Helping Your Teen Create a Balanced College List
Although you and your teen know that college is just naturally the next path to take right after he/she graduates from high school, thoroughly and properly planning for that moment way ahead of time will help to make that transition to college life stress-free, easy, and organized. Part of the college planning process is taking the time to create (and complete) a well-thought-out, balanced college checklist of information. Here are some of the items to include and topics to cover long before your college-bound teen starts that first college semester!
Ask important questions.
Schedule a time and a place (whether on your patio, at a local café, or at your dining room table) to ask your teen specific questions, give him/her the time to answer, and then dig a bit deeper to get at the core of the responses. While remembering that there is no right or wrong answer during this conversation of discovery, ask your college-bound teen:
- What are your interests? (This could range from music, math, or forensic science to sports, fashion, or law (and everything in between). When you hear the response, ask why. Allow your teen to do some critical thinking and explore the reasons why he/she gravitates toward a particular interest or interests. Did someone in the family inspire him/her? Does it come easy for your child?
- What are your strong skills? Is your child articulate? A great story-teller? Detail-oriented? Athletic? Tech-savvy? Artistic? Analytical? Cerebral? Once your teen has answered this question, dig further and ask for examples of when he/she feels these particular skills really shine.
- What are your career goals? Does your teen want to be a doctor? An environmentalist? A teacher? Does he/she have an entrepreneurial spirit and envision opening up a business? What are different ways your child envisions earning his/her income?
- What are your lifelong ambitions? Does your child want to travel the world? Climb mountains? Get married and have children? Overall, what does your teen value in life?
Share Your Story
Let your teen know how and why you chose the college you did. Whether you chose that particular college because it offered a great program in your field of interest, had outstanding sports, was the university your parents attended, or was in a geographic area of the country that interested you. If you visited several college campuses before choosing the one you did, let your teen know that. If it was a toss-up between the college you chose and another one, share with your child the reason you ultimately attended the university you did.
Consider Your Family’s Current Situation
If your college-bound teen is one of seven children in your family going to college, that will undoubtedly factor in where you teen goes to school. If finances are not an issue, that could influence where your teen chooses to attend. If your child wants to go to medical school, you’ll want to discuss the commitment, length, and investment of that career path and what resources will be needed to bring that goal to fruition.
Explore the Colleges of Interest ~ Deeply
With your teen, identify specific information about the top colleges he/she is considering. What degrees do they offer? What is housing like? Are there lots of diverse activities? What is the student-to-faculty ratio in the classroom? What are the retention and graduation rates? Do they offer exciting internships in your teen’s area of interest? Where is the college located ~ it is in a metropolis, the mountains, or a suburb? Is it easy to access via a plane, a car, or a train?
Have meaningful discussions about meaningful things.
Take Advantage of California College Prep Services
As we assist you in determining your best college options, we review your applications’ components, and their timelines. We will make sure that you have absolute clarity about pros, cons, and timing of every choice you make, including whether to opt for Early Decision, Early Action, Rolling Admission, or Regular Decision.