This blog post is longer than most. Be patient with it; read it through several times to digest its contents because it holds the keys that can give your children a solid start in life.
You ask, "What need would a pre-college aged young man or woman have for a personal website?" The answer is not obvious until we start to take notice of the ultra-challenging world the young people of today face as they look to take their first steps into life's battlefield. For example:
- Undergraduate tuitions are higher than ever: ranging from $25,000 to $65,000-plus per year before dorm and book charges -- resulting in loan debt that must be repaid ranging from $50,000 to several $100,000s per student.
- It is difficult to get admitted to undergraduate schools because the average college admission rate for the better colleges is 8%; and for the lesser-celebrated schools the rate is up to 45%. More then half the applications are rejected at every school.
- College graduates' unemployment rate is the highest in 20+ years (up to 45% for full-time career-starting jobs) because the baby boomers are not retiring -- a situation that is not about to change.
- Roughly half of recent college graduates work jobs that don't require a degree.
- 85% of recent college graduates move back home -- indefinitely.
- Only 56% of students earn degrees within six years; yet student loans are still due.
- College educations continue to be worth the pursuit financially based on the following data: the median annual earnings of fulltime workers ages 25 to 32 with 4-year degree: $45,500, 2-year degree: $30,000, high school degree: $28,000.
To help overcome all of the above, the Good News is that over $7.0+ billion of scholarship and grant monies are available (generally based on family need) through government, private institutions and corporations each year to help students find and pay their way (in whole or in part) through their school years.
FYI: The competition for colleges to enroll the limited number of top students into their ranks is so strong that the colleges will award large scholarship grants to students coming from even the wealthiest families.
The encouraging news here is that if parents and students know where and how to apply for these funding monies (see below) there is a good chance of being rewarded because a somewhat ignorant America consistently fails to utilize all the funding available.
The purpose of this blog message is to educate the families of golf course superintendents to the world of paying for and paving the way for their children to get off to a good start in life.
Parent-Student Plan Of Action:
Working through the following check-list promises to meanfully enhance each student's opportunity to get a good start in life.
- Early in a student's high school years search the internet to find the list of scholarship and grant guide booklets that will identify the many funding sources available to students and, more importantly, advise how to fill out the somewhat complex applications for this funding. Coordinate all such activity with high school guidance counselors.
Reminder: Colleges continue to offer athletic scholarships to young men and women in meaningful numbers. Because of Title IX mandates, colleges are required to offer these scholarships equally dollar-wise to high school male and female students - a situation that women have yet to take full advantage of. Accordingly, there is less competition for girls athletic scholarships than for boys scholarships. Girls - go for it!
- No surprise that grades are important when applying for scholarships, grants and college admissions, but what is not well known is that private tutoring in subjects a student is weakest in for several months before taking standardized tests and prior to applying for college admissions can make a huge difference and earn rewards not otherwise thought possible. This is sound advice even for the best of students because private tutoring will always advance standardized test scores.
- Other than grades, the one element that impresses scholarship, grant and admissions committees more than most is to what degree a student participates in life; i.e.- in school and local community activities from grammar school age on up. Everything impresses; for example: awards, participation in school choirs, orchestras, group travel, cheer leading, student tutoring, athletic teams, part-time jobs, scuba diving and community service of every kind.
It is fair to say that a student with the best of grades, but who participates in little else will have a hard time earning scholarship and grant funding; and will likely be rejected by the better college admissions committees.
- The next factor that impresses committees tremendously is the ability of a student candidate to express him/herself in writing. A student's initiative to write effectively on a variety of subjects that get published in appropriate print publications and electronic outlets opens more doors (all throughout a lifetime) than people can possibly imagine.
There is no other personal skill set that can pave the way to a successful and enjoyable life/career better than consistent quality writing. Go for it.
The necessary companion to writing well is having a student do enough on-going reading to continue to expand a vocabulary capable of delivering quality writing. Without adequate reading, the best writing capability will dry up sooner rather than later. FYI: girls like to read; boys generally do not.
- During a student's early high school years, begin to capture all the above-mentioned elements within a well developed website that will stay with each student and be expanded upon throughout his/her lifetime.
For example: then, as a student moves onto college - summarize earlier school situations mentioned above within an 'Early School' link within the website; then, present undergraduate activities within a 'College' link; and writings within a 'Published Writings' link and so on - adding a link at a time to report each individual's life happenings with clarity and purpose.
- Finally, when applying for scholarship and grant monies, college admission, or when later applying for a job -- include the URL of the student's well-structured website within all application cover letters -- something that is guaranteed to be noticed.
In summary, the purpose for developing an informative personal website is to facilitate communicating effectively with the important institutions that will help determine what kind of start your children will get in life. Can anything be more important?