
First, before making a college decision (or trying to help someone make a college decision) you need College Knowledge. What does EFC mean? What is the difference between Early Action and Early Decision? Our research has found that high school seniors have a lot less College Knowledge than is needed to make informed decisions. This is especially true for young people who will be the first one in their family to ever go to college – First Generation students.
Second, support from parents and family members, teachers, mentors, friends, and school counselors is so necessary as you try to make an informed decision. Our research has focused on school counselors. We want to make sure you are getting the College Counseling you need from your school counselor. College Counseling available in our schools varies a great deal. Some schools and counselors are doing a great job, but unfortunately, some may not be up to the highest standards of professional school counseling. We want to make sure you are receiving the best college counseling services from your school counselors. To get started, please work through both the College Knowledge Quiz (the CAKE) and the College Counseling Survey. They are self-paced and give you answers and feedback as you go along, as well as next steps you should take at the end. Yes, the CAKE is a little long – 75 questions if you do the whole thing – but that’s only because there is a lot to know to make an informed decision.
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