The spring semester is officially upon us, which means it’s time to start talking about all-things college prep. For many years, it’s been drilled into our student’s heads that college is the ideal end-game. The competition to get into college has become increasingly more difficult in recent years, and our students have been studying and working hard in and outside of school to make themselves as strong of college candidates as they can be! Not surprisingly, as the end approaches, they might be tired, burnt out, or lacking excitement for the application and college process.
Part of our jobs as parents and supporters to our students is to reinvigorate their excitement for this next step. They are going to college and working toward becoming an independent adult - all of their (and your) hard work is paying off!
Here are some ideas that you can use to keep your students excited about college to give them the extra motivation they might need to keep doing a great job, because we know they already are!
1. Help them define their passions.
It’s not uncommon for students to have a wide variety of interests. In fact, we can only hope that our kids are well-rounded and well-versed in an assortment of arenas. It’s also true that colleges are seeking students with a passion for something in particular. This shouldn’t feel like a pigeonhole (or it’s not intended to), but it will be beneficial to help your students identify what they are most passionate about to create a robust and cohesive application. Have a brainstorm session with them where you talk about their strengths and their goals for the future. Perhaps you identify where they’d like to see themselves in five years. This might better invigorate them to think more holistically about the application process and also to identify ways they can stand apart from the masses of other applicants.
2. Immerse yourself in the campus culture.
Maybe you have a theater kid, or a soccer player, or a musician, or a math whiz. When doing your college campus tours, throw in a few schools that exemplify your students interests and go immerse yourselves in them! It’s one thing to visit the school and tour the campus, it’s entirely different and more substantive experience to spend a day or an evening immersed in the campus culture. Book some time to see a play or watch a soccer match or go to a campus concert. Take that extra step to give your student an opportunity to see and envision what their life could be like there. Not to mention, this is a great way to create fun memories together, while sharing in their interests.
3. Make the process feel real.
To date, your students have been working on an upward trajectory rooted primarily in the idea of college. It very likely does not yet feel real to them. Start solidifying how close they are to the end by having them fill our their first application. Download one online and give them a few days to fill it out. Not only will this start making the process feel tangible (which will hopefully spark some excitement), but it will also give them a taste for what information they’ll need to compile in order to complete these applications. Starting the application process early will also alleviate some of the stress around the application process, too, by not waiting until the frantic end to get everything done.
College prep is the final, critical step to getting your students to their next destination as students and as budding adults. Dive in head first, and start early! This will give them the best chances to succeed and also keep them excited throughout the entire process.