During your child’s high school years, they will likely receive all kinds of advice about their future. What you say can have a profound impact on their college experiences. If you want to give them the best chance at having an amazing time in college, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Do not suggest that any of the specific people they admire don’t “need college.”
People that your child admires – whether it be a musician, actor, writer, or sports star – might not have any degrees. However, the idea of doing well in their chosen field is so ingrained in them that such a thing would never even cross their minds. If they were to enter college without any training in their field, it is clear that they would be at a disadvantage.
Adults with degrees are about twice as likely to have full-time jobs compared to people with only high school diplomas. This doesn’t mean that every person with a degree is guaranteed to have good job opportunities. However, when thinking of entering a line of work that is competitive, education can help set one apart from other applicants.
2. Do not discourage them from taking classes in completely unrelated fields.
The best way to learn your interests is by trying new things. It’s important for students need to know what they are good at – but it is also essential for them to figure out what they aren’t good at. Blocking them from exploring their interests could result in missed opportunities.
3. Do not limit their time and energy by setting high expectations for grades and activities,
while neglecting to set any expectations for behaviors that would make it easier to achieve their goals (e.g., studying, eating well).
It is very easy for students to get overwhelmed by having too many extracurriculars, part-time jobs, or both. It is safer to manage their time upfront by creating a schedule that leaves room for relaxation and following through on it. If parents put in the time beforehand to plan – including times when they can contribute to household needs – then their children will have a better chance at succeeding.
4. Do not forget that relating to them as a friend is something that they appreciate, but can’t substitute for you acting as a true authority figure.
Students need a parent who is on their side and acts as an advocate during the college years because students cannot replace what parents do already as a support system. Parents can be an amazing resource that students access from time to time – but they should not be the only source of support for them.
5. Do help them set up their room in a way that allows them to study and relax equally well.
Many parents make a mistake by neglecting the importance of decorating their child’s room in a way that makes it attractive. A room is presentable if there are photos of family and friends, art on the walls, maybe even some plants. However, it should be practical above all else to ensure that their child can get work done comfortably.
A balanced approach is key for setting up your child’s space. They should be able to enjoy their space, but not so much that they are subconsciously discouraged from doing anything. To avoid this, it is also essential to keep their spaces clean – which can be difficult once school starts up again after the summer break.
College is a time of change, for both the student and their family. You should not underestimate how difficult it can be to make this transition. You must provide your child with all the support they need to succeed academically while still feeling like themselves at home. The 5 tips we’ve provided here are just some ways that you can help them achieve these goals during college years – but don’t stop there! Your goal should also always be to foster an environment where your child feels loved and supported by those closest to them. If you’re looking for more advice on what else you could do, call us today or schedule a consultation online so we can get started discussing options together!