Colleges for Average Students? Look Beyond Average!

I always considered myself an "above average" student, (at least), and hoped my kids would be the same, (again, at least), but recent work alongside my colleague Karen Plescia, M.S. has changed all that. I now realize the limitations of grading myself, my kids, or anyone for that matter. There are a lot of other options around average other than above or below it. I now think there are as many dimensions of excellence as there are individuals who seek it.

My background is financial aid/education financing, so my experience with college counseling sessions has focused on cost basis (state vs. private, etc.). Even though this angle did come up in our recent work together, many other ideas for all kinds of students with different strengths and challenges dominated our discussions. Where my background kept me thinking in linear terms, Karen touted with enthusiasm an array of individual-specific options. She described, among other things, design programs for artists, professional internships for students that needed some time to grow up, and schools that had supportive counseling programs for emotional issues. Prior, I had no knowledge of the plethora of opportunities that enable any interested student to achieve excellence on his or her own terms.

So, what about my thoughts on being an above average student? Well, they are gone... There is no average student. While some parents came into our consulting sessions concerned about grades or emotional issues, used to identifying his/her child as "below average," I don't think any of them left with the same resignation. The vehicle of empowering educational planning was really was an eye opener for most. No one was given hope - each parent already had that; they were given a plan.

I would encourage all parents to think in new terms about their children. They may be A, C, or Barely D students, but that does not mean they are above or below average. So when you are considering colleges for below-average, average, or even above-average students, try for a change to look beyond the notion of average.

Tags: education trends, educational consultants, educational consulting profession, outcomes, college, financing options, admissions process, applying to college, financial aid consulting

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