A College-Bound Culture Starts When Children Are YoungCherilyn Ashley
As parents, we hear regularly that a college or university degree is extremely important for our children. We hear that without a degree, our children will not be competitive in the job market. Many parents, though, are skeptical of these statements and point to the trades as a career path where students can succeed without a college degree. The trades are a fantastic option, for some children, but most trades require a level of education equivalent to that of an associate degree. Electricians, plumbers and car mechanics (to name a few), must have a knowledge of computers and the expertise to install or repair the newest technology. Without continuing one’s education after high school, one will drastically limit the jobs one will qualified to perform. Historically, individuals with a college degree have a lower unemployment rate than those who do not. As of September 2018, in a bombing economy, the unemployment rate for college graduates was a low 2.1 percent, while those with a high school education were at 3.9 percent.
The have and have nots are not just those that have jobs and those who do not. College graduates earn a weekly wage that is 80 percent higher than those with a high school degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (February 2019), Americans with a bachelor’s degree have median weekly earnings of $1,173, whereas those with just a high school diploma earn only $712 a week.
How can parents ensure that their children continue their education after high school? Since our children were little, we created a culture that they could be anything they wanted to be. Their dreams, though, would only be possible by going to college, so we have instilled a college-bound culture in both our household and in our children. As our children entered high school, they pushed themselves with hard classes and grades that would allow them to reach their dreams. Being college-bound, to them, is more than a dream now; it is becoming a reality. Here are 7 things you can do as a parent (starting as early as elementary school!) to help ensure your child is college-bound.
- A college-bound culture starts with parents respecting and promoting the value of education.
- Be your child’s cheerleader. Start with early encouragement by letting your child know that he or she can grow up to be whatever they want. If your child wants to be a doctor, a lawyer, or even The President of the United states, keep up the encouragement. Encourage your children to pursue their goals and dreams, no matter how silly. Then, connect dreams with reality by helping your child understand what those fields involve and how to make those dreams come true.
- Encourage activities, camps, and events that cultivate curiosity and a desire to learn. As a family, visit museums, try new foods, and engage in countless discussions about every topic under the sun.
- Just getting by is not good enough. Our children understand that the only way they will grow as human beings is by challenging themselves. They understand that nothing comes easy in this world, so they take rigorous and challenging courses in school.
- A college or university to our children is not a concept, but it is a place. Since they were young, we have taken them to college sporting events, concerts, and plays. They have walked multiple campuses, talked to college students, and have had a feel for what a college campus is like.
- College is such a priority that we’ve established a scholarship fund. Talk to an investment consultant about all the college savings plans and find one that works for your family. If students think that college will be a financial burden upon their family, students will sabotage themselves so they cannot attend. There are plenty of resources available to help everyone pay for college.
- Congratulate by celebrating hard work and perseverance. The life lesson children learn here is to become independent and confident learners who know how to fight through challenges to find success. This is what college and life is all about.
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