Last month NASBE (the National Association of State Boards of Education) brought to light an issue we’ve been hearing about from parents and students since we started Admissionado back in 2007.
(Actually, it’s the issue that planted the seed that led to the birth of Admissionado!)
The Lack of College Guidance In Schools
In a policy update, they urged states to create plans that will provide college guidance to students in all communities.
“The first step toward college attendance is students’ awareness of their college and career options, but few states have standards that require them to learn about these options during the school day. Students who do not receive college and career guidance at home thus receive limited exposure to a realm of possibilities as they prepare and apply for jobs or postsecondary education.”
Now, I don’t get excited about policy updates often (or ever?), but this one definitely made me do a little dance in my seat.
Can I get a “wahoo?!” (Or, if you’re a parent who always assumed this was a given in your student’s school, let’s start with a “What?! How is this not already a thing??” and then move into the “wahoo!”)
It’s about time we took the focus off of testing for a minute and instead come back to on the whole point of high school to begin with: to prepare students for their futures.
Many Students Are Not Getting The Help They Need
Every day I talk to parents who are fiercely dedicated to their kids’ education. These are parents who are actively involved in…everything, and who make a point to do whatever they can to help set their students up for a successful future. I point that out because even THESE parents are lost and confused when it comes to the college application process. And every day I hear the same story: they assumed their student was getting the support/guidance in school, but they didn’t find out (often until it was very late in the game) that they were not.*
So they scramble. And (gasp!) turn to Google for help, where they end up taking advice from any Joe Schmoe with internet access… but without any real expertise in this space. (Note to Parents: Please don’t do this. It’s only going to confuse you more. And then anger you. And then make you crazy. Trust me. This process is too important to turn to ‘BigBob2424’ for guidance.)
Planning For College Sooner Than Later
Here’s the thing: after working with students for nearly 9 years, I can say with 100% certainty that this conversation and planning needs to start early. The college admissions process gets more and more competitive every year. The job market gets tougher and tougher every year. Kids (and their parents!) need to know what options are available to them early so they can figure out a plan and have as much time as possible during high school (in school, after school, during summer and other breaks) to start working towards a goal.
Without that, we’re going to end up with a lot of kids who are wasting – instead of stretching – their potential. And there’s nothing more frustrating. Especially for those parents who expect and assume there’s someone at school who is expertly handling the whole thing.
So I just hope that the real intended audience of this update – the individual School Boards – give a little “wahoo!” when they read it… and follow it up with some biiiig changes.
*This, of course, is not the fault of Guidance Counselors. We talk to them, too! And they are just as eager for more support in their schools. Because without it, they are left to serve HUNDREDS of students and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to provide the kind of support they want and the kind of support students need.
Need some help with a college application? That’s what we’re here for!