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Five Simple Things to Get Kids To Think the C-word (College)

Check out these five simple things to get kids to think the c-word (college).

Dr. Uma G. Gupat

March 13, 2009

Five Simple Things to Get Kids To Think the C-word (College)

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3. Tour a college or university: There is always a college nearby! It doesn’t matter where you live, there is a college or university nearby. If nothing else, drive through the campus with your kids. Attend sports events, whether it is basketball or football. Enroll in summer camps. Visit the college or university library – it is free to the public! Take your children to free exhibits and concerts on college campuses. The idea is to make them comfortable with being on a college campus. Do this when they are young and unfettered with doubts. Play a game on your return from a campus: Can they remember names of five buildings? What are the colors of the college? What is the name of the mascot? Make it fun and entertaining, not just a boring tour. Even when you are on vacation, if you pass by a college and the detour is not too bad, drive through a college campus. It is an easy way for your child to get a feel for different campuses.

4. Share college experiences: Many children have no idea what to expect when they get to college. Is it sitting through more lectures or is it all partying? Will I be lost? Will someone help me? Talk about your experiences and ask your friends to do the same. Make sure that these experiences are positive. Walk a child through what happens after they get admission. How will they know what classes to take? How are grades determined in college? Share about your part-time work experiences and talk about any other positive experiences you had while you were in college. Depending on the age of your child, you can also talk about some mistakes you made and the lessons you learned. Talk about any clubs or organizations that you belonged to and how it helped you in later life. The idea is to give the child a “big picture” view of college, rather than giving them the impression that it is just difficult lectures and more exams!

5. Collect College Brochures: Today it is easy to request a college brochure. Just go on the Net and email the Admissions Division that you would like a brochure. Your child can scan through it and get a sense of different colleges and their programs. This is also a fun way to learn about the many extracurricular activities and programs that colleges offer. Kids will also come to know about the wide range of programs that colleges offer. Often they will ask more about programs they don’t know anything about when they see it in a brochure. This greatly expands their career choices. Instead of saying, “I don’t know what I want to do!” they will start thinking about the different programs that they have come across,

Take a look at your scholarship matches & apply now. 6. Match interests with college programs: Capitalize on your student’s interests and hobbies and tie it to education and college! For example, suppose your child is interested in video games. Search the Net to find college programs on video games and request a brochure. Casually leave it where you child will see it! If you child is interested in scuba diving, look for programs in marine science. If your child is interested in ballet, look at dance programs! This does not mean that they have to major in dance, or games, or marine science. It is one way of educating a child that there is a program for them out there!

The beauty of the above ideas is that they are all free! More important, these ideas help you to have a conversation with your child, boost their self-esteem, and encourage them to think about their future. These are simple ideas that can be executed flawlessly with the help of friends and well-wishers. Each one of us can help our child or someone else’s child to dream big and live a productive life.

As the costs of college education soar, some parents even question the value of a college education. But research shows that a college education has a long-term positive impact on children. There are many scholarships and financial aid programs available to help students get through the college. The earlier we start these conversations with our children, the more prepared they will be to succeed in college. By clearly articulating our expectations and providing them with the support and network they need to succeed, each of us can make a big difference in the life of a child.

Dr. Gupta can be reached at guptaguma@gmail.comand is the President and CEO of Global Cube Consulting.\education.html

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