Behind every man or woman who serves in the US military stands a army of people who have prepared them for their service. Parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, teachers, coaches and yes, tutors too.
It's been my honor to serve as a tutor for some of America's finest soldiers, sailors, airpersons and marines as they prepared for their ASVAB exams and today one of them wrote me an email. Let me share it with you.
"Dear Dr. C,
I just arrived in Tokyo and wanted to write to say thanks. I've finished basic and MP training and now I'm at my first out of country assignment, studying Japanese. A year ago I was a 19 year old kid and now I'm serving in the US Air Force. What's even
more exciting is that I didn't have to choose between college and military life. I've completed my third college course: English, college algebra and Spanish I. In three years I'll have my bachelors degree...
"What did you wish you knew how to do and what did you wish you had already done a few times before you went off to college?" I asked a group of 500 very successful college seniors from all across the US in 2007.
The answers were amazing!
Then I posed the same question to a group of college drop-outs and to a group of men and women in the Department of Corrections who were 25-30 years old at the time of their incarceration.
The answers and the difference between the answers of these three groups were very important. So important that I wrote the book, "LAUNCH" which will come out next month.
Let me share a few....
"I didn't know how to change a tire" one Yale senior wrote, "and when my tire blew out, at night on a remote road, having to ask someone to help made me very afraid."
"I knew how to ask a girl to go out on a date but not how to tell her that a date to me meant dinner and a movie; not sex, without hurting...
When we tutor a student they are able to get through the work at hand, and that's good.
When we academically coach a student they can tutor themselves both through the current cadre of assignments, test preparation and projects and also through all other future studies, and that is far, far better!
Academic coaching is economical; often in 4-5 sessions I can take a student to the point of being an independent learner, and it's empowering. Too many students whose families engage a tutor see themselves as "broken" or abnormal because they need a tutor.
They envision all the other kids in class as mastering the material with ease; a fallacy of course but still it's their perception. Then they see tutoring as proof that they are less able, or "broken." But in academic coaching they learn that all people have
gaps, and we have them in all subjects. They master gap-recognition and learn gap-fill techniques. Then their ready to learn how to learn.
The US Department of Education reported in 2010 that less than 50% of all American college students who enter as freshmen graduate within the next six years and at some colleges this rate is <10percent!
Yet almost 90% who drop out without a degree do so with more than $10,000 in student loan debt.
Then in 2011 Secretary Duncan announced a statistic that restores hope; "Students who graduate from a 4 year college in 4 years or less are 85% more likely to actually complete a degree than their peers who prolong their educational pursuits."
The message: Plan well, prepare vigorously and do not dawdle.
As a Certified Collegiate Coach I serve clients preparing for college as well as those already enrolled. It is my experience that academic prowess or intelligence matters very little as a determinant of college success. Graduates range from the extremely
brilliant to the folks who's high school teachers deemed barely capable but those who earn degrees...
Each year thousands of high school graduates enter college and five years later only 50% of those who go to a 4 year school will graduate.
Students who start in community college fare much worse; with less than 27% either graduating with an Associates degree or transferring to a 4 year college.
Since a bachelors degree is associated with not only $1M more income than any other post secondary choice it should never be thrown away and there are 5 things parents can, should and I dare say must do; for their children to have good chance of completing
their studies and LAUNCHing into adult life. I bring you these as a professor, a Certified Life Coach and a parent of 4 young adults.
#1 Make your child take and retake the ACCUPLACER at a local community college, starting in the Sophomore year until all three sessions are passed and he/she is receiving permission to enroll in real; academic classes. Even if you think you will use only
a 4 year school this test is...
Colorado High School Seniors.....Prepare for College.....Then Go Back to the 3R's
This week the US Department of Education released more troubling news about Colorado Schools. In 2010 more students manged to graduate on time from high school but fewer that ever were actually ready for college.
We need to define successful completion of high school by the only criteria that really matters; being prepared for successful completion of real, credit-bearing college courses. This is what your high school diploma should tell the world and if it doesn't
you have been cheated of your right to an education. Anything less than meeting this standard is like getting a trophy you never earned; its humiliating and when it comes to public education giving students less than a pre-collegiate education is asking them
to throw away $1Million. That's the difference between having a 4 year college degree and having anything less.
In almost all of the Colorado's community colleges...