Can I Buy a Non-refundable Plane Ticket to Anywhere Please?

Would you buy an airplane ticket, with no idea of your flight's destination? Would you look out the airport window at all the planes, and pick a flight based on which one is biggest? Or maybe you would choose it based upon color? Or how about boarding a plane, simply because you thought you might like the passengers you would be traveling with? The answer of course, is that people would never select a plane flight this way as the driving factor behind the decision is the destination.

Now let me change the scenario a bit. Let’s pretend you will be on this flight for four years. Would the criteria for choosing your flight change? You would probably want to know much more about the accommodations. You would want to know more about the food and drink that would be served. And yes, you would want to know much more about the on-board movies.

After traveling for four long years, wouldn’t it be more important than ever to know where the plane was headed and what your final destination would be?

Every year, over 3 million high school seniors jump on an expensive plane ride, intending to stay on that ride for four years. Yet, the flight destination is largely an unknown. The airline, or college in this case, is happy to fly the student around for four, or more, years, with no specific destination in mind. The accommodations are comfortable enough. The in-flight movies are a blast. The other passengers are also a lot of fun to be with. Why worry about a destination when you are enjoying the journey?

Maybe it's time to focus more on the destination. Yes, college offers great growth opportunities and life experience. Professors can inspire and educate, opening minds to new ideas and concepts. But traveling through college without clearly understanding your career goals, has a financial and emotional impact.

Evidence is mounting that the fit between a student's strengths and interests and their college major is an important factor in predicting how well that student is likely to do in college -- even more important than the college they attend! A recent study by ACT showed that:

...students engaged in good-fit majors are more likely to stay in college, stay in their major, and finish sooner.

Yes -- college is a great time for self-discovery. But can anyone, no matter their financial status, really afford to spend four to six years on a journey, undecided on what their destination will be?

If we know where we are going, we'll be more excited about getting there and will do a better job selecting the right flight -- the one that is best equipped to get each of us to our specific destination.

Additional posts in this series: