Tag Archives: higher education

Generational Changes

If I thought that it worked for me this way and therefore it should work for my son the same way, I wouldn’t have gone to a seminar today on funding your college education. It was amazing to see how even my alma mater, Southwestern Adventist University, as well as various organizations doling out loans and grants have changed how funding for higher education is handled these days.

Michael has vastly different scholarship opportunities, based on his grades alone, that weren’t available to me during my years earning that amazing bachelor’s degree. It almost makes me sick that this wasn’t available some odd years ago (dare I date myself and give the exact number? No way)!

If this is just for one thing – funding college education – how many other things have changed since “my day.” How narrow minded we can be to think that the way it was done is the way it will always be done. Everything in the home office of 20 years ago is now all in one location at your fingertips if you haveĀ  smart phone (rolodex, calendar, calculator, phone, atlas, shopping list, boom box…).

Times change. We are only outdated if we refuse to change with them. Does this mean giving up our values or beliefs? Not at all, but maybe just the way we’ve always packaged them.

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It is a strange sensation, watching my oldest child go through things that seem like only yesterday for me – college applications! He took his PSAT and evidently got attention from several colleges and universities. Two letters arrived today and it’s been about that rate for the past couple of weeks.

Michael was quick to notice the formula. Most of the letters talk about a website to help you understand financial aid for college and they give you a username and password. I suppose each college hopes you will use the one they gave you. Michael looks at these as routine. The Colorado School of Mines was different. Their interest letter stood out. They went beyond the pleasantries of why Michael would love his experience at their facility and went on to describe what some of their recent graduates were making as engineers their first year out of college. That got Michael’s attention.

He already has some ideas and aspirations, he wouldn’t at all mind getting a letter from MIT, but Michael pretty much throws all of the form letters away. The letters that take the time to note his interest in engineering and so forth really stand out. It will be interesting to watch him go through this phase of his life, even though I will loudly protest the entire time that I am far too young to have a child preparing for college in another year.

This whole process has taught me something – that I need to stand out. If I want to get someone’s attention, I need to be specific and purposeful in standing out differently from all of the rest. This will require digging a little deeper and taking the time to get to know common ground before I send off some form letter. Thank you Colorado School of Mines for a lesson all of us need to learn at times.

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