Talking with your children about a college education

Father and son readingMany parents consider college education as a priority in the homes. However, most of them don’t know when to start talking to their children about college. They wonder how early they should start talking to their children about college education. If you are among the parent who are wondering when to start talking to the kids about college education, you should know that it’s never too early to talk about college. Remember, talking about college is one of the most important things that you have to do to establish a college going culture in your children’s minds.

Here is how to talk to your children about college at different stages in their lives;

Elementary school

If you want your children to have a holistic understanding of college, you should start talking to them about it as early as when they are still in elementary school. However, while the kids are still in elementary school, you should not be talking about majors, grades or test preparation. This will be a great time to take them to local collages sports events, camps or any other activities that might excite them. Most colleges also have science museums, art galleries and cultural events. By taking them to these places and events, you will make them appreciate the role that colleges play in the community. You can also introduce the idea of college to your kids at this stage by talking about your college experience or the experiences of your friends and neighbors.

Middle school

Educate your mind, inspire your soulAt this stage of your children’s life, you should make them understand the possibilities of colleges. This will also be the time to include the financial aspects of college in the conversation. Talking about finances may feel awkward at first but it is something that you should talk about. As you talk about family finances, you should also talk about the qualities of a good college. Let them know the colleges that you can afford paying for and those that you can’t afford. This will make your kids figure out the options that are available to them. When you start talking about finances early, you may make them look for scholarship opportunities or make them work towards receiving merit based aid.

High school

When your child is in high school, performing well in school tests, getting good grades and focusing on studies is important. However, this should not make you forget about having the college conversation. Many parents focus on talking to their kids about grades and doing their best in high school and forget about the bigger picture. Colleges are increasingly looking for leadership skills, extracurricular activities and ambitions. You child should grow in all aspects of his/her life.

If you have never talked about college to a child who is already in high school, you should not panic. You can make him know what you want him to know about college by starting the college conversation now. Find information about different programs and talk about your family’s finances. You will definitely find a school that will meet your child’s academic needs and his/her long term goals.

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