Presentation on theme: "For Parents You Blink and Suddenly it’s College Time."— Presentation transcript:
For Parents You Blink and Suddenly it’s College Time
What Happened? -Suddenly that small child you raised is talking about college! -YOUR ROLE IS ENORMOUS! -They are listening….. your attitude toward college, your comments about finances, your commitment to their future, and much more!
College is an (EXPENSIVE!) Investment -Postsecondary education pays off over your child’s lifetime -Career options and higher earnings -Typical four year degree currently ranges between $40,000 and $200,000 total -Costs are increasing at a rate higher than inflation.
Saving for College There are many ways to save for your child’s college education: » U.S. Savings Bonds » Bank accounts » Mutual funds » Section 529 state plans » and more… Learn all you can, and you may want to consult with a professional financial planner. Whatever you decide to do, the earlier, the better.
Elementary School- a critical period in terms of your influence! Set the stage…… - Focus on developing good study habits and attitude toward school -Encourage your child to challenge himself/herself academically and to take school seriously -Encourage school and community involvement (A positive and multifaceted experience during these years will impact the years to come. Believe it or not, what happens in elementary school and later in grades 6-8 matters in terms of college options.)
Communication is Key It is really important to develop constructive dialog with your child. Dinners and family outings are a perfect time to talk about different careers and explore your child’s own aspirations. Too often, students assume that higher education is meant for someone else and that the jobs they will obtain won’t require it. Show them statistics, explaining to them that the better paying jobs almost always require some formal postsecondary education or training.
Don’t Let Finances Interfere -Many children assume that they can’t afford college. (The news tells us how expensive it is and how hard it is to secure financial aid.) -Minimize the discouragement by controlling the flow of financial information. -Remind them that there is more than $60 billion in aid available annually and there are lots of ways to pay for college. -Don’t let them reject college at this early age on the basis of cost. Focus on finding a way to make college possible. -Communicate!
Middle School -If they are planning on college, get them ready for college. Pay attention to rigor. Be sure that your child gets on a college preparatory track in terms of his or her curriculum. -Without that planning, they may be closed out of a college prep track in high school and severely limit their options without even realizing it. -Pay close attention to the Educational Career Plan (ECP)….December of 9 th grade year.
High School – Your Role Continues - Exciting and overwhelming….. -Empowerment, anxiety and helplessness….. -The gift of time and structure….many application tasks! -The gift of communication….talk about decisions, analyze the vast amount of information…. -Ease the stress! Keep them on track and help them learn to manage their time efficiently.
What You Can Do to Help - Teach them to take all high school years seriously. Engagement is important. -Teach them to study…..a dedicated place, time, and organization are key. They can’t afford to slip! -Keep a file of all honors, awards, articles, leadership accolades, volunteer work certificates, etc. relating to your child. This will save lots of time when preparing applications. -Encourage dialogue with you and with others regarding college choices, majors and careers. Why? To help them articulate what is important to them and why. (Tactfully!) help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses. -Emphasize the value of a college education as opposed to the prestige associated with certain school names.
More You Can Do - Their future, not yours …… help them to take ownership of the process. (They need to feel they are making their own decisions.) It’s easier to rationalize failure if someone else made their decisions. -Guide. Don’t steer. Guiding implies support, whereas steering implies control. -Participate when and where appropriate. Attend college visits with your child and join in parent programs there. Help them with research, and keep them focused and organized. -Be available!
And Most Importantly Reassure them throughout the process that you are proud of them and encourage them when things seem overwhelming. Let them know that you will be pleased no matter where they ultimately decide to go; then mean it.
Being Informed Helps, Too! -Learn about your high school grading system. Weighted vs. non-weighted GPA? Rank? Is their GPA a traditional one based on 4.0? Where does your child stand? -Be sure your child knows how to research colleges on the internet. -Know the important deadlines….Double check your child on dates and times that are important. Give them latitude, but don’t let them miss a critical due date! -During the senior year, help with the FAFSA and other financial aid forms.
Once they go, Don’t be a Helicopter Parent YOU MIGHT BE HOVERING IF : You talk to your child multiple times a day and YOU are the one calling. You contact school administration frequently. You make your child’s academic decisions. You register for your child. You react to academic disappointments or achievements as if they are your own. You get involved in roommate issues and other disputes. *Being overly committed to your child’s glorious college success denies your child valuable growth experiences.
But Don’t No-Show Either It’s tough to find the proper balance between being a “helicopter parent” and being a complete “no show”. But if you care enough to persist, you will figure it out. Adjusting to college can be difficult for some kids, and hopefully they will send out signals if they are having trouble academically OR socially. Be alert enough to sense those signals and that’s your cue to be a little more available.