How to Talk to Your Child about College

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How to Talk to Your Child about College

June 26, 2017

Written by: @GabDiesendorf

Pre-college is a tough period for a child as well as the parents. It’s a time of important decisions and forming an attitude. Watching your child go through the process of choosing whether or not to go to college and which college to pick can be a very painful experience for a parent. You need to know the difference between a suggestion, persuasion and force. This is not at all easy. So, here’s what you can do to help your child make a decision without being blamed for your own influence later on.

Wishes

The first stage of college discussions is finding out your child’s wishes. You wouldn’t be talking about specific institutions, but merely about interests and affections. What does your child like to do? How do they see themselves in a few years? Is there a job or a field they think they’d do extremely well? If there is a concrete answer, that’s great. If not, keep asking more general questions such as what comes easy to them and what they enjoy doing.

Reality

After finding out what your child wants, talk to them about whether or not that can make a career. For instance, your child might like singing and might also be very good at it. In that case, perhaps you should try and make them consider this a hobby instead of a career, seeing how the music business is a very uncertain area. Don’t preach during this conversation, but try to make your child see the realistic and objective reasons. If this conversation ends well, have your child think about a better career choice that can also make them happy and leave them enough time to do what they love.

Possibilities

After you’ve decided on which field to focus on, it’s time to look at different colleges or job opportunities. We all have wishes and dreams, but we also need to be realistic, especially when it comes to an important decision such as this one. Discuss locations, financials and various university admissions criteria and make sure that your child fully aware of their own situation and their odds of getting into the desired college.

Grades

When you’ve come up with a list of several desired universities, take a look at their lists of admitted students in the previous year. Analyse your child’s grades and see where they have a bigger shot of being admitted. Remember, it’s better that your child gets disappointed now than in a few months when they receive a letter of rejection.

Options

When your child creates a clear image of its wishes and possibilities, it’s time to discuss options in order to find the best possible solution. Even if some universities are too expensive for your budget or your child’s grades are not as good as they should be, sometimes there are other options. Some universities give scholarships or partly cover the costs for students who do well on their entrance exam. Some universities value the entrance exam more than previous grades, so if your child does well, perhaps the not-so-impressive grades won’t matter.

All in all, your job as a parent is to guide your child through this process. However, you shouldn’t smother them with your ambitions and your opinions. You can tell them what you think, but the final decision has to be theirs. After all, it’s their life and not yours. Even if they make a mistake, it will be theirs and if you cannot influence it, better let them do it than have them regret not doing it their whole life.

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