Well, I wouldn’t have thought of us as college bound yet, my daughter is a rising 9th grader, but I have had an extraordinary number of parents of older high school students comment to me about how NOW is the time to start the ball rolling. Start a file at a prospective college by asking for an informational packet. Take the PSAT. Think about when you’ll fit in college tours. Plan out your high school courses. The application process is unrecognizable compared to the process I went through for the January 1985 college deadlines.
As parent, one of my main, and, it seems, essential roles is college finance. Columnist Danny Westneat, in this Seattle Times article of a couple days ago had a take on this that I hadn’t thought about in this way before: while we admire and appreciate those who in the past have put themselves through college, paying for college one’s self is simply not an option for students of this generation. The sums for tuition and fees at most state universities are so enormous, it’s not possible for students to earn enough on their own. Sure, they can contribute to college expenses but they are dependent on sources beyond their own means to get through. So, says Westneat, don’t criticize this generation’s work ethic based on their track record for paying for school themselves. Instead, I suppose, I’ll put my work ethic into the heavy task of investigating college finance through loans and family savings, as my daughter works through the other aspects of college preparation. Does this investment in one’s child’s education increase incidence of lingering helicopter parenting?
In this generation, the ability to leverage a college price tag looks like it will indeed be the determiner of who will go to college; this is a direct conflict with the mission of public universities in previous eras, which was to allow anyone to work their way through a degree. Enter the MOOCs. Certainly a different college experience. Will this be a solution?