University is a huge milestone for everyone, no matter how old you are when you first go or when you go back. University is for everyone, but it is by far the go-to choice for young people looking to kickstart their career and their opportunities in life. It has been drilled into them that going to a great university is essential for life, but that isn’t entirely true. There are so many options out there to get them to their dream goals.
Not only is there more than one way to get into the college of their dreams, but there are also new programs and even universities emerging every year. The choice can feel daunting, and teens want to do right the first time so badly that they don’t consider their other options.
Similarly, a lack of planning can also sabotage teens’ futures at this moment in time.
The good news is that your teen has you there by their side. To help them get into their dream school, use this comprehensive guide:
Workshop What they Want to Do
One of the biggest challenges for any teen is being able to tell you definitively what they want to do. Even if they are certain today, they may not be certain tomorrow, or the day after, or even halfway through their degree. It’s a lot of pressure to choose a career when you are a teenager, especially when you haven’t been out there in the world and don’t yet know what is important to you or even what options there are.
While there is no guarantee, a good place to start is what they are passionate about. There are great career options in the arts all the way to STEM, but first, your teen needs to know what is out there.
Go and brainstorm what they like, want to do, and are passionate about. Then, together, look up jobs that fill said criteria. Your teen doesn’t have to marry this option, but it gives them a good idea of what direction to take their education and efforts so that they have options they like down the line.
Find the Right Programs
One thing that many teens get caught up in is the infamy of the schools they are considering. Instead, try to direct them to the program-first mentality. For example, you wouldn’t take a humanities course at Johns Hopkins University. If your teen loves chemistry, however, then JHU can be a great fit.
Focus on the program first, then create a shortlist based on the resources offered by the institution, and finally, the reputation. From there, you will want to help your teen understand what they will need to have grades-wise and work experience-wise to get in.
You can do this in a few ways.
Understand the Admission Requirements
Go to sites like campusreel.org and see just what admission requirements and GPA your teen will need to get into their top choice universities. You will also want to consider the acceptance rate and how they can improve their chances without burning your teen out.
A smart strategy can make up for a lot. It can help your teen stand out without committing themselves to never-ending extra-curricular or trying to get the valedictorian position. Both options will help, but a smart approach that looks at what the university in question is interested in and what opportunities are available near you will go a lot further.
Help Your Teen Find and Apply for Extra Curricular Activities
The clubs at school are a great place to start but don’t stop there. Look up any societies, clubs, competitions, and volunteer opportunities are in your teen’s field of interest and pass on the information. Your teen doesn’t have to do it all, but picking one or two things to focus on outside of school can go a long way towards their application acceptance chances and their future career.
Help Them Create a Plan B and C
If your teen doesn’t get into their dream program the first time, it’s okay! There are many options that will help them get into their dream program that are still available.
The first option is transferring. By attending university at their second choice or whatever university they get accepted into and continuing the efforts they have put in this year at university, they can then create a very appealing transfer request later on.
Transferring is a very common tactic, and you can do it in many ways. You can transfer from university to university or even from a community college to a university.
Transfers don’t mean you start from scratch, either. You will use the credits you earned already towards your degree at this new university or program. Of course, this plan may not work out well, so create a plan C on how your teen can get the most out of their education and use it towards their career goals.
At the end of the day, the university in question never makes or breaks your career. Your dedication, perseverance, and commitment to always taking opportunities as they come will make the difference.
Don’t Forget to Teach Essential Life Skills
Schools don’t teach life skills, and though that is a current debate, it means that parents today need to teach essential life skills to their teens before they head off.
A few essentials include how to cook, how to clean, how often they should clean, how to budget, and so on. Building these skills in advance can help your teen immensely when they first adjust to living on their own. Healthy living tips, in particular, can make a big difference to how they perform at their chosen university.
Be Their Safe Space
The stress and pressure of doing well can be very detrimental, so be their safe space. Be the person they can go to who listens to their worries and stresses and takes them seriously. At the end of the day, none of this will cause the utter breakdown of their future, so listen to your teen and help them approach life in a healthy and safe way.