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October 15, 2014
by: Tad Phippen Wente

Grade 9 never too soon for a college chat

High school freshmen are still adjusting to high school! But it’s never too early to think about life after high school, and this means college. This month IDEAS Academy freshmen will tour UW-Milwaukee and it’s a good time for parents and students to talk about college together.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics at nces.ed.gov, “...in 2012 the median of earnings for young adults with a bachelor's degree was $46,900, while the median was $22,900 for those without a high school credential and $30,000 for those with a high school credential. In other words, young adults with a bachelor's degree earned more than twice as much as those without a high school credential (105 percent more) and 57 percent more than young adult high school completers. Additionally, in 2012 the median of earnings for young adults with a master's degree or higher was $59,600, some 27 percent more than the median for young adults with a bachelor's degree.” This means that by completing college our graduates will have more options in their lives. Certainly it’s not all about the money. High-level thinking centered around problem-solving in any field will help develop thought-full, productive citizens. Our goal is to prepare students to not only get into college, but to get out successfully!

College visits reduce the fear and wonder about university life. One school may seem far too large or perfectly big and exciting. Another school will seem small and calm or tiny and limiting. Tour guides and admissions counselors explain everything from majors to lifestyles and answer the students’ many questions. With visits throughout the four years of high school, students can develop a plan for the kind of school they want to attend and why.

To discuss college, especially the UWM trip, with your freshman, consider the following:

  • Avoid this dialogue: Q “How was the college trip?” A: “Good.” The End.
  • Ask something specific:
    • What surprised you about UWM?
    • What didn’t you like?
    • What was the Union like? What did you eat for lunch?
    • Was everything in one building?
    • Who were you with most of the time, and what did that person like best?
    • If you went there, what would you major in?
    • How did this school compare with UW-Sheboygan (another college you’ve been to)?
    • What seemed like the scariest part about college?

Obstacles certainly present themselves during college planning, but by focusing on positives and the dreams your student has, those roadblocks can be reduced. Take time to talk. The more you know, the less stressful that senior year will be!

Note: Fieldtrip permission slips are due by Friday 17 October. The trip is Wednesday 22 October.

Please join us for the Étude Sessions with musician Chris Bathgate at Paradigm October 18! Proceeds from this and future concerts are used in part to cover transportation costs for college tours!

—Tad Phippen Wente, College Readiness Coordinator 10.12.14

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