Looking for the perfect high school graduation gift for that special kid? Money? Nah -- they'll just blow it in ways you probably don't want to know about. Luggage? Nah -- although it's a practical idea, they're probably going to get it from Aunt Sally. Engraved pen? Nah -- they'll never use it. So what do college-bound grads need? They need a FOUR-YEAR PLAN that they can use to navigate the confusing major and college graduation requirements!
Every college-bound student needs to completely understand what is required of them for their majors (and minors or double majors) and layout a plan to take all of the necessary prerequisites for each course. Then, they need to select courses that satisfy their graduation requirements while giving them exposure in their other areas of interest and skills that they'll need in their future careers. This can be really confusing!
Combining all of these courses within the constraints of the college can be quite a challenge because some courses are only offered once per year or even alternating years. For courses that are prerequisites to required courses, this can actually set you back a semester or even a full year! YIKES! That means you'll be paying $12,000 to $60,000 more than you expected to pay for a bachelor's degree!
Besides the cost factor, when freshmen have laid out their four-year plans before they start college, they make better use of their college education. Because they'll know what's required and completely understand what cool programs they can join and specific professors they want to get to know, they can add these extracurricular activities to their four-year plan to make the plan a template for success.
Academic advisors in college are so inundated with students that they only help them consider courses for the upcoming term. That doesn't give the student the comprehensive understanding that they need to make their college education work for them. So, offer to sit down with your grads and help them map out their four-year plans. That'll be a gift that will ensure that their college experience is more than beer pong!