How to speak to your kids about college?
Everyone knows how important it is to obtain a college degree. Truth is college is not a common topic happening at home in this day in age. It is not the first topic spoken about around the dinner table or on the car ride home. So how do we expect our children to see the importance of college if we don’t talk about it at home? The schools are talking about it but it makes a bigger impact when we as parents are talking about it as well.
First, it is never too early to start thinking or talking about college with your children. Being the first born of parents who did not attend college themselves I wasn’t exposed to the importance of college. I heard it at school but not at home so when it came time for me to apply to college I was unprepared. I didn’t know what I was doing so I settled on a community college which I did not finish. From that point on i promised that things would be different for my children.
Easiest way to go about talking with your children about college is to get informed yourself. Research the different schools and see what they have to offer. Ask your child, “what would you like to be when you grow up?” and see which schools offer those programs. Children love to ask questions so the more you know the more interested you will make them. If your raising an athlete, having them look at college games and competitions which can help you introduce them to it as well.
My daughter is a 12 year old competitive gymnast and we have been discussing college for about 2 years now. Since for the last few years gymnastics has been her life we started introducing her to college gymnastics. This opened a door to her asking questions about the college. Then we took it a step further, we thought it would we fun to made it a point that when ever one of us would travel we get her a college shirt from the state we visited. So not only is she watching them on tv she now has their apparel and this has made her do some research on her own. Today she has a college plan, even though she doesn’t know exactly what college she will attend, she has a list of options and she understands that she is not limited. She has gone from saying I want to do gymnastics when I grow up to now saying she wants to compete in college level gymnastics and study Broadcast Journalism. All it took was taking what she loves to do and showing her how she can continue doing it while preparing herself for the future.
My advice is not to count on schools to prepare your children for the next step in their lives. Have conversations at home to get to know what your child sees in their future. Take control and help guide them into becoming the best version of themselves.