For over 25 years, I have presented to audiences at high schools and college fairs. Before I present, I ask a number of questions to better understand my audience. One question I ask is how many folks in attendance have either high school juniors and/or seniors. Invariably, the majority raise their hand and I (somewhat) jokingly respond that for these parents, it is not a financial aid presentation night, but a financial aid “panic” night. While the audience is kind and either smile or chuckle, for the majority this is a fact: families have not adequately planned and saved for college costs.
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According to Forbes magazine publisher and author Rich Karlgaard, our society today is obsessed with early achievement. He suggests that parents and the education system itself push students to take all of the hardest courses, earn the highest grades, achieve the best test scores and gain admission to the most prestigious universities. As an educator and parent of a high school senior with younger children moving into high school, I have witnessed and experienced this reality first-hand.