If your child is in their senior high school year or approaching it, then thoughts of college will be weighing heavily on your mind.
While senior year is an exciting time, it will go by in the blink of an eye and before you know it, they will be walking across that stage to collect their diploma.
They might be ready to graduate from high school but are they ready for college?
The one doesn’t necessarily follow the other.
So how do you know if your child is college-ready, or if college is even the right step for them at all?
Take a Time Out
As your child approaches the end of their senior year, it’s easy to get caught up in all the paperwork and processes of applying to college.
Filling out applications, visiting campuses, interviews, and essays will consume much of their time and yours… but this is why you need to take a step back and ask one simple question: Are they actually ready for college?
For many parents and families, college is just an assumed ‘next step’ and their young person is sent off to college with little thought given to their readiness. Which is one of the reasons why almost half of all college students don’t graduate within six years of enrolling.
College readiness is more than age, it’s more than academic, and it’s more than just maturity… it is, of course, a combination of these things but so much more besides.
So, you’ve taken the time to ask the question of your child’s college readiness and how prepared they are for success in higher education, so now the question is: how do you begin to assess it?
Start the College Conversation
Communication is vital in finding out how ready your child is for college.
Not every high school student has dreams that require a college degree or they might have plans for a gap year program. They might not feel ready themselves and wish to take some time to prepare and gain experience and maturity before attending.
Have an open discussion and listen to what they want. Of course, this is easier said than done sometimes, as parents taking an interest can often be seen as ‘interference’, but it’s not something you should shy away from.
If your young person gets solid ACT or SAT scores this will be a good indication that they are ready to handle college coursework.
Also, look at the difficulty level of their high school classes. If they are breezing through AP and Honors courses, they should be fine academically but if they are struggling in basic classes, then perhaps they aren’t college-ready just yet.
Proactive or Procrastinator?
A good indicator of college readiness is the level of procrastination from your child.
Of course, many teens can be prone to a certain amount of procrastination, but is it a bad habit they can break? Many college courses will require a proactive approach in order to keep up with the more intense workload.
Putting off assignments until the last minute is not a good habit to have when starting college!
Attendance is another major factor in college readiness.
If your teen has a habit of skipping school or has needed a considerable amount of time off from school, they are likely to struggle in college.
Attendance can often be a factor in final grades for college so a tendency to skip class can not only impact on their ability to grasp the course material but can also affect their attendance grade and their ability to pass the class.
It may be that your kid is academically ready and has a sensible approach to work and timekeeping, but they may not be emotionally ready for college life.
Consider how your child is at managing high school life, their choices, their ability to avoid or deal with toxic friends, and how they handle difficult feelings or situations.
College may be fun, but it’s not always easy. There will be stressful situations, difficult professors, annoying college roommates, and more. Is your child ready and able to solve those problems in a healthy way?
How Independent and Responsible Are They?
Consider your child’s ability to take care of themselves. For example, are they able to cook, clean up after themselves, do laundry and other chores?
Unless they are planning to live at home and attend college, then they aren’t going to have you there picking up after them or taking care of them. Of course, it goes beyond household chores…
How risk-aware is your teen?
Are they able to take their safety into consideration when making decisions on their own?
College is more expensive than ever and being able to manage money is a skill that will not only see them through college but is essential for independent living.
If you give your child an allowance, do they burn through it at an alarming rate, or do they save for the things they really want or need?
Having money management skills before they leave the nest will help them immensely when they start college.
Getting Your Child College Ready
If you’ve come to the end of this article and are starting to realize that your young person perhaps isn’t quite college ready, you don’t have to panic! There are so many things that you as a parent can do to help get them there or help them find the right path to take after high school.
At College to Career Catalyst, I aim to cut through all the misinformation about starting college and give you the best tactics on how to approach it and how to prepare your young person.
Being college-ready also applies to you as the parent!
Are you ready to support your child through the transition from high school to college?
I’m here to guide you to discover how you can make their journey as smooth and as successful as possible and give them the best starting chance on their college career.