Helping Your Child Avoid Being a Straggler After College

My Ideal College shares how to keep your child from struggling after college.

I have dreams for my kids and my life. I envision them happily graduating from high school, then attending college which launches them into a career that they thrive in. They are living on their own, making money, and enjoying life. My husband and I are happy and enjoying our retirement years.

Do you have the same dreams for your kids and your life? I am sure you do.

Unfortunately, that is not the reality for most kids who graduate from college and their parents.

Jeff Selingo, an author about higher education for two decades, did research for his latest book, There is Life After College.  Here is what he found:

Two-thirds of college graduates struggle to launch their careers after college.

WOW! That really hit me like a brick when I first read it. I knew kids had a hard time getting into their careers, but I had no idea it was that many. I certainly don’t want my kids to be part of that two-thirds.

As Jeff says, “20 years ago getting a bachelor’s degree was golden in getting you into a good career. But now, it’s not. Many employers do not trust a bachelor’s degree, as a sign of workplace readiness, as more and more people have it. It’s more important today in how you go to college rather than just going to college. You can’t wait anymore until your senior year in college to get a job.”

What did the top third of college graduates do to jump into their careers right after college? According to Jeff’s research, these kids had these three key differences:

  • Confident of their major when they applied
  • At least one internship while in college
  • Less than $10,000 in student loan debt

What is the one thing you can do to have your child be in the top one-third who jump into their careers?

Help them identify their major while in high school.

Parents will tell me, kids change their mind too much to be able to decide on a major or career. They are influenced by too many things. Yes, kids do change their mind based on what they are exposed to through their family, friends, and the internet. It’s a hit and miss whether they find something that will end up being a fulfilling career for them. But there is a way for your child to have exposure to many different careers.

Step 1 – Have them take a career assessment. It will give your child exposure to thousands of jobs. A proper career assessment will match your child’s natural interests and abilities to actual jobs, not just job categories.

Step 2 – Research the jobs the career assessment suggests. Look at the job outlook for that career. Is it a growing or declining career. What is the salary? Where do you have to work to get a job in that career? Does your child want to live there? 

Step 3 – Meet with people in those careers. Have your child ask them why they like their career, What did they do to get that career? Your child can get our information interview questions here to get them started. As a side bonus, talking with these people might get your child an internship.

These steps will better ensure that your child is in the top one-third who launch into their successful careers after college. I can speak from my own experience. When I graduated from college, I struggled for several years in finding a career I loved. I changed my major, not sure of what I would do. I lived with my parents after college because I wasn’t making enough money.  Then in my mid-twenties, I took a career assessment and found a career I loved and thrived in.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about career assessments and how they could benefit your child. Email us at laurie@myidealcollege.org.

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