University of Iowa – College Possible
It is increasingly difficult to compete in today’s job market without a college degree. Obtaining a degree requires good grades, proper planning and financial resources. If you are worried that you cannot meet these requirements, do not give up on a college education. There are plenty of resources available. Parents really need to help students find out who they are. What their values are. What their abilities are. What their interests are. And then as they start explore that they can look at what the options are that fit with those things, so its very, very critical I think for students to know themselves and parents play a critical role in helping students. One of the things that I talk to many parents about is making sure that there is a routine at home for kids. Making sure they are structured in the sense that school might let out at 3 o’clock. And students might need a little downtime because they’ve been in school all day, so they give an hour to themselves. But then at 4 o’clock, the student knows this the time that I pull out the homework and get studying. With this, we hope that families are instilling in the students, and their children, that the family values education. It’s never too early. If you have 4th, 5th, 6th graders, even middle school, high school, it’s never too early. If it comes up, talk about it. If you see something on TV that your kid kind of might seem interested in, even in sports. If they have a favorite football team or basketball team, you know, start the conversation there. You know, where do you want to go, or does that university interest you. It’s never too early to start talking about that. I was kind of a, you know a B and C student and that was kind of my goal, I was okay with that. You know if I got an A it would be nice, but I wasn’t going to, you know, over-achieve, was kind of the mentality I had. I think that was the wrong idea to have, especially in college. Like yeah I did fine, my grades are pretty much like they were in High School, but I could have done a lot more. It’s a trying time, but this will set your future for a long time, so its definitely worth trying your hardest and putting the effort in. I prepared for college by taking higher-level courses in high school. I was in AP courses and I also took a college course at a community college close to home. The best way for parents and students to get information to prepare themselves for college is to talk to the student’s guidance counselor. The guidance counselors will have a whole plethora of information that they can share with families about preparing for college. When it comes time to plan for high school, to select classes for high school, its very important that parents and students are communicating with their guidance counselor. As a school counselor at City High, we work in a lot of different areas. One area is to help make sure that all students are scheduled to graduate. Another area is to help them transition beyond high school. We have a multitude of resources and its really important that parents feel welcome to contact us. We have computerized programs to help students match with colleges. We also have programs to help students identify their interests, values, and their abilities. Between government aid, other need based sources, and merit based scholarship, the real price for college can be much different than the sticker price. Financially, I would say, there isn’t really much obstacle. If you want to make it happen, it can happen. And if you’re from lower resources, there’s a lot of financial aid available. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid it’s a form that is used to award federal, state and institutional aid. But there is a formula that determines, basically, with the information that is taken from the FAFSA and it gives you an index number, which is basically the expected family contribution. And that helps determine the type of aid the student can be awarded. I work in a low income school and college is not at all a thought in their minds. They think that after school they are going to go into a field of something that their parents did but never college. And they just don’t think that they can go. And its so possible to go. The money is there. The support is there. Once you get in, there’s people to help you. You know, they just need to talk to their counselors and find out what they need to do. But even when you think there is no way that you can possibly go, everything is there for you. You know, many schools would welcome parents to come in. All they have to do is open that door, walk in, and just ask “What can my son or daughter be doing to prepare themselves for college?” Money shouldn’t be an issue for making such a big decision. If you want to make it happen, it can happen. There’s a lot of financial aid available. My parents didn’t go to college, so they didn’t know much about the applications, the FAFSA, but now that I’ve moved and I’ve gone to college, they are a lot more involved with my brother’s applications. They’ve helped him fill out the FAFSA, they have helped him fill out scholarships and I wish they would have been able to do that for me, but I’m glad they learned.