Motivate Your High School Kids to be Interested in College

Going away to college involves moving to a new city, leaving friends and family members behind, entering a new and challenging environment, trying to make new friends, and dealing with coursework that is much more difficult than that of high school. It’s no wonder that many high school kids are apprehensive about going to college.

Your high school kids need to know that college allows them to broaden their interests, pursue their objectives, make great friendships, and experience a fun social life. They also experience the joy of 1:00 A.M pizza deliveries while cramming for exams!

Visit College Campuses
Visiting college campuses is a great way for high school kids to get a sense of the vibrant college atmosphere. If possible, take a walk through a few dorms. Visiting college campuses makes college seem like something tangible. Tour a campus and, if possible, attend sporting events or concerts on-campus. You can also take virtual college campus tours on the Web along with your teenager via Campus

Surf the Internet
Search the Internet for valuable college information. Find colleges and universities with degree programs covering subjects that interest your kids. Search for interesting degree programs your high school kids has never heard of, and send them links via email.

College Life
Let your kids know that the vast majority of college students, especially those living on-campus or in a nearby college town, have a great time. They have plenty of people to hang out with, parties to go to, and plenty of opportunities to meet the opposite sex. It’s hard to be lonely living in a college dorm.

Kids at college, especially those living in dorms, form strong personal bonds with other students, making life more fulfilling. Most colleges have a large number of student organizations and clubs to join.

Summer Programs
Some colleges have summer residential programs for high school students. While experiencing life on-campus, they bond with other students via on-campus social activities. They typically attend lectures, work on project-based assignments, perform individual and group work, and take field trips.

Students explore subjects not available in high school, and this may lead them to get excited about a major. Many colleges invite sophomores, juniors, and seniors to participate in their summer programs. Most programs last two weeks or longer.

Financial Benefits of a College Education
Kids that are reluctant to go to college simply need good reasons to attend college. They need to be convinced that college is the right path. Money might be a motivating factor. 2008 Census data shows that people 25 years of age and older with a only a high school diploma earned $33,801 whereas people with a bachelor’s degree earned $55,657 and individuals with a master’s degree earned $67,337. A report from the College Board Advocacy Policy Center shows that people with a college degree are less likely to experience unemployment.

College Versus a Job
Teenagers should realize that going to college is way more fun than sitting through a boring entry-level job for eight hours a day. Inform your teenager that life in a college dorm includes three meals a day prepared by other people slaving away in a kitchen! They don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to work five days a week; they can schedule their classes so that they can get up at more preferable times in the morning. They don’t have a boss telling them what to do all day and they don’t have to perform the same boring work tasks over and over again. Teenagers need to know that a college education increases their chances of landing an interesting, rewarding job.

High school students that are reluctant to go to college should know that most college graduates say their college years were some of the best years of their life. Years after they graduate, they’ll likely look back at their college years with fond memories.

Brian Jenkins writes about a variety of topics related to careers and education, including careers in accounting and bookkeeping, for the Riley Guide.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to go to college.

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3 Responses to “Motivate Your High School Kids to be Interested in College”

  1. Hey Brian this is a great post. I know one of my top concerns as a parent are the teen years. I fear they will lose all sense of their future. I am especially fond of the idea that parents should take the time to visit college campuses with their children. This can be a lot of fun! I would also add that parents should be actively seeking and/or enjoying the career of their dreams. When our children see us living this way it tends to rub off, don’t ya think?

  2. Nice article! Having lots of experience with kids this age, (mine are 11, 14, 17, & 19) I have found that most high school kids think of college as something they’re automatically going to do. (Maybe it’s the region where I live?) They are introduced to college campuses, career choices, etc. via high school as early as their freshman year, and I think this is all fantastic. However, I also think it’s important to provide a balance for our kids, so that they do enjoy their high school years as well. I see so many kids that are so “driven” by their parents to prepare to get into a good college, that they aren’t enjoying the high school years the way, in my opinion, they should. I do think your tips are great for kids who are not thinking along those lines, and/or to alleviate some of the anxiety that is inherent in all kids getting ready to launch into this next phase in their lives. Thanks!

    • Amy LeForge says:

      Excellent points all, Lori! It may indeed be a regional thing. My parents spoke about “when you go to college” quite purposefully my entire childhood. They were very deliberate in planting that seed. We’ve also been deliberate with our boys, but instead of talking about college we talk about post-high school training. Because honestly, there’s a lot of opportunity out there in a lot of different forms, and a traditional 4-year degree isn’t for everyone. In fact, I see validity in the argument that by insisting all kids to go college, we’ve diluted the importance of having the degree. Plus, so many don’t finish. I’d rather have my kid get a solid 2-year training program than drop out of a bachelor’s program. And some kids just aren’t suited to college. We’ll see what our boys do. We try to emphasize getting good enough grades to do whatever they want, but a perfect 4.0 isn’t even on the radar here.

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