Don’t Waste that College Tuition: Tips for Parents to Help College Students Succeed

Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

file9421269543382 The weather is starting to cool off, the holidays are around the corner, and students must make some crucial choices — it’s that time of year again: college or academic major decision-making. For parents of college students, this time of year can bring new concerns: What is the right major for my student? How long will it take for my student to finish? Will she be able to find a job after graduation?

With the high cost of college tuition, these concerns by parents (and students!) are not unfounded. A May 2015 poll conducted by AfterCollege showed that just 14 percent of college seniors had career-type jobs lined up after graduation. Yikes! That statistic can strike fear into the heart of any parent with a college student.

So what’s a parent to do? Actually, there are many things you can do to set up your child for success in college and beyond. With over twenty years working as a career advisor in college career centers, I’ve talked with hundreds of employers. I know what they are looking for in students and what frustrates them as they search for new hires.

There are jobs out there, but many students have not done enough groundwork to make themselves attractive to employers. That’s where parents can have a positive influence in helping their students get prepared long before interview season starts.

Here’s the first step.

 

STEP 1: Make good decisions about the type of higher education your student pursues.

 

Many students attend college without asking:

Why am I going to college in the first place?

What kind of job do I want?

What kind of life do I want to live?

What do I want to make of myself?

 

Not many high school seniors know the answers to these questions, of course, but they should start thinking about them as they consider what kind of education fits their future plans. Sometimes these questions can steer them to a technical school or a two-year college, or point them to a graduate or professional school that will require a four-year college degree.

As a college freshman, your student can use these questions to explore possible career fields. Graduation may be four years away, but freshman year is the time to do career exploration. Your student should also evaluate his or her aptitudes, interests, values, and learning styles.

Encourage your student to identify several career fields of interest. Students who enter college with just Plan A can flounder when they find Plan A isn’t what they thought. Exploring several career fields – even those that seem impractical or risky – can motivate students to plan for and not simply drift into a career.

Then encourage your student to use holiday, spring and summer breaks to shadow or interview professionals in those fields. Offer to help them by sharing contact information for appropriate friends, family, and colleagues, with permission of course.

Step 2 involves getting work experience. In the meantime, enjoy the fall!

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