Parent Action Plan
Here are Some Tips for Success in Decisions
Relating to College
that you and your child should keep in mind as your child continues
her education beyond high school.
Enroll in a summer
course. If your child
chooses to enroll in a university elsewhere in the state or country,
encourage him to consider taking a college course at Tri-County during the
summer to get ahead.
Taking a summer course at home is bound to save time and money!
Classes are usually smaller than at larger institutions.
(Wouldn’t he rather take organic chemistry with 20-30 students than 125?)
Be sure he discusses transferability with his chosen college though.
And, encourage him to consider taking
occupational electives like computer courses or electronics.
Then, he’ll have some marketable skills to help him get a part-time job during college
that pays more and is more satisfying than most minimum wage jobs!
Apply for financial aid and scholarships. Learn all
you can about financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
Your child may qualify for a grant that you did not know about.
And many scholarships go unused because no one applies for
them. Check with your college’s financial aid office and counseling center to find out more
about these opportunities. And don’t be afraid to apply!
Click here for links to Financial Aid Resources and Information
College Board Online (information on cost
and budgets) www.collegeboard.com/paying
Fast WEB (financial aid and scholarship
FinAid.com (“The Smart Student guide to
financial aid”) www.finaid.com/
Peterson’s Education and Career Center
Participate in School-to-Work. Make School-to-Work
part of your child’s collegiate experience. She may have
participated in work-based learning in high school through
shadowing or mentoring. Encourage her to continue in college
through cooperative education or internships! (Remember,
doctors don’t become doctors and teachers don’t become teachers
until they have done an internship.) Work-based learning
experiences are great even if they aren’t required for your
Realize that there are no fail-safe choices. By identifying more options, your child will increase the likelihood that he
will make good choices. For example, if he wants to major in archeology, fine.
But he may want to minor in business or computer science, just in case digging for dinosaur bones
professionally offers limited opportunity. Encourage your child to diversify
his opportunities. Don’t allow him to put all his eggs in one basket.
Consider your child’s personality. Our
personality has more to do with long term satisfaction and success in a
career than anything else.
For example, if your child loves nature and being outdoors, she
probably would not be happy as an industrial technician who works in a
manufacturing setting and has limited contact with the outdoors.
Or, if she prefers working inside, she may not wish to be a forestry technician.
Your child should think about what is important to her.
Is she the type of person who needs to make a contribution (i.e.,
make a positive difference in someone’s life)? Does she enjoy solving complex
problems and get bored if she is not challenged? The answer to these and other
questions will give her a hint about her “work personality,” and that’s a
key ingredient to career success!
Spend time learning about the job market that will be available after your child graduates.
There is a great deal your child can do on his own. He should
talk to professionals, relatives, or your friends about careers and the
world of work. He should go to the library to search for career information.
A clear understanding of workforce trends will help him make wise decisions now about his college major.
(This website contains much information and great links to other sites to help you learn more about
labor market trends and issues.)
Your child needs to choose a career he will find rewarding, but he should keep
in mind the consequences of his decision, and be prepared to “pay the
price.” If he knows that being an editor for a large newspaper is the career for him, he should be
aware that the job market is limited and that he will likely have to
accept numerous lower level writing positions to prove himself before he
finds his dream job (and an acceptable salary!). Or, if he loves farming
but is concerned about the number of career opportunities, or the
challenges that modern farming presents, perhaps he should consider
something related, like agricultural engineering.
Recognize that your child can only make two mistakes in career planning-not planning at all or
trying to keep all her options open.
Both “techniques” essentially result in the same thing, “career by default.”
Eventually, your child will wind up somewhere, but it may not be where she had hoped to be!
Good career planning doesn’t mean that you come to a decision and never change your mind.
It means that if a change of direction is needed, you can do so
wisely, with the least amount of time, trauma, and cost!
Your child should keep everything! Keep all
grade mailers, syllabi, advising records, college transcripts, etc.
He will never know when he might need them!
Consider this: If your daughter and her advisor agree on some modification to the standard
curriculum, she should get it in writing! Her advisor may change jobs and
leave the university before she graduates. And, while rare, sometimes there
may be discrepancies between the grade she thinks she earned in a course
and the one that shows up on her transcript. If she keeps her quizzes and notes
on grades she earned in the course, all that could come in handy! If she takes a course at another
college, she should keep the syllabus and the college catalog. She may decide to transfer to
multiple schools and need the documentation to get the credit posted to
her transcript at her new college.
Don’t just do what you are told. Encourage your child to be responsible for all his
decisions. He should ask questions and fully understand why he is doing certain things.
And remember this Prescription for Success: As
you and your child plan college courses and look forward to a career,
remember...The ideal employee has a solid foundation of academic skills,
one or more technical skills, and strong social skills for interacting
with fellow employees in a productive environment. It is essential that
your child develop these skills as she prepares for the world of work!