A life spent amplifying your unique strengths and sharing them with the world is a good life indeed. A college that helps you do that is a good fit. One that leaves you with a mountain of debt that prevents you from doing that is not.
How do we Communicate This Truth to Students and their Families?
The association with an expensive four-year degree from a prestigious university and a life of success is a tough one to let go of for many people. Sometimes a student has a particular "dream school" in mind that has been beloved to them since their childhood. A suggestion that a particular school may not be a good option for them is often met with resistance.
A better way to have students begin considering college is to get them to focus on the ultimate goal. What is it the student is really good at and enjoys? What are their future hopes and dreams and goals they hope to accomplish? College is a means to an end, not the end itself. Your higher education can help support your goals, or you can end up with way too much debt regretting some of your prior decisions.
What are some of the tactics you use to get students thinking about the future in helpful ways? What are some of the challenges you face in helping students make realistic decisions?