Guest Post: Talking with your children about options after highschool
For many kids, it’s difficult to imagine life after high school. Graduating is an accomplishment to be proud of, but it can bring about anxiety as many teens begin to contemplate leaving the nest for the first time. Parents can ease the transition by beginning to discuss with their child the many options that are available to them after graduation. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject even with freshman and sophomore students, as it can be beneficial to get teens started on looking ahead long before graduation. Even if your child is a junior or senior, you can still provide assistance by bringing up this important subject.
Understand That There Are No Right or Wrong Answers
Many teens are undecided about the course they will take after graduation. You may have very specific ideas about them attending college immediately after high school, but allow them some latitude to make their decision. Many teens benefit from delaying their entry into college for a year or two or even longer. Entering the military or the working world can be just as educational as going to college. Some teens will decide to go to community college part time while they are exploring their options. Deciding on a college major and a career is a big step, so be willing to let your teen take small steps to finding the path that’s right for them. Let them know that none of these choices is necessarily the only right or wrong one, and encourage them to come to you for guidance and advice.
Jumping Into College
Some teens have very clear ideas about where they want to attend school and what they will study. However, this usually applies to a fairly small number of students. In fact, even teens who have very decided ideas about what they want to do in college end up changing their major at some point. For this reason, it’s important to discuss with your teen the importance of choosing a solid all around educational institution.
Any college that your teen considers should be fully accredited and have highly qualified faculty and staff members. Encourage your kids to speak with their high school counselors to get some good ideas about how to choose a quality college. If possible, you can even be present at the meeting to ask additional questions. It also makes sense for you to visit potential schools with your child. This gives you and your child a chance to become familiarized with the campus and to speak with school representatives.
Getting a Job
Some high school graduates aren’t ready for college for one reason or another. Entering the working world presents its own set of unique challenges that you can discuss with your teen. Talk about how to prepare for a job search. Help them become familiar with browsing employment advertisements in newspapers and online. Talk to them about drafting resumes and cover letters and utilizing good interview strategies. These subjects are often not covered in the high school curriculum and can be sources of puzzlement to teens. With your encouragement, your teen can find a good job that will provide them with plenty of challenges and learning opportunities.
Joining the Military
The several branches of the military can provide excellent opportunities to young people. They acquire discipline and good work ethics while learning useful skills. While they are earning money and performing valuable services, they are also earning benefits that could help fund a college education. However, enlisting in the military is considered a hazardous occupation, and if your child doesn’t like serving, there is no easy way out. Carefully discuss the pros and cons of military service with your child so you know they are making an informed decision.
Preparing for Life
Regardless of which route your teen chooses, they will need to be able to take care of themselves. Talk to them about being responsible financially, teaching them to use credit and checking accounts wisely. Also, talk to your teen about cooking, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping. They need to know how to do all of these things for themselves now that they are about to leave the nest.
Grace Kelly writes for Zintro, a marketplace of experts in various fields that helps connect investors, lawyers, analysts, entrepreneurs, and more. Find an expert by discipline on Zintro.com consultant directory.