Friday, September 16, 2016

College Planning

JT is a junior in high school this year. Almost impossible to believe that we've reached this point! I found some information I had printed out several years ago about things a parent should be doing in their child's sophomore year to prepare for college. Oops! Too bad I found it a year too late. It turns out we're a little behind in some of the things the writer suggested, but I think we'll be fine with the schedule we have going.

According to the article, JT should have taken the PSATs last year. Well, he was no where near ready to take the math portion last year, so that wouldn't have turned out well anyway. In fact, it's still going to be a challenge this year. I think he'll ace the reading portion; he's good with anything to do with words. But the math, not so much. He starting working on Khan Academy's SAT prep this month. First you take their diagnostic tests, then they customize your learning to help fill any gaps. After he takes the PSAT, we can link to the College Board test results and Khan will customize a study plan based on his test score to prepare for the SAT in the spring. We're not getting too bent out of shape though because JT's current plan for college doesn't even require him to take the SAT.

He had been throwing around the idea of going to school for music for a year or so. But the more he looked into programs, the less he wanted to pursue that path. He enjoys writing music and playing his own compositions, but he doesn't like to perform and he doesn't want to teach music. Most programs focus either on performance or teaching. He started to look for another possible path and found something offered by the community college where he is currently dually-enrolled. They offer an associate degree in music recording technology. This is a very focused two year program that would set him up to be ready to enter the work force straight out of school. He would still be writing his music, but would now gain skills to work for others in production as well as record his own work.

Right after he made this decision, he ran across a blog post written by one of his favorite video game music composers, Ben Prunty. In the post, Prunty discusses the question, "How useful is my degree?" JT found that the article reinforced his thoughts on his proposed plan. Now that things are in motion, we signed up to go visit the main campus of the community college in November. We would like to talk with the head of the department about job prospects. Another concern would be whether he could compact the program into less than the two years. By the time JT graduates from high school he should have completed all of the general classes required for this degree. Since he takes classes at a satellite location, none of the recording related courses will be available to him before he graduates from high school. We're hoping something can be worked out to help shorten the program. The biggest problem will be the cost of housing. Because it's a community college, they have no student housing. The school is about 1 1/2 hours from our home, so commuting would be a challenge.

None of this plan is set in stone. We will still make visits to other schools. Maybe he will come across a program that fits his career plan at another school. All I know is that this college thing is getting real now. How did my babies get so old?

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