Above average is the new average 


Sometimes I think I’m so smart and I know so much about so much. For years I’ve been talking up college to my kids and encouraging (can be read as pushing at times) my kids to get good grades so the can go to college. “Get good grades so you can go to college ” should  be tattooed on my forehead for as many times as I’ve said it.

And I thought my kids were doing pretty well. I mean not as good as they could be. We all know our kids are geniuses and they don’t always work to their potential -another good tattoo “work to your potential”. But I really thought BC my kids had grades above average they would have their pick of colleges. But I found out different – I had no idea -and I thought i did.

Before I go on I will preface this by saying that my kids may opt to go to a community college regardless of what their averages are. It may make sense for them for various reasons -most of the reasons being they may not be ready to live away at a four year school – oh and money. We have also explained to them that they will have to help pay for their higher education bc a full ride is not coming from mom and dad. We are unable to provide that. So we have a great deal of research to do.

Also, though I have always told my kids they should go to college and have given them many reasons why having a college degree can be a very important asset when trying to get a job, I also realize college is not for everyone. And some kids aren’t ready for college when they graduate from high school. I want my kids to follow their own path and i hope that they will get to work at something they love. I just know that it is hard to know what that might when you are a teen. My daughter does know. At least she has a plan A. But her plan A could morph into plan B later i life. I went through a number of iterations when it came to my career.  Each shift coming at just the right time.

But since we don’t know at the start of high school what the end of high school plan will be: college, gap year,learning a trade, taking time off to work, etc. we have decided that college would be the thing we work for. So we have stressed the aspect of having a good GPA- and what I have found is that a 3.0 average limits the college choices!

We may have some options but I am finding that the options are less BC my kids 3.1 and 3.2 weighted GPAs aren’t considered above average anymore -they are just average. If you look at the website collegeboards.org you can look up colleges and look at where the student measures up to their requirements for admission  – grades , test scores, eye color(ok that’s a lie ) and what I saw was a list of GPAs and next to them what percentage of freshman with that GPA range got admitted to that school and my kids GPAs were at the low end for admittance. Basically anything under 2.99 was toast. I found a few schools that accepted kids with lower GPAs but not the average GPA of 2.4 that I had.

If I had the GPAs my kids have back in my day -another tattoo “back in my day” – I would have been in heaven. As it was I was accepted into 4 colleges with my 2.4 and only 860 on my SATs.

When did 3.0 become the new average?

With college being big business masquerading as institutes of higher education (ok that’s harsh but kind of true -you can get a good education but look at the cost!) and with so may to choose from you would think that there would be more places for kids with GPAs in the 3.0 level and lower to go.

I don’t want to get started on the cost of higher education – but have you looked at it? It is so ridiculous!  I know we should have started a college fund years ago- and we had every intent of doing so. But with the cost of about six years of private school for all 3 kids we never got around to it then add in the bad financial years we have just encountered along with a serious illness tossed in – it never happened and the kids are in the middle of high school. So here we are- and I cannot get over the cost of school. Nor can i get over the amount of planning that goes into the preparation for college. There are the grades and the service hours and clubs and test scores. There is the college choosing process that requires attending college fairs and college tours. There is the application process, the financial aid/scholarship process, sorting out what school can be afforded after the acceptances and aid money comes in. Its a job!

Hard to believe in some countries higher education is free. Some here would argue that it comes with higher taxes and likely true but I am not going to lie- I would love to see free education or very reduced education costs in the US. I would rather not have my child strapped with debt at the end of the college years. Some states have incredibly inexpensive schools but the costs still add up when you add in tuition and fees, room and board.

I have friends who have multiple kids in college and that will be us in a few short years when my boys graduate high school we may have 3 in college all at once. I don’t know how people do it.

The other day my mother sent me an article about Germany opening their free universities up to US students. I asked my kids if they would be interested in going to school in Germany.

“No” was the unified answer. Really? No wandering spirit I guess!

But I might not have to worry about any of this because my kids might not have the grades to get into a 4 year college bc even though I thought they had pretty solid GPAs. Maybe this phenomenon has occurred BC today many more kids are going to college than they were  back in my day (see tattoo). So perhaps this has created so much competition that schools can choose the kids with the higher GPAs BC there are so many applicants to choose from. It’s kind of scary.

My kids have an advantage in that they are Asian. So that is a box we can check on the application that may be a benefit to them – I hate pulling the race card but we know that colleges have quotas they need to meet and they do ask it on the applications. Also there are scholarships for minority students and adopted students – which my kids are. If you look there are scholarship opportunities for almost everything under the sun. You just have to search them out- and as I noted above that is a lot of work!

When I told my son Luke that he needs to work harder to get his GPA up so he had more choices of colleges to apply to – he looked uncomfortable-

“What?” I asked him.

“It’s just so stressful” -Luke doesn’t like stressful. He likes Xbox.

“Welcome to life ” I said.

But later I thought about my days in high school and I remembered little about worrying about grades. I was on the “let me slide by without trying -and let me go to parties and meet boys plan in high school “(not a tattoo).  I had stress but not like kids do now. And I got into college and had a great time in high school (despite the drama) and I had a great time in college and I graduated and got a job and grew in my career and was able to support myself just fine.

Why does it have to be so stressful for my kid?   At this point at age 15 1/2 he isn’t sure if he really wants to go away to college (see above) so why push it when community college could suit him well and he can transfer to a 4 year school for his last 2 years.? I don’t want it to be uber stressful for him or my other kids. High school is supposed to be fun. Right? We are rushing our kids into adulthood but when they get there some stagnate and are slow to mature – maybe BC they never got a chance to just enjoy their time in high school and college BC the pressure to always be looking ahead and planning ahead was so great.

I’ve digressed I know -but I am so shocked that the B average of today isn’t the B average of my youth. And I wonder can my kids make the grades they need to go to a four year school if that’s what they want to do? Did I find out this information in time?

And does it really matter if they don’t make the cut? What will the outcome be? Maybe they will go to a community college and then a 4 year or maybe after a couple years they will opt to work -my daughter  will leave high school with a cosmetology license. She can have a career right out of high school.  Thank God for the tech center in our county public school system and those opportunities they provide.

What I want for my kids is that they can support themselves and a family when the time comes- that doesn’t have to mean a college degree but we all know that is now the norm- a BS or BA almost expected of our kids.  I hope that if their dream is to attend college they will get to do that. If they choose another path thats also great.  What really matters most to me is that they have as much love, joy, and happiness as possible on this crazy ride we call life. Because its a ride and a half.

(And I will always think 3.2 GPA is pretty darn good.)



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