May Rant from the College Guy to Seniors and their parents

Hey kids what's happening???

Y'know that's a rhetorical question, cuz I know full well what's happening:

1. You're winding all things academic DOWN

2. You've gotten over the heartbreak of prom or
2a. You're still basking in its glow

C'mon, admit it, it's one or the other, right?????

3. You're checking out facebook more than you'll admit to see who else is going to be a freshman at your chosen college next year, and you're, shall we say, checking him/her out!?

4. You gotta remember to get fitted for that graduation gown (I don't actually know if they fit you for those things or not - just a wild guess on my part)

5. You're getting all sorts of nostalgic and teary eyed and emotional as you play your last game, give your last concert, take your last test (well, maybe not saddened by this one), and walk the halls of your youth for one of the last times....

Well snap out of it bucko's, you've got a life to lead and there's fun and exciting times ahead!!!!

Now here's the point of this rant:

For those of you taking college loans, or contemplating loans, there's important stuff you have to do in the way of what they call 'loan counseling'. It's not hard, but it is annoying and a tad time consuming. Oh, and it's banal, but there is an important reason for doing it, and that's to educate your butt about what borrowing money really means to you and your life after college. So get it done!

Hopefully you've all (as well as your parents) heeded my advice and are borrowing ONLY the prescribed and proscribed Stafford Loan amounts, which should not be exceeding $5,500. Some of you may be taking a Perkins Loan (which, like the Stafford Loan, is a 'good' one) but hopefully you're taking it in lieu of the unsubsidized Stafford loan.

PARENTS: this is really your department - not junior's. Um, I mean senior's. Um, I mean...you know what I mean. CALL ME there's never any charge for shmoozing on the phone by the way) if you're confused or discombobulated or, most important, if you've been led to think you HAVE TO allow your son or daughter to borrow more than the $5,500 I mentioned above.

I'm not saying there aren't special circumstances which you may be encountering which necessitates dire steps, but there are so many students and families who get in trouble by not fully understanding this stuff. If you suspect you may be one of them, allow me to set you straight. It's not rocket science, and I'll break it down for you.

Now back to students: in your email in-box, or on your password-protected newly-minted student account page at your college of choice, or sitting (maybe unopened?) on your desk could very well be important instructions from your college about registering, financing, requesting housing, completing medical forms and selecting courses. READ IT!!!!! DON'T IGNORE IT!!!!

If you've got questions, call your college, talk to your guidance counselor, consult your guru, or call/email me. That's why I'm here.

The point of my missive is: BE THOROUGH! And ask for help if you're confused or unsure.

Last but not least, for parents primarily. The New York Times has run three riveting articles this past week on the topic of college financing which in my humble opinion are MUST READS for everyone, rich or poor or in between, as your student embarks on this magical mystery tour. Ignore this stuff at your peril!

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/17/your-money/paying-for-college/a-beginn...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/opinion/sunday/bruni-class-cost-and-co...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/magazine/who-gets-to-graduate.html

Stay groovy,

Gary

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Gary L. Canter
College Placement Services
210 St. John Street
Portland, Maine 04102
(207) 772-9711
www.collegeplacementservices.org

College Placement Services provides high school students and their families assistance with all aspects of the college search, selection, application and financial aid process.

P.S. Some final words from the College Placement Services Shameless Commerce Department:

I'm currently busying myself edifying the students and parents of the class of 2015 and 2016. If you have found my rants helpful, if your son or daughter has used my services and/or gleaned wisdom from my maundering rants, then a word of referral from you will serve as the very best advertisement for me imaginable.

Please recommend my web page and/or if you send me names and emails of students and parents to receive my future rants, you'll be doing a double favor both to me and to your friends and adult colleagues with high school aged kids.

Thank you!