If plans are a method to achieve an end, then each plan needs to be developed, reviewed, edited and re-defined when necessary. As parents and educational leaders we need to begin helping students implement their plan sooner than later because students do not just arrive at the university. In reality, the journey begins early when students are young and we as family, friends and mentors take their hand and empower them to see that higher education can be an attainable dream.
The plan is put in place as they enter primary school or even before when we begin to emphasize learning as a joyful process. It continues when we celebrate their achievements and collectively determine goals and objectives for the next year. This plan becomes a reality as the years go by and we help our children understand that learning is not just for a moment, but for life. The education plan starts to appear obtainable when we encourage students to explore an array of career opportunities that are interrelated to both their skills and interests.
Via day to day experiences, television or from the pages of history we introduce children to people who are just like them and also went on to obtain an education. We lead students to a greater understanding of what options are available based on their financial resources, academic merit and geographical location. I say this as I am certain there is an education option for everyone yet recognize that without significant financial resources the journey can be long and hard. But if the educational plan is interlaced with a strong sense of reality, adaptability and support it may be achieved.
As the journey begins to wind down and our children arrive at the university application process, we should do our best to support their decision and when necessary connect them to a teacher, counselor or mentor who may provide answers for crucial questions if we are unable to help them. Completing the application, creating the personal statement, respecting admission requirements and application deadlines are all part of the educational plan. We can best help students in this aspect of the journey if we enable them to understand that while admission requirements, policies and deadlines are often not negotiable they can demonstrate their adaptability and select another university that is a better fit for their educational plan.
With a plan in hand, we soon find that this journey that appeared difficult to navigate may also be enjoyable. For families and students who have already embarked on this educational journey, it’s also important to recognize the time and place to support another student starting with their first step!