I know that I promised a part two to my position against community colleges offering BA/BS degrees, but that will have to wait for my April blog post. I prefer to discuss how I help students make decisions and take responsibility for those decisions.
I have a son who had a plethora of college choices back in 2009. Narrowing down the choices, then visiting those colleges to speak with the chairs of the departments he was interested in, gave him some direction. An honest discussion about what we, as parents, could pay for, and about his loan obligations after graduation, though previously discussed, had a bit more relevance and gave him some more direction. And lastly, our opinions as parents and educators gave him some further direction. But, ultimately, the message was, “It is your decision, and you must live with that decision. Do you have all the information you need to make your decision? Never. Do you have enough information to make your decision? Yes.” And then there was the most important question: “Are you ready to make the most out of your decision?”
This is my counsel…Whether my own offspring or my own students, they must be ready to make the most out of their decision. Then, even a “bad decision” will have some silver lining. When a student says, “I made a bad decision,” the key word is “I”. Students who own their decision, especially the bad ones, are prone to move forward in a positive direction sooner rather than later. They might change colleges, change majors or drop out and travel, but if they are the ones making that decision and taking responsibility for that decision, success is likely over the long haul. And, it is a long haul!!
So, when you invariably get the question, “What would you do?” or “What decision should I make?”, dodge a direct answer as long as possible by offering pros and cons. But, at the end of the conversation, make sure you ask your students, “Are you ready to make the most out of your decision?”
By Dan Nannini