There are different options available for post secondary education but a four year bachelor-degree granting institution is the most recommended (and sometimes most controversial) option. Whatever your mode of transportation you take on a road trip, your vehicle must have fuel. The same is true as students travel on the road to college. Telling a student to get good grades and go to college simply is not enough. Students need more than good grades to become a college graduate. They need specific information and support through high school and the college search and application process. There are six (what I call) “fueling stations” on the road to college. The 6 fueling stations are:
- Information or Research – This includes college fairs and tours and research in books and on the internet
- The 4 Year Plan – This is the classes taken in 9th-12th grade. These classes should be selected with student involvement and based on their skills, interests, and goals for life after high school.
- Grade Point Average and Test Scores – Make no mistake that grades are extremely important on the road to college. College entrance test scores are given more weight in some institutions than in others but they are important overall.
- Human Capital – The people who help and support college-bound students. Each student needs a support team but a major player should be a student’s guidance counselor.
- Service and Activities – Institutions are seeking well-rounded students. Involvement in community service projects, sports, and other extra curricular activities builds the character and leadership skills that are important in a diverse student body.
- Payment – The biggest obstacle for most students is perhaps how to pay for their education. Students need to be aware of the many payment options available and the requirements, deadlines, and agencies or contact persons for each.