For many people, it is a foregone conclusion that they will attend college after graduating from high school. I believe that most families that have the means to send a recent high school graduate to college don't even consider if the student is ready for college or actually wants to go. A college education is a tool for success, but it isn't the only tool. Attending college before you have the right mindset will waste time and money.

I've been to college twice now. I failed miserably the first time. I'm currently taking classes and have a great GPA. I've also watched one of my older children fail out of college recently. Here's some advice from somebody that has been a failing student, a successful student and the parent of somebody who is smart enough, but not ready.

Graduating from high school is an exciting time in your life. I'm sure your friends are all talking about where they are going to go to school or what they are planning on doing after graduation. Ask yourself these questions and honestly evaluate your motivation.

What do you want to do for a job? I'm sure you get asked this question all the time and you may or may not have an answer. If you don't have an answer for this question, seriously consider if college is right for you. There is nothing wrong with joining the rest of us in the workforce and figuring out what interests you. You will probably be surprised at the new motivation and interests you find when you join the real world. Are you passionate about the subject you are going to study? If you are going to be a journalist, do you write in your free time because you enjoy it? If you are going to be an architect, do you read trade journals and books on the subject? Many people I knew that went to college and never finished didn't go because they were passionate about something. They went because they could. In my first college try, I got into what was a top 10 engineering school at the time. I applied and went because I had the aptitude and it was expected that I do something challenging. I failed out because I found it all boring so I didn't do any of the work.

Are you more excited about living on your own than the academics? Make sure you aren't only looking forward to the college experience. College is a great time and all the exciting talk with your friends is hard to resist.That's the problem. They don't take attendance in the freshman Chemistry class that has 400 people. If you don't want to go to class, then you don't go to class. If you aren't interested in school and are having too good a time hanging out with your friends, trust me, you won't go.

Do you know how to study? This may be a silly question, but a good number of people actually don't know how to sit down and study. I didn't have to study in high school.I did homework at lunch, a free period or in the six minutes between classes. When I got to college and actually had to apply effort, it all went downhill fast. Be ready for the 40 hours a week that it will take to stay on top of a full course load. The best advice I can give someone that does decide to go to college is to not be afraid to change majors. You may find that you hate your Chemistry class but love an elective you are taking in the English or History department. If a certain subject gets you excited – go with it. Most people that work in the real world don't have degrees that match what they do. I work in high tech and only 2 people out of the 10 I work with have computer science degrees.

If I would have taken a year or two to get all the partying and adjustment to freedom out of my system before going to school the first time I believe I would have graduated. Ask your parents how they would feel if you started college a year from now. Also, sit down with them and talk about the reasons why you are going to college. Listen to yourself explain "why" and see if you think it is worth the tens of thousands of dollars that will be invested in your college career.