Starting the process of looking for colleges post-high school graduation can be a very exciting and important milestone in your child’s life. As a parent, you will play a vital role in guiding your child through this important decision. WVJC is here to give you some helpful tips to make the search for a college more enjoyable and less stressful for you and your child.
Continue reading to learn our top seven tips for parents helping their children look for colleges!
1. Start The Search Early
Encouraging your high school student to start thinking about their post-graduation plans early on can help put them ahead of the game when it comes time to start looking and applying to colleges. As your child’s junior and senior years come around, they should have some idea of their plans for after graduation.
Starting to explore options early can give your child more time to prepare themselves better to take standardized tests, build their applications through extracurricular activities, and even register for college-level courses while they are still in high school.
2. Explore Your Child’s Interests
Determining how your child’s interests may translate into a career is an important step in choosing the right path for them. For example, if your student has a strong interest in building and fixing things, a career in mechanics might be a good fit for them. Likewise, if they show an interest in healthcare and want to help people, a career in nursing might be a better fit.
It’s important to remind yourself and your child that it is okay if they are unsure of what type of career they may want to pursue. Many free resources, such as career aptitude tests, can help them narrow down a potential career path. These online tests allow your child to answer questions about themselves, their interests, and hobbies. After completing the test, it will suggest possible career paths based on their answers.
3. Take Tours To Find The Right Fit
Choosing a college with the right atmosphere for your child to learn is crucial to their academic experience. To help find the best fit for them, encourage your child to make a list of things they might want in a school. Some questions they can answer include, do they prefer large or small classes? Would they like their school to be in a city or a more rural setting? Do they want to live on campus or commute from home? Determining these things beforehand can help narrow down the college search. Once they know the overall atmosphere of their ideal school, third-party search tools like Niche can provide them with more information about the school, instructors, and reviews from current students at the institution.
Once you have a list of potential colleges, you can help your child set up campus visits to tour the school. This is a great way to ensure that your child will be comfortable during their time as a student there. It’s important to let your child explore and ask the majority of the questions. If they need help determining what questions to ask, this article from High Point University provides 16 great questions for your child to ask at their next campus visit.
4. Foster Their Independence
As a parent, we understand that wanting to help your child through this process is natural. However, once your child graduates and begins their higher education journey, they will be responsible for keeping up with assignments, homework, studying, and more. Fostering their independence can help your child better prepare for college’s increased workload. Helping them develop their time management skills while still in high school can set them up for success in college and beyond.
5. Teach The Importance of Finance
Often, college is the first time that students must make financial decisions for themselves. As your child begins their college career and adult life, there are three significant financing aspects they should have an understanding of.
Attending college is a big financial commitment, and it is important to understand how financial aid can help make school affordable. Every college has different price points and financial aid packages, so it is important to determine which school gives your child the best value. At WVJC, our financial aid team members are happy to help you and your child through the process of applying for financial aid*, scholarships**, and loans.
Some students have the opportunity to participate in a work-study program. This means they can work in the field they are going to school for and earn an income while taking their classes.
Budgeting is an unavoidable part of adult life, which can be an especially important skill for college students to learn. The cost of living, books, tuition, and other needs can quickly add up. It’s crucial to help your child create and follow a budget that allows them to have enough money throughout their time as a student. For some budgeting tips, check out this blog post from WVJC’s sister school, East Ohio College!
6. Don’t Rush Their Decision
While there will be deadlines throughout the admissions process that your child will need to meet, it’s crucial not to rush their decision. Choosing where they will spend subsequent years learning is not a decision that should be made on a whim. This is why starting the process of college planning early is important, as it will allow them plenty of time to think about their future and pick a college that best fits their needs.
7. Support Your Child
One of the best tips we can offer parents is to support their child’s decision, no matter what it may be! As their parent, you can offer guidance through the process but don’t try to sway them in any specific direction.
Also, be prepared to comfort your child if they do not get admitted to their first choice college. Sometimes, there are admittance requirements or tests that do not allow students to begin their classes right away. If this happens to your child, be prepared to console them and offer solutions for an alternate plan.
Add WVJC to your list of colleges!
If your child is interested in pursuing a career in nursing, allied healthcare, or professional services and wants to attend a school that values them, then WVJC is a great option for them!
Contact our admissions team by Requesting Information to start the process today!
*For those who qualify.
**For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.