Okay, now that all the pomp and circumstance celebrations are over, and your college-bound kid is reveling in get-togethers with high school friends, it’s time to get them on board with the next phase in their lives – *their college education*!
Unlike our college days when tuition was just $1000 a year and we bounced from major to major based on a whim, spending an extra semester or two to graduate didn’t break our parents’ bank. College was supposed to be a time to explore majors and “find yourself.”
But with college tuition starting at $20,000 and as high as $60,000 (Yikes! That’s more than the average family income!), that extra year can dry up your retirement savings or eat into your next child’s college fund. So that’s why EVERY COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENT NEEDS TO CREATE THEIR FOUR-YEAR PLAN!
Most students who end up taking more than 4 years to graduate are *victims of poor planning*. They didn’t understand the progression of courses that they needed to take and when all of those courses were offered. Just about every required course has a prerequisite and with some majors, they need to take these courses during their FIRST SEMESTER in order to complete them in 4 years (especially for engineering and pre-med). With colleges operating on slashed budgets, some of these courses are offered just once per year, or worse, on odd or even years! Upper division courses often have several prerequisites, which requires careful planning in advance.
Then, every college also has set core or general education requirements that are taken in addition to the major courses. With careful planning, some gen. ed. requirements can be satisfied by lower division major courses. Again, CAREFUL PLANNING AHEAD OF TIME. Just yesterday I worked witha client who took 2 courses that satisfied 1 requirement – he’s kicking himself now…
What’s ideal about the 4-Year Plan is that your student will completely understand what courses to take AND why to take them. By doing this research, they’ll know what their major departments have to offer and requirements for special programs like Study Abroad, Internships, and Research. By adding these to the 4-year plan BEFORE starting college, they’ll take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities available to them. So, now that the celebrations are over, it’s time for them to roll up their sleeves and create their 4-Year Plans!;