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How to Prepare Your Child (or Yourself) for College

At Excel, we put a lot of focus on college preparation.  After all, for most students, high school is about getting ready for college.

While a great high school education gives them the knowledge they need, many teens could use a bit more college wisdom.  How do you fix this?  It starts simple enough.

Talk to Them about College

You have to handle this carefully.  The typical high school student receives a daily barrage of college questions:

Where are you going?

What degree do you want?

What are you going to do with that?

Do you think you can make a living off of that?

These can start to weigh too heavily on a student.   They become confused and frustrated and soon, they won’t want to talk about college at all.  Instead, simply start with giving them information.

Let them know that public universities are often cheaper but private colleges can be more personal.  Tell them some majors are far more practical than others.  Explain that the main goal of college is to get you a job that you’re passionate about, and that can hopefully pay your bills too.

Explain things like credit hours, majors vs. minors, and all that information you might take for granted.  And if you as a parent don’t know anything about college either, get yourself educated.  There are endless resources out there to be found.

Give Them Some Freedom

With college comes a lot more freedom and a lot more responsibility.  If you’ve held your child’s hand a bit too tightly throughout their life, they may get lost in the transition.

As college gets closer and closer, give them a little freedom.  Add some responsibility to their life and see how they handle it.  When they come to you with obvious or easy questions, encourage them to figure it out on their own.

Teach them how to be resourceful, independent, and driven.  These are skills that will help them greatly in college.

Make them Work

If they’re an academic genius who’s going to get college for free, then there school IS their work.  If they are going to be paying for college with loans and such, encourage them to start saving and prepping now.

Explain how loans and interest works.  Make sure they understand that by working harder and pinching pennies now, they can make their life a whole lot easier in the long run.

And if someone else is paying for their schooling, make sure they understand how lucky they are.  Find a way to make sure they earn it.

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