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10 THINGS I WISH I KNEW IN HIGH SCHOOL

Finding academic success and career satisfaction By Sarah E. Galimore

10 Things I Wish I Knew In High School. Published by Education Planning Partners, P.O. Box 8642, lbany, !.". #22$8, %%%.e&&ins&ires.com 'hile the author has made e(ery e))ort to &ro(ide accurate internet addresses and re)erences at the time o) &ublication, neither the &ublisher nor the author assumes any res&onsibility )or errors, or )or changes that occur a)ter &ublication. *urther, neither the &ublisher nor the author has any control o(er and does not assume any res&onsibility )or third+&arty %ebsites or their content. ,o&yright - 2$#. by Sarah E. Galimore ,o(er design by /oni0a 1ec Boo0 design by 2og+ear Boo0 2esign ll rights reser(ed.

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SEVEN: Whats It Worth?


Education is an investment. There are different strategies with varying rates of return.

5 %ish 5 had 0no%n ho% to com&are the total cost o) my &ost+secondary education against %hat 5 could ex&ect to recei(e in return. 'ould all the money 5 shelled out be %orth it; <o% does one determine the (alue o) a college degree; 5t=s not an easy 3uestion to ans%er but it=s certainly something 5 %ish 5=d thought about more care)ully %hile in high school. So 5=d li0e to re(isit the conce&t o) ex&loring your educational o&tions and extend the continuum o) thought beyond the boundaries o) high school because the conce&t is a&&licable to &ost+secondary education. >here are multi&le &ath%ays to success and o&tions to consider %hen it comes to sco&ing out a &ath )or your &ost+ secondary educational &ursuits. >o )rame %hat=s about to )ollo%, let me clari)y that 5 do not and %ill not subscribe to a school o) thought that maintains a &articular &ath is right or %rong, good or bad, or more li0ely to lead to greater success. 5 do ho%e(er abide by the &ers&ecti(e that %hen it comes to education, the road ta0en is ?ust that@ a road that li0e many others, can ta0e you to your destination, ?ust (ia a di))erent route. 5t is more im&ortant to establish clarity o) direction and (ision, in)ormed by your ideology and &re)erences, to ser(e as a means o) )inding the &ath that

is best )or you. Education is (ie%ed by many as an in(estment and gi(en the ex&onential rise in the cost o) a degree, the (alue o) this in(estment is sub?ect to scrutiny. >he big 3uestion9 is college %orth the cost; >he ans%er is yes, it most o)ten is. !umerous studies lea(e little doubt that in general, you=re better o)) %ith a college degree. <o%e(er, this should not minimi4e the need to engage in this ty&e o) scrutiny. 5) your strategy to get %here you=re going is to in(est in a college degree, does it not ma0e sense to )ully understand all the )actors; Should you go the community college route or directly to a )our+year institution; 'hat might the (ariance in ex&erience and outcomes be at a &ublic uni(ersity (s. a &ri(ate; <o% much are you %illing to in(estAmost li0ely in the )orm o) debt; >hese are ?ust a )e% &oints o) consideration that should be e(aluated as your &lans )or college are de(elo&ed. 'hat you in(est and your strategy is only &art o) the e3uation. >he other side o) the coin is the ex&ected rate o) return. 5) you=re going to allocate a certain amount o) money o(er a s&eci)ic time &eriod, (ia selected (ehicles, %hat %ill that in(estment yield; By %hat metrics are you going to determine i) the ris0 %as %orth the re%ard; By %hat guidelines do you determine i) the gains %ere %orth your time and money; 'hen it comes to )inancial in(esting, these areas are closely scrutini4ed and 5 don=t 0no% o) anyone %ho ma0es such decisions %ithout clear (isibility to &otential returns. Some %ould sco)) at %hat may a&&ear to be an o(ersim&li)ied and narro% analogy as a basis o)

com&arison in the college decision+ma0ing &rocess, and are 3uic0 to &oint out the broader, intrinsic and in(aluable re%ards o) the collegiate ex&erience. more enlightened a&&roach is to )ocus on the ex&erience, the o&&ortunity to ex&lore onesel) and del(e into stores o) %isdom &reser(ed %ithin the sacred i(ory to%ers o) academia. *air enough, but ?ust remember that colleges and uni(ersities aren=t ma0ing admissions decisions solely based on a desire to &ro(ide as many students as &ossible %ith the collegiate ex&erience. >hey too ha(e )inite resources that must be allocated in a manner that ensures their o(erall success as an institution. >he decision+ma0ing &rocess )or the thousands o) a&&lications recei(ed is multi(ariate, based on s&eci)ic, agreed u&on ob?ecti(es and targets, and ?udiciously executed in alignment %ith those ob?ecti(es. 5) colleges are e(aluating you based on se(eral )actors and assessing %hat you %ill bring to their community, you should return the )a(or. 2on=t immediately go to college, sim&ly because it=s the thing to do a)ter high school. 2on=t select a college %ithout ha(ing thought through all o) the dimensions that %ill determine its (alue to you. Education is an in(estment and you should treat it as such. 8et=s &ause )rom the commentary and examine in tangible terms %hy this matters. 'hy it=s im&ortant to at least consider the di))erent &ath%ays to higher education and %hy it=s ris0y to o(erloo0 the s&eci)ic nuances that im&act ho% your degree &ositions you in the mar0et&lace. 'e=ll start %ith a story and then loo0 at some )acts. >he story is an abbre(iated retelling o) the tale o) t%o siblings. 5t starts in a tiny (illage in u&state !e% "or0 that

a ha&&ily married cou&le called home. >hough born and raised in the south, not too long a)ter Bohnny, their )irst child, %as born, they mo(ed u& north and settled into com)ortable country li(ing. >%o years later, to their com&lete and indescribable ?oy, they %elcomed their daughter, Bannie, into the %orld. Bohnny and Bannie gre% 3uic0ly. E(en as toddlers, it %as clear they %ere (ery di))erent in their ma0e u&. /om and dad en?oyed %atching their &ersonalities de(elo& and made e(ery e))ort to encourage their indi(idual interests and &ursuits. Encourage, su&&ort and indulge they did, but certainly not %ithout challenges. Bohnny %as a con)irmed techno&hile 3uite early in his youth. >oasters dismantled and &hones ri&&ed a&art, dad e(entually recogni4ed that unless he ga(e Bohnny electronics and gadgets to &lay %ith, he %ould end u& re&lacing household a&&liances on a rather )re3uent basis. Bohnny had a gi)t and an insatiable curiosity about ho% things %or0ed, &articularly electronics. <e %as a 0inesthetic learner, more a&t to ex&lore and engage through hands+on interaction, so much so that it %as a consistent u&+hill battle to get Bohnny to com&lete any o) his school %or0. Bannie on the other the hand, excelled in school. >hrough reading, %riting and (isuali4ation, she thri(ed in (arious learning en(ironments. >ime &assed 3uic0ly and soon, it %as time )or Bohnny to de&art and ma0e his %ay in the real %orld. >o the dismay o) many, Bohnny re)used to go to college. <is grades %ere reasonably good. Someho%, by sho%ing u& )or class and doing %ell on exams, Bohnny had an a(erage GP . ,ollege %as an o&tion, but he %as resolute

in his decision, %eathering his )air share o) &ressure and ridicule. 2es&ite sarcastic comments )rom &eers, li0e Cyou=re going to be ta0ing out the garbage here %hen my 0ids are in school,D Bohnny )elt that college %as not the a&&ro&riate &ath )or him. /om and dad su&&orted his decision to an extent. >hey suggested that he continue to e(aluate his &rogress and in a year or t%o reconsider going to college. Bohnny did e(aluate, se(eral times, but he ne(er %ent to college. Bannie ho%e(er, couldn=t get to college 3uic0 enough. She &oured hersel) into her school %or0 and extracurricular acti(ities. She %as diligent in her studies, %or0ing to ensure the 3uality o) her %or0 %as the best &ossible. >here %as ne(er any 3uestion o) %hether or not Bannie %as going to college. 5t %as ?ust a matter o) %hen and %here. 'hen graduation rolled around, Bannie %as ready and loo0ing )or%ard to the ex&erience ahead. >hroughout the ensuing years, mom and dad continued to su&&ort their children in many %ays, encouraging them in all their career &ursuits and dreams. 5t %as %ith great &ride that they %atched their children blossom in their adulthood and )orge res&ect)ul, re%arding and &roducti(e li(es. 5ndeed, that=s %hat e(ery &arent ho&es )or their child and they %ant to &lace them on the &ath that %ill get them there. 5n the case o) Bohnny and Bannie, ?ust ho% did their &aths com&are; 'here are they today; 'ell, 5 can tell you because as you may ha(e surmised, this is my storyE /y older brother, the eldest in the )amily, did not go to college. <ere=s a sna& shot at %here the di))erent &aths led

my older brother and 5.

To Go or Not To Gois that the question?

college degree doesn=t guarantee your success in li)e, no more than not going to college e3uates to guaranteed )ailure. 5t all de&ends. >here are too many (ariables that )actor into the )ormula )or success to ma0e such assertions. 5t=s u& to e(ery student to )irst determine %hat they ho&e to accom&lish out o) li)e, %hat they are %illing to sacri)ice and in(est along the %ay, and then to identi)y the most a&&ro&riate strategy in light o)

those criteria. Blindly trying to get into a school based on one or t%o )actors may be a bit nai(e in my o&inion. 5 could ha(e gone to community college and com&leted my )irst t%o years com&letely )ree. 5 could ha(e gone to a &ublic uni(ersity )or a general business administration degree, but the &ri(ate, )our+year institution allure reeled me right in. >hat %as my )irst criterion. 5 %anted to go to a &ri(ate school. /y second criterion %as distance, to be able to go home %hene(er 5 %anted and stay acti(e %ith my )amily. /y )inal criterion %as cost. >hough my dad said that %hate(er school 5 %anted to go to, he %ould ma0e it ha&&en, 5 didn=t %ant to &ut undue burden on the )amily co))ers. >hough 5 certainly &ut thought into this &rocess, the sco&e o) my analysis %as )ar too narro%. >here %ere many areas le)t unex&lored, uncalculated im&acts o) (arious )actors and im&lications )or my )uture that 5 ne(er considered. 5 %ish 5 had treated this decision more li0e an in(estment, %or0ing through the di))erent strategies and li0ely returns. Be)ore %e close this cha&ter, 5 %ant to &ro(ide you %ith some )acts9 >he latest data re(eals that )e%er than hal)Aonly 44F Ao) em&loyed college graduates are %or0ing in ?obs that re3uire a degree.#6 >he unem&loyment rate )or 2$ to 26 year olds %ho had graduated )rom college in 2$## %as #2.6F.2$ Gnem&loyment )or those 2: and younger %ith at least a Bachelor=s degree %as only ..8F as o) Buly 2$#.,

but note that em&loyment and unem&loyment rates don=t )actor in those %ho ha(e gone bac0 to school Ho)ten because they can=t )ind ?obsI or ha(e dro&&ed out o) the labor )orce.2# ! ,E sur(ey o) 2$#2 graduates )ound that only 2:.:F had )ound a ?ob be)ore graduation.22 mong adults ages #8 to 26, 42F o) college graduates %ere li(ing %ith their &arents.2. Based on a recent *idelity sur(ey o) 7:$ college graduates, students ha(e on a(erage J.2,:$$ in college+related debt. .6F o) res&ondents said they %ould ha(e done things di))erently and #2F said their college education did not ?usti)y the burden.24 ccording to the 2e&artment o) Education, )e%er than 4$F o) students %ho enter college each year graduate %ithin )our years.2:

>hey say luc0 is %hen o&&ortunity meets &re&aredness. 5) that=s true, then a lot o) college students are rather unluc0y, gi(en &ersistence rates and other insights that &oint to the struggles that &lague students entering college and the %or0&lace. So %hat do you do; !early e(ery indicator says your chances are better %ith a college degree. But ho% do you reconcile the insights )rom some o) the other statistics that are out there; Start by as0ing the right 3uestions. The !uality of our lives is directly related to the !uality of the !uestions we as".# $Tony %o&&ins >hat=s %hat %e=re really a)ter right; decent 3uality o)

li)e. 'ell, luc0 has nothing to do %ith it and higher education may or may not be the &anacea you see0. 'hether or not you go to college should not be the )ocus o) your in3uiry and decision+ma0ing &rocess. "ou should be educating yoursel) on the realities o) the %orld in %hich %e li(e@ the s0ills em&loyers need, the &roblems re3uiring solutions, the determinants o) success. "ou should be a%are o) the areas in %hich you thri(e, areas in need o) im&ro(ement, the sacri)ices you=re %illing to ma0e, and %here exactly you see yoursel) a)ter graduating. s0 the right 3uestions, )ind the right ans%ers and get %ith a &rogram that=s right )or you. n in(estment %ithout a %ell de(ised strategy isn=t an in(estment at all. 5t=s s&eculation. Reflective Moment: What's your definition of success( What's your strategy to achieve that success and the &est vehicle to get you there(