Is It Too Early to Talk to My Kids About College?
As a parent, you want the best possible future for your child. You want them to be safe and successful and happy. For many parents, this dream for their children includes attending college, an educational pathway that opens many doors to excellent career prospects.
Depending on how old your child is currently, it can be tough to know if it’s time to have that conversation with them yet. You might be asking yourself if it’s too early to talk to your kids about going to college and what their choice of college in the future may look like.
Your concerns are completely understandable, and we’re here to help. Here are a few things you should keep in mind to make your decision.
Experts Recommend Starting Early
If you ask the education experts, earlier is actually better when it comes to discussing college options with your children. By starting the dialogue early on in your child’s education, you’re informing them of their potential pathways well before they even need to make a decision. Plus, it can be quite motivating because it gives your child a goal to work toward throughout their education.
Tailor Your Approach to Your Child’s Grade Level
Depending on your child’s age and grade level, you’ll want to take a different approach in your conversations with them. Here’s a brief breakdown of how you should broach the topic for each grade level:
- Elementary school – This is a great time to start sharing stories of your own college experience to start planting the seed and producing excitement in your child. If you live close to a college, consider dropping by for a sporting event or a talk that might be of interest to your child.
- Middle school – When your child reaches eighth grade, this is an excellent point to start researching universities and exploring the topics of the grades needed to get into a good university. It’s also important to discuss the monetary component of going to college, especially if your child will need to contribute financially down the line. This gives them lots of time to familiarize themselves with the numbers and to plan accordingly.
- High school – This is when the conversations will turn a bit more serious. You’ll want to encourage your kid to get good grades and SAT scores and to become involved in extracurriculars to boost their college applications. At this point, you’ll also want to propose campus tours of a few different schools.
Don’t Pressure or Preach
You may mean well but try your best not to pin all your hopes and dreams onto your child, especially if their own goals might look a little different. Don’t try to sway them into choosing one degree or one college over another and don’t focus on what worked for you when you attended university. Instead, ask them questions to get them engaged and excited. Focus on their interests, strengths, and passions and make recommendations based on that information.
If you’re wondering where to start when exploring college options for your child, check out American International College to kick start your journey.
Clearly, it’s never too early to start discussing college with your kids – it’s simply all about your approach. By customizing your approach to align with where your child is, you’ll support them and guide them to a successful future, whatever that may look like.