Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Post: How to Encourage Children to Go to College

It used to be possible to get a great career and live a happy life without ever setting foot on a college campus. These days, the playing field has changed drastically. Without a college education, it’s hard for kids to find a decent job, start a family, and become independent. However, many kids grow up without realizing the value of a college education because their parents don’t tell them about it. Since parents often have the highest influence on their children’s lives as they’re growing up, it’s essential for them to emphasize the importance of going to college. No matter what age your kids may be, here are some ways you can encourage them to go to college.
1. Discuss the Benefits – Many kids don’t give much thought to college because they don’t know about how it will benefit their lives. Parents should talk with their children from an early age about these benefits, such as better career options, higher salaries, more opportunities, and more self-worth. Helping your kids to see the many advantages in going to college will help them think of it as an integral part of their future.
2. Demonstrate the Importance of Learning – Parents can be great role models for their children by demonstrating the importance of learning. From going on educational trips as a family to simply talking about what you’ve learned each day at the dinner table, there are many things parents can do to show that learning is important and part of a happy life.
3. Foster Their Interests – Many children show interest in a certain activity or school subject from an early age. Parents can foster these interests by helping children learn about careers in that field. For example, if you had a child who loved dinosaurs, you could read books about what archeologists do. By encouraging children’s interests, parents can help them look forward to going to college and working in a certain career field.
4. Help Teens Realize the Possibility of College – Some children grow up assuming that college isn’t an option for them. They may not do well in school or live in a low-income family. However, a college education is accessible to everyone, no matter the economic situation, disability, or other factors that may seem to limit their future. With all the different programs available and forms of aid such as scholarships, grants, and loans, parents can help children realize that college is a realizable possibility for them.
5. Consider All the Options – Some children may not do well in the traditional school environment or struggle with going to college far from home. However, there are more options available now than ever before to earn a college degree. Accredited online colleges have programs in almost every discipline. Online degrees allow students to learn from home on their own schedule – even nights and weekends if they have to work or help out at home during the day. Students may also consider going to a career-oriented technical college to become a technology specialist, medical technician, or one of many other occupations.

Katie Brunson is a college career counselor who works to help all students pursue their career goals. Her website, Associates Degrees, offers information to students who are looking to earn an associate’s degree online.

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