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“Best years of my life!”
That’s a common phrase college students hear from older adults. After all, thinking back to your college years is pretty nostalgic. Those late nights studying with friends, the year your team dominated all other opponents in the flag football tournament, the first time you saw your spouse standing in the cafeteria line ... Ah, college.
Of course, the phrase could also be summed up like this: You might as well enjoy college because life goes downhill from there. That, unfortunately, is the problem too many people are experiencing.
Teens approach the college decision-making process with a best-years-of-my-life mindset. So they look for a party school, or a school in a vibrant city, or a school with the most prestigious reputation, or whatever particular will satisfy their craving for fun … and off they go.
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It’s true—most teens do enjoy themselves during college and graduation does mark a downhill trajectory. That’s because, just six months later, student loan repayment begins. If you’ve been there, it really can feel like the best years are over.
As a parent, you can help change the conversation. With FAFSA deadlines approaching and spring campus tours scheduled, now is the perfect time to start. Read on for tips to ensure that your teen’s time in college is merely the beginning of the best years of their life.
Education is important. Where a student goes to school is not.
While some colleges and universities are better than others, alma mater does not determine success. A lazy student attending an expensive school is not guaranteed a job, and a driven student who graduates from a decent, affordable school is not doomed to a life of settling.
In fact, over the past 30 years studies show an upward trend of CEOs graduating from public colleges and universities instead of private institutions and Ivy League schools. Your teen can go after their dreams and conquer the world, even if they spend two years at a community college and finish up at a local state university. A $30,000 loan isn’t a necessity—only pay for what you can afford.
You don’t make big purchases without tons of research. College is a really big purchase.
Think back to the last time you bought a car. You started by deciding what size vehicle best fit your needs—a truck for hauling furniture, a van for toting kids, a wagon for loading groceries. Then, you considered different makes and models and compared your options side by side.
You made your final decision based on lots of details: cost, gas mileage, power, features, drivability and color. Some factors weighed more heavily than others, sure, but each factor held sway. Why, then, don’t we apply the same decision-making process to college? As you know, college is expensive—the four years your teen spends in school will cost more than your car. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly.
Your teen can go to college debt free. We can show you how.
The easiest way to open up the world to your teen is to help them avoid debt completely. Student loans are not good debt, and they account for $1 trillion worth of debt floating around our country today. That’s more than all credit card debt combined!
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For years, we’ve advocated going to college debt free. Now we’re providing the tools to make it a reality for you and your family with Dave Ramsey’s Custom College Guide.
Custom is the key word. Spend 20 minutes on the phone with an advisor, and within 3–5 business days, your personalized book is mailed to you. This 52-page guide includes timelines and checklists to get you started as well as tons of original ideas from our team on how to increase your funding options.
Best of all, you’ll see important information regarding your teen’s top six college choices in a side-by-side comparison. We do the research ahead of time, which saves you hours of online searching and paperwork. This guide is your coach to picking the best college for your teen.
You’re the parent—go ahead and act on that authority. Begin talking with your teens today about a debt-free plan for college. We promise, just like they’re glad you taught them to brush their teeth and to share with friends, they’ll thank you later. College should be the beginning of the best years of their life.
Learn more about Dave Ramsey’s Custom College Guide.
If you were in your college-bound child’s shoes now, what would you have done differently? How are they learning from your experiences?