Perhaps you have seen the sobering statistics regarding college graduation rates.
Despite the fact that studies have shown that college graduates earn $1M more over their lifetime than those who do not obtain a degree,1the numbers of young adults actually finishing their degrees continue to drop.
Many have cited the increasing cost of post-secondary education as the reason for these drops in graduation. However, even with an increase in the amount of federal money that has gone to Pell Grants and student loan programs, there has been no obvious improvement in the numbers. One study stated:
“In only 266 schools (26% of all four-year private, non-profit colleges) did more than two-thirds of full-time freshman with federal loans manage to earn a degree within six years of enrollment. The graduation rates of the remaining 761 schools are so low that if they were high schools instead of colleges they would be flagged for special attention under the recently passed Elementary and Secondary Education Act.” 2
While we have invested money to help students defray the costs of a four-year degree, it is not producing the desired results and has little effect on student outcomes. This is because the real investment that needs to be made is in mindset, not money.
At Grand Key Education we believe that the successes and accomplishments our youth are able to achieve are most dependent on how they think, rather than their individual socio-economic or family circumstances. When we teach them the skills of personal responsibility for one’s own thoughts and feelings, the power of self-discipline, and the difference between being an “owner” rather than a “victim” in the circumstances of their lives, there is nothing they can’t overcome or achieve.
The ability to think about our thinking as well as the ability to feel and process our emotions are not “soft skills.” They are the most essential skills we can help our youth acquire so that they can set and achieve their goals—so that they not only start down the road to their future, but reach the finish line as well.
No matter who we are or what our individual economic circumstances are, we all face obstacles and moments of doubt or failure on the road to our dreams. The difference comes when we have the tools and skills to be able to assess and overcome those obstacles and continue moving forward anyway. As the old poem says, “Beginners are many, finishers are few.”
How then do we help our youth become finishers? It starts by knowing that being a finisher is a skill and not just happenstance. Does your teen have this vital skill? Does your teen know what to do when things get hard? Does your youth have personal persistence and self-discipline to work without immediate reward or constant reinforcement? When we think about the years after high school, preparing our children mentally and emotionally is the very best investment we can make.
And the one that will pay the biggest dividends in the long run.
It’s clear from the issues playing out on the post-secondary level that we are not starting early enough helping our students develop the mental and emotional skills that are so vital to long term success. If you want to learn more about these critical life skills which we teach in our powerful online course, Own It!, click on this link.
While we cannot predict our children’s future, with the solid and powerful tools of mental toughness and emotional resilience, they will be ready for anything. There is no greater investment you can make.