Forget College Planning for Gen Alpha and Do This Instead
The Case To Revise College Planning
The College Admissions Process Has its Limits
A new wave of Parents will start seriously thinking about college planning for Gen Alpha soon: the oldest ones born in 2010 will turn 13 and plan for high school.
In recent years, the college planning and university admissions process has come under intense scrutiny. And for good reason: the system does not match the monumental shift in attitudes toward education and economic enrichment.
There are a number of challenges with the the future trends of college admissions.
1. Colleges Will Use Varying Subjective Criteria in Addition to Assessments
College planning usually includes molding students toward criteria that is often arbitrary and objective. Sure, selective colleges tend to have an ideal minimum GPA and SAT score. However, even top-tier colleges recognize that assessments are not accurate measures of a student’s potential or ability.
2. Affluent Students May Have Access to Competitive College-Ready Resources
The college planning process favors affluent students who can afford to pay for expensive test prep and admissions counseling. Furthermore, the students who may have opportunities may not have equal access. This means that a public school scholar who has an ACT prep class may not be able to attend due to limited transportation or scheduling. The affluent can afford to have an in-home test prep tutor at their convenience and customization.
3. Generational Academic Traditions Leave Little Room for New College Planning Gen Alpha Families
Colleges and private high school institutions give preferences to legacy students, meaning those whose parents or grandparents attended the school. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle of privilege and exclusion. It is tough for a newly relocated family to have the same access to resources, even if they can afford private institutions.
The bottom line is that the college planning process places a disadvantage against certain groups of people. But there is another way to look at this issue.
Instead of focusing on how colleges evaluate candidates, let’s focus on holistic student success. This is one of the approaches that has proven to cultivate the best college and career candidates over time.
There is a shift in how the masses should think about college planning for Gen Alpha. Instead of chasing the college planning “carrot stick”, there should be a development in character and community.
Here are some surprising college planning “words of wisdom”, taken directly from college professors and parents of Generation Z.
Insight # 1. College planning for Gen Alpha needs new vision
For the vast majority of teenagers, the process of “college planning” is outdated. Economic enrichment and academic engagement are lifelong pursuits. We live in an age where anyone can achieve a high skill certification in an emerging STEM based field, including teenagers. Information is no longer exclusive- just the academic networks that invest in developers.
Let’s be clear: College has statistically proven to provide more open doors for most working adults. In fact, for many students, college is a great choice. But the forced march of college planning—in which every student feels pressure to decide on a major, choose the “right” school, and begin preparing for a career without real world experience—is counterproductive, and often leads to bad decisions.
1. The vast majority of current Gen Z teenagers in have no idea what they want to do with their lives.
2. The process of choosing a college major is often more about figuring out what you don’t want to do than what you do want to do.
3. The vast majority of jobs that will exist 10 or 20 years from now haven’t been invented yet.
4. College is expensive, and the vast majority of students would be better off attending a less expensive school or getting certified training and experience before working on a full time degree.
5. The process of choosing a college is often more about finding the right fit than it is about finding the “best” school.
6. Approximately 4 out of every 10 college freshmen drop out; leaving them with debt, embarrassment, and exclusion from social groups.
7. The majority of schools do not include talent identification at the early stages of academic development, which put scholars into a scramble just to meet societal standards.
Insight # 2. Traditional College Planning for Gen Alpha Benefits are Too Unpredictable
There are many reasons why many see college planning as a waste of money. First of all, the vast majority of students who go through the college planning process do not end up attending the school they originally planned to attend.
In fact, according to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, only about 30% of students actually end up attending the school they originally planned to attend.
Furthermore, college planning is extremely expensive. The average cost of a college planner is about $4937 per year, and many families end up spending much more than that. Some families hire college consultants who charge upwards of $10,000 and never recoup the investment in scholarship offers or management level job placement.
Insight # 3. College Planning for Gen Alpha has no guarantee
Finally, there is no guarantee that college planning will actually increase your scholar’s chances of getting into a good school. In fact, many experts believe that the process may actually hurt your chances by putting unnecessary stress on you and your family.
College planning has no guarantee because environment and aptitude have considerable impacts on scholar success. It’s like choosing a vehicle without knowing the terrain. A straight “A” student without work experience has the same chance of succeeding at a top-tier college as Prius on the off-roads of East Texas. Not impossible, but highly improbable.
The Case For Student Success Programs
Student success programs provide a greater return on investment
Student success programs provide a greater return on investment than college planning services. When you consider investing in student success programs, understand that they can be customized to fit your individual needs and budget.
Student success programs provide more opportunities for academic enrichment
When you hear the phrase “student success program,” you might think it’s just another name for college planning. But student success programs go beyond just helping students get into college. These programs provide opportunities for academic enrichment and personal development that can help students succeed in college and beyond.
Here are just a few of the ways student success programs can benefit students:
· They can help students identify their strengths and interests.
· They can provide mentors and role models who can guide students through the college application process.
· They can connect students with internships, summer programs, and other opportunities that will help them explore their interests.
· They can teach students essential skills like time management, study skills, and test-taking strategies.
· They can help students develop a strong college AND career application portfolio.
· They can provide support during the transition to college, helping students adjust to campus life and overcome any challenges they may face.
If you’re looking for ways to support your child’s academic success, consider investing in a student success program. These programs offer a wide range of benefits that can help your child thrive in school and beyond.
Student success programs offer more personalized mentorship
College planning can feel like a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s hard to know where to start. And, once you’ve narrowed down your choices, there’s still the issue of college application fees and standardized test scores.
Student success programs offer a more personalized and customized approach to the college search and application process. These programs provide mentorship and support throughout the entire process, from choosing the right colleges to apply to, to writing personal statements and preparing for interviews.
Additionally, student success programs often have partnerships with colleges and universities that offer exclusive opportunities, such as scholarships and early admission. This means that participants in these programs have a greater chance of being accepted into their dream school.
Finally, student success programs often incorporate many long term career development training and costs, making them reasonably ably accessible to most families.
The focus is on molding the student into a successful citizen leader or developer, rather than making them fit the mold of one institution’s expectations.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the college planning process, consider signing up for a student success program. With the help of a mentor, you and your scholar will be on your way to discovering the best fit for you—and increase your chances of getting into your top choice school.
The Bottom Line of College Planning
College Planning for Gen Alpha is Only Part of the Process
For the vast majority of future Generation Alpha college students, college planning is only one cog in the wheel of success.
Instead of spending countless hours and thousands of dollars on college planning, they will likely focus on something that will pay off regardless of where they go to school: developing economic intelligence with a marketable skill.
There are many ways to acquire marketable skills. Young workers today can learn more in a few months of real-world experience than they can in four years of classes. Plus, they’ll earn while they learn.
What’s more, marketable skills are portable. They’re not tied to any particular employer or location. So even if their plans fall through and you have to transfer colleges, they’ll still have the skills they need to succeed.
So parents should consider college planning for Gen Alpha as an important part in the Student Success process, but not the only part. Focus on helping your child developing a marketable skill with economic literacy.
It’s the best investment you can make in your scholar’s future.