There are many rites of passage throughout our kids’ lives, including the transitions from elementary to middle school, then on to high school. Our society has defined the next rite of passage as college. It’s what every teen must do to have a happy, successful, and fulfilling life.
But is that true? Maybe or maybe not.
Student loan debt has skyrocketed because teens jump straight into college, thinking it’s the appropriate next step. But many drop out or change majors because they can’t figure out what they want to do. There’s also an emotional cost as teens may feel a sense of failure, comparing themselves to their peers who seem to have it all figured out. Or, they believe they’ve disappointed or shamed their parents.
It’s essential to recognize the signs that your teen may not be ready for college. Here are some indicators:
- Poor grades in high school
- Unable to structure their days to get things done
- Not showing any initiative in taking college tours, finding out admission requirements
- They are interested in careers that do not require a college degree
- They have talked about the desire to take a gap year
We must pay attention to these indicators and talk about the next best steps with our teens. As parents, we need to listen to what our teens are saying and also watch for nonverbal cues.
John was interested in a career in audiovisual, where a college degree isn’t always necessary. His parents were okay with his career choice but said he had to go to college. It’s the way to ensure a promising career and a good salary. John went to college and dropped out a year and a half later. While he enjoyed the audiovisual classes, John failed the standard required courses. He then went to a technical school and is now thriving. BUT his parents are $40,000 in student loan debt, which will take years to pay off and could’ve easily been avoided.
Society has instilled that college is the next step after high school, and it may be suitable for your teen. Keep in mind that parents must ensure their student has a clear path and direction before getting to the next step, whatever it may be. Your wallet and your teen’s psychological health depend upon it.
I would love to help you and your teen figure out their best next step after high school. Schedule a complimentary College Assessment Plan call with me here.