The college application process is already challenging on its own. Add that to the stress of choosing between two or more institutions, and you can tell that your child is going through a lot during their senior year. During this time, 12th-grade students need all the help they can get.
As a parent, you’ll have a significant role in many of your child’s college decisions. But you shouldn’t try to take control of the process. Let them take the lead while you provide support and recommendations for them. Here are eight ways to help them through college decisions without arguing, and actually ease their stress.
1. Have them take a career test
The whole process of choosing a college major can be intimidating for anybody. But there are several career and personality tests available these days. You can get your child to enroll in one to test which college major suits their personality best. We recommend taking the Empowerly quiz to see their college preparedness level as well, so you know where your starting point will be.
2. Encourage your child to talk to their high school counselor
Your child’s high school counselor is experienced in this kind of decision. They’re also trained to be able to review your child’s personality and know what suits them. So, one of the best decisions your child will make is to contact their high school counselor. If you have the time to meet with your counselor regularly, they can become someone who will provide your student with all the information they’ll need to make a good choice.
3. Look at financial assistance programs
Finance is one of the critical areas to look at when drafting how to help your teen with college applications. If you’re not sure about being able to afford everything your child will need, financial assistance will come in handy. Consider and compare all financial aid opportunities to see which is best for your kid.
4. Discuss career outcomes
It’s great to have a choice. Nonetheless, the plethora of academic options available for prospective college students can confuse them. Don’t shy away from discussing their choice of college major with them. Engage in your own research to know available career possibilities that each major can open them to. Consider reaching out to career experts to learn about each major and where it may take them.
5. Encourage them to communicate always
At this stage, students endure a lot of physical and mental stress. As a parent, you are responsible for helping them walk through it. But you may not know what they are going through if they don’t tell you. So one of the best pieces of advice you’ll get is to become friends with your child. Make sure your child is comfortable enough to discuss challenges with you.
6. Don’t compare your child to others
Getting admission into a good college isn’t about impressing your neighbors. One mistake parents often make is comparing their teen’s college acceptance with that of their neighbor’s children (or cousins, or friends). Comparison puts more pressure on your child. Every child is unique, with different interests and passions. So, encourage them to be the best version of themselves instead of comparing themselves constantly with their mates.
7. Discuss affordability
Don’t shy away from discussing the money-related implications of studying the course they’ve chosen. If it’s a concern, be honest and detailed when holding this kind of discussion with them. Discuss student loans and their implications. They deserve to know what their choices entail and how you intend to pull them through, particularly if some or most of the burden of payment will fall on them, too.
8. Evaluate academic opportunities
You’d naturally expect your teen to have spent time learning how to make tough college decisions. But experts say it won’t hurt for families to do their research into the academic offerings of the college their child is applying for. This way, you’ll be armed with enough information to answer their questions and offer advice when needed.
There you have it – a detailed look at how to help your teen with college applications. The period of transition from high school to college is a difficult period for your kid. You want to help them through it in the best way possible. These tips will put you in the right direction as you seek to help your teenage children with college decisions. You can also check out other helpful tips for college admission on the Empowerly website.