WESLEY CHAPEL – This is the time of the year when college admissions letters and financial aid and scholarship packages arrive. Cheers and hugs follow when students share the exciting news with their families, but for many, the celebration may be short-lived as they face making difficult decisions—selecting the right school for them financially. More often than not, students are offered less aid from their top-choice colleges than they are at less competitive schools, which means, if they want to pursue their education at their top-choices, they will need student loans. With the nation’s student loan debt reaching $1.5 trillion, however, attending college without accruing a daunting amount of debt has become the priority of almost every household with a college-bound high school student. Recent statistics from US Department of Education shows that 43 million people are paying for student loans, and many are still trying to pay it off well into their 50s and 60s. These days, affording college is a concern of not just middle-income earners who seem to be squeezed out of financial aid but also higher-income earners as well. Even if their child has been accepted at top schools, they opt for in-state schools after calculating the exorbitant costs. College affordability has lately been a hot topic at the national stage, but it will be a while until a more reasonable calculus is worked out to make college affordable without crippling students to hefty loan payments after graduation.
While college cost has become an impractical reality for many families, acceptance to top-colleges has become more competitive and elusive. For many, graduating from prestigious schools awards a high sense of achievement and even lifetime of pride, but competition to secure seats at top schools goes beyond prestige. According to a study by the financial company, NerdWallet, graduates of top schools report a starting salary of about $61,500 compared to just $43,500 for lower-ranking schools, and this disparity seems to remain in their mid-career salaries. In addition, graduates of private colleges make about 20% more than their public counterparts on average. Consequently, college admissions have become extremely competitive not only to get in to a top college but also to receive a desirable financial package. Students must present to the college admissions committee an application that embodies developing mastery and potential in multidimensional areas: maintain a high GPA, ace challenging courses (including AP, IB, dual enrollment), engage in community services and internships, take on leadership roles, and showcase individuality in their college essays. As such, applying to college is a complex and stressful process for everyone involved, and can lead to tensions in the family. So much so that increasingly more middle-class parents of public high school students look to independent educational consultants for guidance in the process. Although all the high schools have guidance counselors to help students, most high school students in public education just do not receive enough individual help because these guidance counselors simply have too many students on their service roster (an average ratio of 400 to 1). For high school students attending public schools, the cost of hiring an education consultant may seem high. However, many parents also realize that they are making a long-term investment for a better financial future, which means lower student loan debt and even higher-paying jobs after graduation. Clearly, there is a lot at stake for the college-bound students and families.
As an education consultant who has been a lifelong educator and university professor for over two decades, Dr. Jennifer Ro of Dr. JRo Education Consulting & Tutoring, LLC, understands the current struggles of students and families that are navigating the important but uncertain terrain of college admissions process and success in college. Dr. Ro works with high school juniors and seniors as they enter the college admissions process. She also works with high school freshmen throughout their high school years with grade management, time management, arranging tutoring for difficult subjects and tests, and the college admissions process until students are admitted to college. She even offers a get-ready-for-college seminar on the first-year success and safety before students go off to college. College admissions and success requires a blueprint and a trusted guide more than ever. For more information and a free consultation, contact Dr. Ro at 813-536-0729. Visit her Center’s website: www.jroeducation.com.
Dr. Ro and high school volunteers will be at the “Eggstravaganza” event on April 6th at Wesley’s Chapel’s Estancia community. Come to their booth to learn about her services.