My parents didn’t go to college and they were very keen for me to get the best education I could. Those who went to college also swear that they will do anything possible to offer this opportunity to their children. Whatever your background, you want your children to go to the best college possible.
At the same time, you may have witnessed firsthand people locked into jobs they don’t particularly enjoy or they are not very good at.
Here are nine steps to help your children find which college suits them best.
- Help them find what they are passionate about. Here are 4 ways they can use to find what they love doing.
- Encourage them to identify what they are naturally good at. It is important they ultimately choose a career that plays to their top strengths.
- Another element for them to discover is what makes them perform their best. Are they competitive? Do they have a strong sense of responsibility? Do they want to be famous? Do they want to constantly learn new things?
- Ask them questions that will help them figure out which work environment suits them best. e.g. Do they prefer working in a small entrepreneurial company or an international one? Do they want to work in the private sector or the public sector?
- Push them to think 10 years down the line. Ask them to have a long-term plan. If they have a specific plan in mind, they will filter all the information they receive in a way that enables them to make it happen.
- Brainstorm with them professions that fits their strengths, interests and expectations. Note though that a profession that has provided good prospects until now might be redundant soon. When assessing career options, think long-term.
- When they have a few career paths in mind, help them avoid the most common mistake applicants do. Convince them to talk to people who already work in these fields. They can provide an insider’s perspective.
- Advise them to choose a major that will help land the job they love. Until recently, many students preferred to major in a general subject because they didn’t want to be pigeonholed in one area. Although this has been a good strategy until now, it might not be in the future. Employers are looking for depth rather than breadth.
- Help them to understand the trade-offs of their college options and how to choose a college degree that offers them good value for their money.
The bottom line: As parents, you can do a lot to help your children find the best colleges that fit their abilities, passions and expectations. Don’t advise them though based on what was the reality when you went to college. The world is changing fast. Think long-term.
Korina Karampela is the author of ‘b4iapply to college‘ and ‘b4iapply to uni‘. She is a former pharmaceuticals executive and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. Her b4iapply blog is recommended by The Guardian for professional development.