Parents want the best for their children, and for many, that includes wanting them to go to college and get a good education. While this may merge with the plans of some children, others might resist it because they want to take time off before continuing their education, want to pursue a career that does not involve college or simply are resistant to being told what to do by their parents. The final reason can be especially tricky for parents, who may be trying to walk a fine line between instilling their children with their values and making their children feel as though their parents are dictating the course of their lives. The best approach for parents may be to keep the lines of communication open.

Talking About a Timeline that Makes Sense

It’s understandable that your teenager might balk at the idea of at least four more years of education when they have already been in school their entire lives. Some teens might insist that they want to get some real-world experience before they head off to college, either through traveling or working or some combination of the two. Some may be interested in joining the military first with the intention of going to college afterwards. In fact, waiting a few years to start college is not always a bad thing. Students may be more mature and motivated and have a better idea of what they want to do with their lives. On the other hand, the longer college is postponed, the harder it can be to go. Furthermore, when they do go, most of their fellow students will be younger than them. How will they feel about this? Instead of dismissing your child’s reluctance out of hand, talk about their concerns and specific timelines.

How to Pay for College

Your child may be hiding concern about money under an attitude that college is not that important. It’s true that college costs are skyrocketing, and the idea of graduating with student debt may be unappealing. However, you can talk to your teen about how to borrow money responsibly, choosing a college that has an affordable tuition and other ways to pay for school. Many students use a combination of their own money, grants, scholarships and loans, and the loans might include both federal and private student loans. These loans will benefit in the long run with higher incomes down the road.

The Benefits of College

Increasingly, employers are using a college degree as a baseline to screen out candidates, even when the content of the degree has little to do with the job itself. You might want to talk to your teen about the opportunities that a bachelor’s degree will offer. For example, the lifetime earnings of people with college degrees tends to be higher than the earnings of those without. College can also provide an opportunity to ease slowly into independence and adulthood. Finally, students may discover a passion for a subject there that they would not otherwise have been exposed to.

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