It is the dream of most parents to send their kids off to college. A college degree boosts a person’s chance at success and a better job, which is why parents do their best to save the money needed to support college expenses. However, in the midst of all that worrying about college expenses, parents often fail to do a very important thing – prepare their children for college.
As a result, most students are unsure about what college to use, what’s expected of them, not to mention what they need to do to get into the college of their choice. They are unaware of the living situation at college, the amount of research proposal tasks and essays they need to write, etc. College planning is crucial for every family, which is why you need to jumpstart the preparation as soon as possible.
1. Talk about It
What you say to your child at this point will leave enormous influence on their expectations and motivation. An open conversation about everything concerning the topic of college can help your child cope with this big change, adjust to it, and make the best of it.
When you talk with your child about college, your task isn’t to push your dreams or preferences. Your task is to give advice, but also listen. Talking does not mean that you should sit down with your child and say: ‘You will go to Harvard’.
The college that your child will choose should be their decision and theirs only. Your job is to help them make the decision by discussing their interests, talents, and preferences, as well as openly speak about the finances and abilities you have in terms of supporting their studies.
When you talk about college, remember that this is the time when your child should explore himself and make a grand decision – all on his own. As a parent, you can help them see a few colleges, go through different programs, as well as share your experience if you went to college. After all, it will be your child that will have to move from home, do proposal writing, attend classes, and pass the exams. The entire burden falls on them and, all their success marks their future.
2. Partner Up with the School
At the end of middle school, it is time for both parents and teachers to get involved in the future of the child. You should be less involved in the actual decision-making, but highly involved in terms of guidance and encouragement. Therefore, try to keep up with any changes in the child’s behavior or work. Meet with their teachers, talk about their strengths and witnesses, and see if there are some extracurricular activities offered in the school that would help him make this important decision.
3. Check Your Finances
Since your child will be given options to consider, make sure to lay down your finance details for him to make a decision. Tell him how much you can afford to spend on college, openly and without any secrets. It will do your child no good if you hide your financial situation. When a child is hopeful about a college and you crush that dream afterward, it can seriously harm his motivation.
If your child decides to take a student loan to cover his college expenses, make sure to research how this works. Give him the details about the loan, provide him with loan options, and make sure that he knows some tips on how to pay off his student debt.
The sooner you begin, the better. This gives you a chance to apply for scholarships and loans, which is why you must take care of this as soon as you can before the child starts making the big decision.
4. Help Them with their Workload
Students are often very overwhelmed with writing a research proposal, meeting deadlines, studying for exams, and attending classes. This can be very stressful when they have to make a grand decision. To help your child, try to reduce their workload. This would give them time to think about their college choices, research it, and make the right decision.
If you aren’t great at writing papers, you can always get proposal writing services to help your child at an affordable price instead. This should take care of that proposal writing format and editing, giving you and your child enough time to figure out what his next educational journey will be.
5. Let Them Struggle
As soon as your child gets to the point where they have to make this big decision, it means that they’ve grown. If you help them too much, they’ll struggle even more in college. It’s natural for a parent to want to protect a child from hardship, but you can’t take away this burden from your child – not if you want them to choose their own path in life.
So, guide your child and help them explore all options. But, when it comes to making the final decision, let them make it on their own, no matter how long it takes and how much they struggle with it.
Congratulations! You’ve come to a point where you’ll be sending your child off to college. This is a great success for both of you, but before you get there, you must help your child prepare for what’s to come.
Ray Campbell is an academic advisor and a psychologist. He helps young minds in making the right decisions by guiding them, listening to them, and providing them with options. Campbell is also a blogger who mostly writes on topics like education, parenting, and student life.