**Post originally appeared on Forbes.com**
by Dave Chase
With astronomically high college costs, Millennials and their parents want to ensure that the financial and time investment they make realizes its full potential. Forbes, TIME, The Economist, Gallup and others regularly ask the question, “Is college worth it?” Amy Howell and Anne Deeter Gallaher are entrepreneurs and mothers of college-age kids who wrote “Students in High Gear: A Guide for Aspiring Game Changers in Transition” to ensure that today’s 21 million U.S. college students get the most from this pivotal investment.
Unfortunately, millions are defaulting on student loans after graduating with crushing debt loads. These grads describe what it’s like to default on student loans. No one wants to end up in that spot. It can not only foul up the student’s future, it can also negatively impact their parent’s credit rating. “Students in High Gear” has a chapter devoted to this topic — “The Importance of Debt Control and Understanding Financials” — designed to help students make wise borrowing decisions. Indirectly, Howell and Deeter Gallaher provide the counterpunch to the wallop of college debt by delivering tips designed to set college students on a great path so they steer away from unmanageable student loans.
“Books such as ‘Students in High Gear’ provide a first-hand account of what it takes to conquer the college landscape, and this book will act as an experiential multiplier to assist students in realizing their goals for success. When students share their testimonials and insights as to what nurtured their path to triumph, there could not be a better playbook,” — Dr. Bob Akin, professor, Texas Christian University.
Throughout the book, the authors share perspectives from students, parents, employers, professors, University presidents, and their own personal experiences. Students entering college today will most likely have jobs that haven’t even been created. Just 10 years ago, it would have been hard to understand what being a “Social Media Manager” would mean. Today, there are millions of individuals with that job title and being adept at social media is spilling into virtually every professional discipline right up to CEOs. The authors provide timeless guidance that transcends career choices and new technologies.
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden, Former NBA Player and UCLA Head Coach
The U.S. Department of Labor shares that nearly half of working college graduates are “underemployed” by working in jobs that don’t require a college degree. A 2014 preparedness study (PDF) outlined some of the gaps in how well Millennials are prepared to enter the workforce. The graphic below illustrates the scope of the preparedness gap.
“Students in High Gear” is chock full of practical tips on how to address these gaps. The following are chapter titles from the book:
- Your Digital Footprint Starts Early
- The Road to College: High Gear High School
- Your Father’s Resume Is Dead
- DNA, Drive, and Your Potential
- The Importance of Debt Control and Understanding Financials
- Curriculum and Careers Are Different
- Dot-Connecting and Why You Must Master It
- High Gear Professors and How to Connect with Them
- Advice from 35 Years of Business Ownership
- Workbook: Your Goal-Setting Guide
Even if your kids are just entering high school, Students in High Gear is a great read for both students and parents to start thinking about the future and how choices today can lay the foundation for success in the future. Universities would be wise to make the book mandatory reading for all incoming freshman. I no longer have to struggle to find a high school graduation gift — Students in High Gear is the best gift you can give a high school grad. Unlike most gifts that high school grads will forget a week later, I expect they’ll have Students in High Gear on their bookshelf throughout college.