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How to prevent your adolescent from being injured by the runaway college tuition train

Over the last year I personally have seen over 10 articles from respectable news outlets all converging on one fact: college tuition is unbearably high.  One example from realclearpolitics.com was called “College is the Holy Grail but should everyone go?”

Student loans are the second largest item on household balance sheets after mortgage debt!

And because tuition rate increases have far outpaced standard of living expense increases and salary increases in the general population, it is no longer true that the general American can afford to send their child to college.

By the time you read this 5-minute blog, you will understand why you must take a much more strategic way of preparing your adolescent to choose a college, college major, and career.

The realclearpolitics.com article points out that the benefits of a college degree vary widely depending on the quality of the school in a student’s choice of major.  There is a huge variation in the return on investment (ROI) to a college degree, depending on choice of major and occupation, school type, and likelihood of graduating.

Brutal fact: one in five schools analyzed had NEGATIVE returns on investment (ROI) in a study released in a Brookings Institution brief.

With college costs at record highs, students are incurring debilitating debt as you already likely know. It is no longer necessarily valid to tell young people that college (especially a generic bachelor of arts degree with low employability) is always the best choice, and or that they will be able to find jobs that make these debt levels affordable.  Nonetheless, if your student is able to get into a school with high graduation rates, generous financial aid, and he or she chooses a major with high expected earnings – such as engineering or science – they can greatly improve their lifetime prospects.  But a costly degree at a non-selective four year school with a poor graduation rate and a student who chooses a major randomly is not a wise decision.

How can we help students make smarter investments in their postsecondary years?  One of the best ways to do this is to have your high school adolescent or college student undergo career exploration by doing things such as shadowing professionals in occupations of interest.

Secondly, your high schooler should also be involved in volunteer or paid work opportunities whereby they learn more about what they truly find meaningful which can into a way for them to make a living.

Of course, the goal is to help your student find their vocational “sweet spot” by finding those careers that exists at the intersection of their passions, their aptitudes (what they can actually become skilled at ), and what has economic promise as a way for them to live an independently meaningful life they can be in control of.

The problem is what most people experience in high school and college are generic career test inventories that provide reams of paper with hundreds of jobs listed on them, and nothing more.

And whether your student is in high school or at some point in college or a recent college graduate,  too many of these young folks or their parents are allowing the “process of elimination” method to be used where that young person wanders around in a “career fog” until they find something they enjoy.  This process can cost a person decades and 100’s of 1,000’s $$$$’s in unnecessary pain and spending.

A much more direct route to ultimately finding a stable and productive and meaningful career is to leverage great developments in career guidance behavioral science tools.  After having worked with over 100 youth, young and midcareer professionals, I have found that there are some “best-in-class” behavioral science tools, that when combined with a customized interview that deeply probes for key information, facilitate an efficient route toward the Holy Grail: a meaningful and financially satisfying career.  Here is an example where I talk about a  Personality – Career Fit process: http://greatpeoplescience.com/find-a-stable-productive-and-filling-career/

In the following blog I talk about the process that I have honed over a decade of practicing to become a seasoned career guidance counselor: https://www.doctorbrunner.com/how-to-ensure-your-child-strategically-uses-college-to-find-a-career-rather-than-as-a-150000-playground/

I recently hired a college graduate as an assistant in my office.  As I’ve listened to her talk about how she was counseled regarding what major to choose, it also becomes quite clear that you should not necessarily trust your adolescent’s University or College to do a good job of helping them choose a major!  A costly and painful fact is that college students and even graduates have never gone through substantial career guidance processes.  That is a key reason why so many graduate and wander around in the career fog.

Whether you are a highschooler, college graduate, or parent, I welcome you to seriously consider the importance of undergoing a rigorous and scientifically advanced process whereby you avoid the wasteful “trial and error” approach and rather fast track yourself toward precise identification of those few careers that are truly the Best Matches.  It’s hard to be happy in life if you are not happy with your work.  Use the most powerful tools to get the most accurate answers.

Want to learn more?  http://greatpeoplescience.com/find-a-stable-productive-and-filling-career/

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Meet Doctor Brunner

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Brunner is a Tucson based psychologist and published expert who has a 20 year track record of clinical excellence, scientific research, teaching, publications, awards and podcast interviews.  He is the senior author of a psychological measure adapted into 14 languages worldwide, and has written over 250 blogs, many of them have gone viral.  He is revolutionizing the field of career guidance with his fresh and trademarked approach that is spreading like wildfire. Sign up here to be notified of soon to be published book, Find Your Real Me: Career Guidance Making You Truly Free.