In 2020, attending college is commonplace. In today’s world, a college diploma is required for the majority of careers out there. However, this was not always the case. Decades ago, thousands of students would graduate high school each year and enter the workforce. Most of these graduates went on to have stable careers and were able to start a family and build a beautiful life for themselves. That being said, what happens when the child of a parent who did not go to college decides they want to go.
When a parent is faced with a dilemma, they tend to lean on their experiences to get them through it. They may rely on life lessons they have learned when giving their child advice about a problem or the future. However, going to college is a unique, complicated, and lengthy process with many steps and obstacles along the way. If you, as a parent, never went to college, you may seem lost in your attempt to help your child as they apply to college themselves. Today, we are going to review five ways to help your child through the college process regardless of whether or not you went to yourself.
#1 – List Out The Skills You Do Have
The odds are good that your child is going to be overwhelmed by the entire college application process. The problem is, if you never went through it yourself, you may be overwhelmed too. You may be wondering how you could possibly dispense valuable advice on a topic you know nothing about it. The critical thing to remember is that while you may not know the ins and outs of college admissions, you do know how to tackle complicated problems.
Make a list of your own skills and how they could help your child. For example, if you are a highly organized person, then you can help your child do the same. Applying to college is all about paperwork and deadlines, and knowing how to stay organized can be the difference between getting in or getting rejected. Another skill that can be passed on is attention to detail. You can review these documents with your child to ensure nothing is missed. You can also be an extra set eyes on campus tours to make sure they are getting the full picture.
#2 – List Out The Topics You Need The Most Help On
Just because you never went to college does not mean you cannot be educated on the essential topics. The key thing is to list out what about applying to college you know the least about it. This way, you can spend your time gathering this information so you can give your child the best advice possible. Financial aid is a complicated topic that even college graduates who applied for it years ago are still confused about. Another topic that falls into this category could be going away to school or writing college application essays.
Whatever it is, understand you are not alone. MyKlovr offers several services that are designed to provide you with the information you need. The Financial Readiness section of our app was created to inform both students and parents of there financial options when exploring ways to pay for college. In addition, our Personalized Marketplace feature is your go-to place to find the services, resources, and answers to all of your questions.
#3 – Perform Research
One of the most common pieces of advice I give my student coaching clients is to perform as much research as possible about the colleges they are looking at. While they are researching things like internship options and campus sizes, you should be investigating the topics we listed above that you need more information on. There are several blogs dedicated to preparing students who are planning to attend college. This is where you can get tips about what to buy for a dorm room, questions to ask on-campus tours, and everything else your child will need to know.
Our College Finder feature was created to help conduct this type of research. We have compiled data and information on hundreds of colleges so you can make informed choices.
When your child chooses to look at a school, you can direct them to straight to our app. You may not have the answers they are looking for, but we do, and we will make sure we answer all of there questions.
#4 – Partner With Another Parent
Parents often go to each other for advice when raising their children. Applying to college should be no different. The chances are good that you know a parent who is either going through the process themselves or have been through it in the past. Reach out to them and ask for there help. Explain that you want to be there for your child but fear you may struggle because you never went through this process when you were younger.
If a fellow parent does agree to help you, be sure to make the most of it by asking specific questions. Go back to the list you made earlier about topics you were unsure of and write out questions you have. The parent may be able to give you the answers you seek and save you the time by not having to look it up. They may also be able to point you in the direction of any resources they have discovered or share lessons they have learned on what mistakes to avoid.
#5 – Be There For Support
As much as you want to be able to answer every question your child has, that is never going to be possible. What is possible is to be as supportive as possible during this complicated time in their lives. Even though you never went through it, try and remember that applying to college can be confusing and stressful. You may not be able to solve their problems immediately, but just being there to listen will be just as helpful.
Just because you never went to college doesn’t mean you are useless in your child’s pursuit of secondary education. You still a lot to offer your child and can be a valuable resource for them along the way. The key is to identify what you don’t know and seek out help from professionals, experts, and other parents. By following these five steps, you will be able to support and guide your child from application to acceptance.
Kyle Grappone is an educational coach helping students prepare for the next steps in life.