College Planning Without Being a Pest: Tips for Your Potential Procrastinator (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 19, 2010

Seek Outside Help

College counseling doesn’t have to be expensive. Some packages cost as little as $150. Jump says parents can also enlist a school guidance counselor, teacher or family friend to guide a teen’s future planning. Talking to another adult is usually less daunting than talking to a parent.

Plan Overnight Visits

Most college admissions offices will be happy to arrange for your child to spend a night on campus with a current student. Alternatively, you can find a high school classmate or family friend willing to host your teen in the dorms. “The child typically goes off with a friend, has a good time, feels like a college student, and decides college is pretty cool – maybe even decides this particular college is pretty cool,” says Rubenstone.

Show Empathy

Teens who aren’t motivated to think about college aren’t necessarily lazy, says consultant Todd Johnson of College Admissions Partners. Some kids are scared of leaving their comfort zone. If you suspect this is the case, talk to you teen about her worries and reassure her that everything will be ok. It’s important for your child to know that even though she may be entering into uncharted territory, that her family, her home and her network of support will still be there for her.

Graduation Approaching? Don’t Panic

Is your senior starting to consider college only weeks before graduation? The longer students wait to apply, the less likely they are to find schools that fit their needs and offer enough financial aid. But there will be some choices. “Even a procrastinator who lallygags all through senior year, and who isn’t that strong of a student, will still have options at four-year residential schools,” Rubenstone says. The Counselors’ Association maintains a list of colleges that have space for freshmen, even after the national May 1 decision date.

Still, some teens don’t want to go to college right away. If your child is adamant, don’t force the issue. “There’s nothing worse than sending someone to college who’s not ready to go,” Jump says. But every teen needs a plan for after high school, which could mean joining the military or attending a trade school, which might end up as a better match in the long run.

Here are some other options:

Gap Year

A growing number of colleges encourage students to take a year off after high school. A year earning money or volunteering overseas often makes for a more focused college student.

Community College

Starting out at a community college can save thousands of dollars in tuition and help a teen adjust to the college life. Jump points out another advantage: Community colleges are full of older adults more focused on education, who can serve as great role models for kids needing direction.

Get a Job

If your high school graduate has no plans, encourage your teen to get a job and perhaps find her own place to live. This will give your teen a taste of what kind of a job she might get without a college education. Experiencing the real world without extra education can be a great motivator and can help your potential procrastinator focus on her future.

More Resources for College Planning: College Finder

Roadmap to College: Planning Worthwhile College Visits

Career Planning and College Choice (For Teens)



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