I took my daughter to speak to the admissions departments at UCSD and UCSD Med School recently. I admit, it was daunting. The med school takes five-thousand apps, culls them down to three-thousand-ish that meet basic requirements, invites 600+ to interview and then invites 300+ to attend. I’m pretty sure I was more nervous than she was. And not because of the competition or the process or the challenge, but because I will not be there to hold her hand and point her in the right direction and, in short, to make sure some jerk doesn’t hurt her.
I know what you’re thinking, at least I think I know what you’re thinking, and I think that what I think you’re thinking is wrong … at least I think it is.
I’m not talking about the jerk boyfriend thing. She’s already experienced the broken heart and found herself and her fortitude. I’m not even talking about the jerk teachers, her family has conditioned her pretty well to stand up to abrasive personalities. I’m talking about the jerk that deals her drugs in the form of an unnecessary credit card, encouraging her to buy all the shoes her little heart desires, helping her to dig a financial hole in her early years and risk this habit-forming bad behavior that has the potential to destroy her future marriage, happiness and life. THAT’s the jerk I’m worried about.
And so, as a responsible parent, I’ll talk with her about her credit. I’ll look it up with her at ANNUALcreditreport.com. I’ll give her examples of how a poor credit rating can affect her ability to get a car or a home in the future. I will tell her that the stress of finals is NOTHING compared to the stress of debt and inability to pay bills. I will tell her that credit is not free money, it’s debt; the only thing free is the associated stress.
As the CEO of the BBB I have the opportunity to take yet another approach. The BBB now trains high school students to teach a program on their own campus about the financial considerations of a young adult. Cell phones are getting them hooked on obligatory auto-renew expenses, and text messaging up-sells them. They don’t care too much about us old fogies, but they still listen to each other. The Student Ambassador Program, thanks to Union Bank, awards some terrific scholarships to high-achieving participants. For more information, check out our Student Ambassador Program at http://sandiego.bbb.org/student-ambassador. It sure looks good on the college resume!