Advice Column, Education, Tween & Teen

8 Tips To Support Your Teenager Making Their College Decision

  • Emily Henry
  • Category Advice Column, Education, Tween & Teen

Leaving high school to pursue higher education is a big decision in a teen’s life. There is a lot of anxiety around finding the perfect program at the right college. Your teen will need support from you through the process, and it can be difficult to understand how to help them and know what support they need. Here are the 8 best tips to offer the most beneficial support you can during this stressful period.

1.Be supportive of their decision.

This goes without saying, but it’s worth repeating. Whatever your teenager decides, they need to feel like you are on their side and will have their back, even if you don’t necessarily agree with their choice. If you want to help your teenager make the best decision possible, then supporting them 100% is the most basic thing you can do as a parent.

2.Ask for advice

Encourage your child to talk to their school guidance counsellors about your teen’s after high school plans. They can offer your teenager good advice on what colleges to consider applying for as well as financial aid and scholarships. This is part of their job, so talking to them is important to helping narrow down your college options.

3.Plan for future priorities 

As a parent, the end goal of studying at college is for your teenager to have decent career opportunities. It can be difficult for your teen to plan and decide what path is right, with all the choice that will surround them at school. Help them explore the different career options they have within their current choice of major and see what is available.

4.Allow for your child to grow and change.

College is a time of major growth and development for your teen. It can be hard to let your child and change but it’s a necessary part of growing up and supporting their growth and change is important to your evolving relationship with your child. Allow for big changes to happen and be their anchor and safe space to come back to when things feel overwhelming.  Plan ahead for these changes with your teen before they leave for college. Try choosing a college that is more flexible about things like changing your major.

5.Talk about finances for college.

College is without a doubt expensive, so it’s important to talk about the affordability of college with your teen, in detail about how they will afford their studies. If your child needs to rely on part-time work to help pay, then tell them so. If they will need loans and scholarships to afford University, then discuss the options and pick the one that fits the best for everyone.

6.Help them find the college that fits their personality.

College isn’t only about the academic side, it’s also about the location and study environment. If your teenager is active and outgoing, sending them to a small school in the country could adversely affect their studies and mood. When considering a university, remember to consider their personality and temperament and factor that in when choosing a college.

7.Don’t pester or nag your teen.

It’s tempting to want to know all the details about your teen’s impending college decision. Trying to pressure a commitment or decision will only add more stress and tension to your relationship. While it’s important to help them stay on track, remember to encourage not take charge and tell them what they are doing. They will thank you for the freedom you gave them and the endless support you provided in a very stressful time, rather than pestering them and nagging them decide.

8.Visit the college 

After you have narrowed it down to a few choices, it’s best to plan a visit to the final contenders and see first-hand how living and studying there would be for your teen. 

These are the 8 best tips for helping support your teen in deciding on college. These tips will help the transition go smoothly and reduce stress.

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