Wise Student, Foolish Student (Part 1)

Just about everyone under the sun has heard of Robert Kiyosaki’s bestselling empire Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’ve read it myself, and for the most part it’s a worthwhile read, even for those who know nothing about personal finance. (Actually, especially for those who know nothing about personal finance!) But some of the principals in the book can also be applied to young people looking to attend college and who are using their post-secondary institution of choice to springboard into their careers.

I’ll be honest: I don’t know anybody who fits the following descriptions of students perfectly. But perhaps you can see a little bit of yourself in these two students.

Veronica – The Wise Student

Veronica has been interested in health, healing and making others feel better since she was a little girl. While she was never certain she wanted to be a doctor, she knew that going into some kind of medical profession would be good for her. While in high school Veronica worked at a video store over the summer and babysat for her neighbor’s kids to earn money to save for college all four years of high school.

Patrick – The Foolish Student

Patrick is a dreamer who loves people. In high school he was never really sure exactly what he wanted to do with his life, but he knew he liked spending time with his friends, talking about life, and spending his spare time watching too much TV. His grades were not great, but good enough to get into college. By the time he turned 18 he still had never held a job in his life.

Veronica Applies for College

Veronica narrowed her choices down to four good schools, and decided to apply. But she was worried about the cost of two of them, since they were private, four-year liberal arts schools. One of these schools, Puppydine College, cost $49,500 per year to attend.

That January she was riding in her bobsled with the kids she was babysitting and the sled lost control. Down the driveway she went, tumbling headfirst into a briar-patch. She emerged full of thistles and with a broken ankle.

Veronica’s ankle took 2 months to heal, and she was ordered to do physical therapy that spring for rehab. While in physical therapy, she found that the way her therapist communicated with her, taught her to do the exercises and joked around with her made the profession seem like a lot of fun.

“How did you get into Physical therapy?” Veronica asked her therapist one day. “I went to school for it,” her therapist replied, and then she went on to explain that you could go to school specifically for physical therapy, get a license, and be practicing within 4-5 years. Veronica was thrilled. She knew what she wanted to do.

She went home, did some research, and found a few much less expensive schools that offered Physical Therapy programs where she could get her DPT degree. She focused on the schools that were the least expensive but had the most opportunities for her to do internships and get some real-world experience early on.

Lesson #1: Pay attention to the things you are interested in before you go to college. While you don’t need to know exactly what you will do afterwords, it helps to at least have a good idea.

Patrick Applies for College

Patrick was bored. He was bored all spring, waiting anxiously for the day when he no longer had to live under his parents’ roof. He delayed applying for schools month after month until the last possible second, and then, at the urging of his parents, applied to as many as he possibly could without really giving it that much thought. He knew he wanted to go to school somewhere warm, and he knew that the more prestigious the school he got into, the better his career afterwords would likely be.

He sent in 23 applications, 9 of which were to schools in Florida, 3 in Hawaii, 6 in California, 2 in Arizona one in Barcelona and the other two in Central America. He could afford the applications because his parents paid for all of them. Incredibly, he got into a couple of these schools. One of them, Wynn University in Florida, ended up being his choice. It was a good school with a good reputation. It was in the 70’s and sunny in January. The girls were pretty when he went to visit.

Patrick was stoked.

Mistake #1: Don’t apply to schools willy nilly, and don’t accept an offer to a school just because the weather is nice and the girls are pretty. This should be common sense.

Next in the series: Wise Student, Foolish Student (Part 2) – Veronica and Patrick enter college!


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