When it comes to college and careers, some teens know exactly what career they want to pursue and the right career colleges to choose from to begin their journey. Others are in the middle of their high school years and are still trying to figure out what they want to do. They know they want to go to college – but should they look at online colleges or local universities? How much money will it cost? What else besides grades are colleges looking for? Here’s how to help your teen get started in the process of selecting the right college.
- Skills and Interests. Discuss skills and interests with your teenager by answering these questions:
- What activities have you enjoyed over the past year?
- What areas of study (classes) do you find most interesting?
- What type of religious, social or athletic events do you prefer?
- What clubs and organizations would you like to belong to?
- What kind of work appeals to you?
Have your teen develop a written profile based on their answers. Discuss and determine career paths and future employment based on their profile. Have your teen research their types of careers.
- Finances. Determine how much money is available for this college education. As parents, sit down and answer these questions and then discuss further with your teen.
- Do you have access to funds in a college (529) investment plan or some other saved funds?
- Will you take out a personal loan?
- Will your teen be paying for a portion or all of the college education?
- Will your teen need financial aid? What is the timeline for the application procedure?
- What scholarships are available and what is the timeline for the application process?
- Academics, Service, and Extracurricular Activities. Colleges and universities look at all of these as valuable preparation for attending. Discuss these with your teen by having them answer these questions.
- Are your grades above average and are you taking the right classes to prepare for college?
- How have you served the community? If not, what would you like to do to serve the community?
- What are all of the extra activities that you’ve participated in and what others could you participate in that would help prepare you for college?
By having these discussions, you can help your teenager to become confident in selecting the right college of their choice.
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