Parents as Partners
College can be a difficult experience for both students and parents. As your student embarks on the journey to a successful career, this can lead to an unsettling time for you, as a parent. For years you have been the driving force in your son our daughter's life, as a teacher, enforcer, and leader. However, this is the time for your once inexperienced child to traverse the world without your leadership and forge his or her own successes and failures. Here are some key points which can help both you and your student find a successful college career experience.
All majors can be successful.
Are you dreading having to confront your student over their choice of a 'deadend' major? Don't be; even majors which do not have clearly defined career paths have a variety of successful career options. Our career guidance staff is experienced in connecting students from all with successful opportunities within all majors.
Information is connections; connections are powerful.
The University has a constant stream of news updates from a variety of offices. Keeping yourself up to date with these postings may help you catch some valuable information that your busy student may miss. The Career Center's home page, for example, provides up to date event information, lists of employers attending our career fairs, and access to on-line publications to which we subscribe. A great way of staying in touch is to find us on Facebook and encourage your student to do so as well. Talking to University faculty is also an excellent way of learning about who your student is learning from and what material is being covered.
College is hard.
The student that got straight A's in high school may be gone forever. This isn't because he or she may be slacking, but because college courses are difficult. A variety of topic material is covered over the span of a college stay, and no one person can be great at everything. Don't let yourself or your student stress if those good grades are a little elusive- the effort involved and pressures undergone while managing a college career result in well-adjusted and successful young professionals. Be sure to remind your student to take advantage of the tutor hours available for each class as well as any professor's office hours.
How you converse matters.
So your student wants to pursue a career path you don't agree with. How you talk to your son or daughter matters! From body language, to tone of voice, to the choice of words, there are a number of things which can unintentionally put up walls which block good communication. Avoid seeming angry or condescending; there's a good chance that they've heard your spiel before and might be blocking you out. Think up a different approach to the topic to retain his or her interest. Your son or daughter is old enough to make their own decisions and knows that you only want the best for them. Reminding yourself to approach the discussion as equals will be sure to increase the communication between you two.
It's alright if it takes a while before your student finds the career or major niche he's looking for. Many people change their career goals several times over the course of their lives; an adult changes his or her career many times after having graduated and it's not the end result that matters so much as the path taken to get there.
You may also find some of these books and online parent survival guides to be useful in finding some advice to deal with your young professional.
- The PARENT'S Practical Guide to COLLEGE and CAREERS: How to Help, Not Hover
- The Parent's Crash Course in Career Planning: Helping Your College Student Succeed
Experience.com is the premier resource for students and young professionals beginning their careers. This link will take you to their Parents' Survival Guide.
- Be sure to check out "A Career Planning Course for Parents" by Sally Kearsley!