By Vicki Roberts,
The school year is almost over and some of you have children graduating from high school. If they have been accepted to a college or university, then you are likely feeling relieved that they are moving in the right direction toward their future.
But, what if your dream or plan is for your child to attend college and your child either does not want to go, or hasn't decided?
We all want our children to have options and advantages. Getting a degree will certainly ensure that they have more of both. We also want them to have the well rounded knowledge and experiences that come with college life.
But, we can't demand that our kids further their education. However, there are some things we can do to encourage them.
The first thing is make sure your child knows what their choices are. Before they decide to get a job instead of going back to school, encourage them to know all the facts, pros and cons of their options.
Make an appointment for you and your child with your child's counselor at school. See what opportunities are available and what schools your child can apply to with a good chance of acceptance.
Keep in mind that if finances are an issue, or your child is not ready to “go away” to school, they can take core classes nearby. It's also a good idea to look at what the employment opportunities are for the type of major your child is interested in.
Find out what kind of job or career your child wants and what the opportunities are without a degree.
Many kids have very unrealistic aspirations. Some think they can attend a beauty college and work in a salon in Atlanta , charging $100 a haircut. That is not likely. Be sure your kids are not being unrealistic.
Reassure your child that college is not a continuation of high school. They will not be treated like children any more. Most college students think that college is far more interesting and fun than high school.
Many kids who did not get good grades in high school do much better in college because they are a little older, wiser and involved with what they are learning.
Offer financial assistance if you can. If an 18 year old has the choice between making their own living and paying their own bills, or going to school and still having their parents pay the bills, some will choose to delay supporting themselves.
If you cannot afford to support your child and pay for school, books, and spending money, offer to do as much as you can and take advantage of student loans.
Let your child know they can live at home rent free as long as they are going to school and that you will support them as much as you did when they were in high school.
If they say they want to work and live on their own, give them a reality check by sitting down with them and writing down a realistic budget.
Show them on paper what a high school graduate can expect to earn; then deduct taxes, rent, phone, electricity, car insurance, gasoline and all the other expenses they will likely incur. Once they see what is left over for clothes and fun, remind them that cars sometimes need to be repaired.
Be sure they know that living at home rent free if they choose not to attend school is NOT an option.
Go visit a college campus with your child. Simply seeing the environment could make your child see college life as fun or the type of experience they want to have.
If you went to college, share the positive experiences you had with your teen. If you did not attend college, let your child know why you wish that you had had that opportunity and in what ways your life might have been easier or better.
Finally, be sure your child knows you will love them whether they go to college now, later or never.