Preparing for college... and beyond
With many recent high school and college graduations and a new school year ahead, we asked several university professors, deans, student affairs administrators, college admissions professionals, and retention specialists how parents can better prepare their children for success in college and at work.
Below are highlights from those conversations, which we hope will inspire and encourage you in your parenting efforts.
What are some characteristics of successful students? What helps them fulfill responsibilities and persist to graduation? Answers:
- While successful students have a wide range of characteristics, I’ve noticed that students who set goals and who have strong communication skills tend to do well.
- A confidence that completing college is attainable helps them learn to power through when things get difficult.
- A successful student usually has a strong work ethic and good study habits; a willingness to ask questions.
- The ability to form good relationships helps students not only perform better academically but also to handle the stress associated with college.
- Getting over that first “wall”—the first time they face a challenge they are not sure they can conquer—is critical for students to be successful.
What advice would you give parents to help them prepare their students for success? What can the students do? Answers:
- Praise students for the effort they put in, not just the results of those efforts. Focusing on the effort more than the grade helps them learn the value of working hard.
- If they fail at something while in high school or while being home schooled, let them fail even though it is difficult. That way, they learn that failure is an opportunity to come back stronger—all while they are still at home where you can support them.
- Provide some help and direction, but don’t step in and take over and do the job for your child. Let them learn how to follow through to completion.
- While college parents can rarely tutor or help their children, just being there to support and encourage them is priceless. Helping students develop persistence is key.
What qualities are necessary for students to search for and find a job? What can parents and students do so they are better prepared for the workforce? Answers:
- Again, good communication is the key to success—especially when finding a job.
- Drive and demonstrating initiative will help a student land that first “big” job after graduation.
- Learning to be a good team member is essential for today’s workforce. Employers are looking for workers who are good at interacting with colleagues and customers.
- A student must be persistent and open-minded. Too often students (and parents) set unrealistic expectations for a job search. Some students narrow their search to “dream jobs” and don’t keep an open mind about other opportunities that may be available to them. Sometimes a successful job search means being willing to accept an initial opportunity at a lower salary in order to showcase skills and work ethic that will lead to future advancement.
- The same characteristics that contribute to success as a student will prepare students to enter the workforce.
No matter if your child is entering the workforce directly after graduating high school or has plans to enter college, it is important to support and encourage them—praising their effort and instilling a good work ethic. Let them make mistakes and learn from them, because this teaches them to persist. Above all, love them and let them know you are proud of them. These actions, taken with faith, will help them achieve the best outcomes.blog comments powered by Disqus