As juniors are being thrust into the college search and exploration process, some students feel overwhelmed and don’t quite know where to start. This blog post is for parents as they attempt to get their teenager to open up about what they want in a college setting and why. Take advantage of a quiet one-on-one moment… in the car, before bed. And really listen to the responses. Some students will have very clear and direct answers, some won’t know much at all yet. But we hope this helps to serve as a starting point for discussions.
- Do you want to go to college? Let’s not jump to the conclusion that every high school student wants to go on to college after high school. Now, you might have very clear and definite expectations for your child, every family is different, but it can’t hurt to ask them IF they want to go to college right after high school.
- Why? If your son or daughter says that they do want to go to college, ask them why. Is it just what’s expected and they don’t know why? That means more of a conversation is in order. Or perhaps they have very definitive educational and career goals to share with you.
- What do you want to study? Let’s not forget the first purpose of college is to get an education, so ask your son or daughter what they want to study there. Do they want to double-major? How sure are they of their intended major? Do they need to meet with a college counselor and take a career interest-aptitude test to determine some possible courses of action? Many 16 and 17 year olds don’t know the answer to this, which is fine, but having some direction is certainly helpful.
- Where do you want to be located? How close to home do you want to be? Typically if you ask this question in the winter in New England, you might hear that your child is desiring some sunshine, which is normal. But, perhaps applying to a school or two closer to home is important to you as a family?
- Speaking of location, do you want to be in a city, near a city or in a more rural location? Teenagers often don’t know the implications of setting on their college experience, so they may need help understanding how different life would be at an urban or rural setting.
- Do you want to play (sports or activity) in college? <insert what they enjoy> Is your son or daughter interested in playing intercollegiate sports? Are they good enough? Do they want a college with a specific activity, such as dance or theater? These can be important “must haves” for teens.
- (For girls) Would you consider an all-women’s college? We wrote more on that in this previous blog post.
- What else do you want your ideal college to have? You might be surprised at the answer to this one. Leave it open ended, ask them to visualize the college experience and what the students, activities and educational experiences are like.
These are just a few of the many questions parents can be asking their son or daughter to prepare them for the college search and exploration process ahead. At Campus Bound, we ask these questions and many more, and guide our students to find the best college matches for them. We hope this list helps!