I want to go to college, when I grow up I want to be the President of the United States of America. I want to go to Mars, I want to be a rockstar. I want to be a vet, a teacher, a police man, a fireman, etc.
When I grow up I want to be super man.
The list of careers your child will tell you are endless. They have large dreams, but sadly not large enough life experience to get there quite yet. It is not until they start middle school or high school that they are able to really see the ladder to the top. It's a reality check that hits most students harder than a brick being thrown at a wall from a slingshot. It's rough. And dreams start to become less of a reality and more of a chore. It's sad, but very true.
But encouraging your student to go to college is the first thing and first big influence you can make on your child. It's the first thing you can tell your child to pursue that will impact them.
Picking a major for college is difficult, picking a career that they may potentially pursue as a career and life task can come off as intimidating, scary and can develop enough fear to the point they don't want to even try for it anymore.
But can you blame them? Going to school to be a vet can take 8-10 years easily. And that's if they stay on track and don't mess up and are basically a perfect student. One mess up and that can lengthen that track in no time.
Now aside from the picking of the major. Money. Money. Money. They can have all the drive in the world to go to college, but if they don't have the financial resources to get there, all those dreams can come crashing down like a poorly played game of Jenga.
With the right planning and discussions college can seem like a realistic and desirable challenge.
You just need to make sure that you know how plan things and know what too say.
Find out what goals your student wants to achieve, and without destroying dreams and completely ruining anything, you may need to filter through them and kindly explain that becoming superman may no be the best goals to have. Being president may be a little out of reach. But if it's something they really have their heart on, write out a plan, draw out the road map of necessary achievements to accomplish what they want to do.
Sit with them and plan, here is where you are and here is where you want/need to be to accomplish what you are aiming for. Be real. And be wise.
Remember your student can't do this alone. They may turn against you at some point. But you need to keep them on track and make sure they adhere to the overall plan. If necessary, get organized. Using an eplanner to organize and remember assignments may help in the process. More and more educational institutes are utilizing this technology, so if you child attends a BYOD school that uses an eplanner solution, make sure they take full advantage of it.
Money isn't easy
Budget this out, find out all the costs. Okay, maybe they have not gotten into the school quite yet. But if they do, you don't want the money to be the reason that they can't accomplish the years of planning. Do not let finances get in the way, if you can't save it all. Then find out what grants and scholarships and financial aide that the student can qualify for.
What can you do to make sure finances aren't the issue? Be prepared, be ready be able to handle the situations that you are going to face in the path of putting your student through college. Between tuition and a sweatshirt to keep memories alive, college is not something to put off until later.
Dreams aren't all dreams
You may think their dreams are too big, but some dreams can come true. They can, and your student will have the world against them. Maybe you know it won't happen, but do not tell them. If you can tell that their heart and soul are invested then invest the same. Invest your heart and soul and if it's not meant too be, the world will find a way to make it happen. The world, and fate will help them see that maybe they need to figure something else out.
And remember they are their dreams, not yours. So many parents make the mistake of wanting to control their kids lives and dreams and their ambitions. Sadly that steers so many kids away from wanting to follow their own dreams because they are so focused on pleasing mom and dad.