As a parent, you want the best for your child. For many parents, this includes making sure that their children are able to go to college. A college education can offer a number of benefits, from helping to increase the likelihood that a person will have higher lifetime earnings than if they did not attend, to the opportunity to start testing independence without having to leap immediately into fully responsible adulthood.
The tips below can help you get your children ready for this experience.
It’s generally not a good idea to try to mold your children into versions of who you think they should be, but you can exert some influence, including talking about college from the time they are very young so that they see it as a natural progression after they finish high school.
Talk about why higher education is important and your own positive experiences. Even if your child graduates from high school and decides that they want to do something else for a few years, you have planted the seed, and there is a good chance they will eventually go back to school.
Think About Money
The cost of college feels like a barrier to many people, and yet it shouldn’t be. There are many different ways to pay for college, and as a parent, you can help out by starting to save when your children are very young. You can get tax benefits from saving for education in a 529 plan. This option is not right for everyone, and you can also use other types of savings account.
You should also be prepared to help your child find funds for college. These might include grants, scholarships and federal student loans. Another option is Earnest private student loans. It may be easier to obtain these compared to federal loans in some cases.
The college you attend will play a larger role in your life than simply dishing out college paper writing tips and sticking you in large lecture halls for four years. Getting a well-rounded picture of campus life is essential. The visit to college campuses is a rite of passage for many kids and their parents in their junior and senior years of high school, but you can start visits to campuses much earlier than this.
This doesn’t mean dragging your seven-year-old around orientation tours at your alma mater, but does mean that you can make campuses feel like familiar places to children. If there is one in your town or nearby, take walks there and visit any attractions or events that are appropriate. If there is not, try to visit a campus occasionally when you are in a city that has one.
Know the Culture
This last tip can be difficult for parents who have not attended college themselves, and in that case, you may need to do some research or talk to friends to get a better sense of what this entails. This is all about knowing the things that are important to help students succeed.
It’s a good idea to take advantage of a professor’s office hours to get help with any aspects of a course that are difficult. Help your child understand the importance of adding or dropping classes on time or how to network.