3 Answers

David Wagner Points320
By exposing your daughter to colleges that might be a good fit for her, she may become excited about the prospect of attending college after high school. Identifying a set of colleges that align with your daughter's learning style, sense of community, and intellectual interests is a good first step. Ideally, your daughter should be very involved in identifying these colleges. If neither of you know where to begin, talk with a good college counselor (such as someone from SpanOne!). Then, go visit those schools with your daughter. The admissions offices will work to coordinate a visit that will likely include an information session, guided campus tour, and possibly an in-person interview. While on campus, your daughter may also be able to observe classes, eat in the dining hall, and possibly spend the night with a current student. These experiences should help your daughter to better understand the college experience. As both of you engage in this process, it's important that your daughter take the lead and be engaged in the decision-making as much as possible. This process should ultimately be fun and adventurous for both of you.
In order for a student to determine if they want to go to college or not, it is always helpful for parents to have a conversation with them, about the type of life they envision for themselves. My suggestion is to block off a 30 minute period of time each week when both you and your teen can meet. You want to let them know that the rest of the week, you will not bring up college or their future unless, they open the conversation but, that they need to commit to the 30 minute block. During these weekly sessions, you can begin to ask them about the things they are interested in. With each area of interest, you can present to them the various jobs related to what they like to do. Often students are not aware of how to build a career based on their likes making it difficult to see a future for themselves. If your teen could use some help in determining what interests they have that may be marketable, pls. have them sign onto Collegeboard.com and open an account through their Quick Start program. Once in the Quick Start program, you can in the search box on the collegeboard website, type in My Road. My Road is a free interest survey. It is free for any student that has taken the PSAT - when your student receives their PSAT score report, there will be a code listed at the bottom of the page; use that code in order to take the interest survey for free. My Road does not determine personality traits nor strengths but rather, interests. Once completed, a report is generated that will explain the careers which match your teens interests, the education they will need and a view of the upcoming job market. If your teen completes the My Road program, you may find out that their interests will direct them more toward a trade school such as those required in order to be an electrician, carpenter, welder, animal care, etc. On the other hand, their interests and possible career options based on their interests, may very well point them in the direction of a college degree. By completing the survey and seeing how they can parlay their interests into a career students come to see on their own what type of an education they will need and the parent can support the findings instead of directing their teen to college. The main thing to keep in mind is to make sure your teen knows you are most concerned with their well being and, their ability to stand on their own financially as an adult. In this way, you are giving them the freedom to decide which way to go while at the same time, reinforcing that a post HS education is of the utmost importance. The only question is what type of an education? As long as they are on the road to making some decisions by the start of their senior year, they are in a good place because they will now have time to put in applications be they to colleges or, to trade schools.
I think it is important not to pressure the student, but rather give her all of the information regarding the national/state average for wages earned with or without a college degree, attend workshops for information about planning for college with your daughter--let her ask questions and help her to find the answers. She needs to really want it for herself, but giving her another side to look at probably is the best thing that you can do.

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