How to Prepare your Teen for College
December 24, 2018
As a parent, you look forward to all of your child’s milestones—even those that follow after high school graduation. Thus, planning for college tops the to-do list when looking at life after grad. While this task invokes a bit of anxiety, there are many ways you can tackle the “unknown” in order to help your son or daughter take the next step.
Important tasks include:
Investigating possible career paths
Communicating regularly his/her guidance counselor or academic advisor
Looking at different activities to best gauge your student’s interest
Researching financial resources
Research Various Fields of Study
High school freshmen might have several different ideas—or perhaps no idea of what they want to study beyond senior year. So don’t be surprised if your child hasn’t considered which postsecondary institution he or she would like to attend. However, there are many ways to address this situation that involve:
Reaching out to potential mentors who work in fields of your student’s interest
Taking your teen to work (if permitted) for a “shadow day” to explain what your job entails
Accessing online aptitude surveys which help a student to see where his or her talents and interests lie.
“Surfing” job boards to check out job duties, salaries, and educational/training requirements.
The first step toward setting a goal is figuring out a possible career path, and a youngster requires much support and guidance when looking at the vast array of choices.
Work with the Guidance Counselor
According to the College Board, one of the best resources of information is the high school counselor or academic advisor. Making an appointment with this individual is time well spent when navigating through the process of college prep. Some of the details that you would discuss involve:
Planning coursework geared toward college preparation
Discussing career and interest surveys during freshmen year
Researching practice guides and dates for entrance exams, such as the SAT and ACT.
Building this partnership means that your student has one more trustworthy adult to ask for advice and insight. Furthermore, counselors or academic advisors often can refer your student to a tutor if a class is especially challenging or for test preparation.
Explore Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities can often lead to scholarship or grant opportunities. Plus they allow for your student to build a well-rounded education and gain valuable and applicable experience. Furthermore, organization sponsors and mentors can provided references and even recommendation letters. Some prospects for outside activities include:
Community volunteering with civic organizations
Participating in school-based organizations and/or sports
Working with faith-based or service organizations
Finding a part-time and/or summer job
Moreover, taking an active part in various activities can help your student to learn the valuable skills of networking and time management. When working with a variety of other personalities, your student can learn how to collaborate with a team which is an important job skill. Also, he or she will learn how to handle a busy schedule while prioritizing tasks and studies. This can be excellent practice for both college and the workforce.
Create a Financial Plan
Deciphering the application for financial aid can overwhelm a parent who’s already concerned with paying for tuition and fees. Meanwhile, costs do not appear to be decreasing any time soon. Nonetheless, there is a plethora of options to choose from to meet your student’s education needs.
Assistance can come in many forms—from federal or state aid based on financial need to scholarships or grants, or work-study or student-hire opportunities. Two important details to remember are to start planning as early as possible and to seek the advice of the high school counselor.
Also, consider encouraging your student to take active responsibility by listening for important announcements and checking bulletin boards for important news related to scholarships and financial aid. Moreover, your student can make a regular practice of checking on his/her school’s website where links to informational resources are often provided.
Therefore, planning for your son or daughter’s future will involve seeking guidance from knowledgeable personnel while researching all prospective avenues for financial planning and assistance. This process, likewise, serves as an enlightening experience for your student, who someday, will need to do his or her own financial planning. Finally, exploring various courses and activities can not only be highly educational for your student but also very enriching.