What If Your Child Doesn’t Want To Go To College?

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As a mom, preparing your kids to go to college can seem like one of your most important duties. It’s ingrained into us that we as moms make sure our kids do well in school and ultimately get into college.

The recent scandals involving Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are extreme examples of what moms will do to ensure their kids not only go to college but also that they get into the best. These are moms facing potential jail time because of what is seemingly their own desire to have their kids get into good schools.

College can be a great thing, and for many careers it’s necessary, but what if your child doesn’t want to go to college or maybe college isn’t the right fit for them?

As a mom, what should you do? Maybe your child doesn’t want to pursue any more education at all after high school. In this case, there are options such as vocational school or working in jobs that require minimal training such as getting their commercial driver’s license. Perhaps your child may want to go to college eventually, but they aren’t ready yet, so they’re considering a gap year. Maybe they don’t have the grades for college.

These are all situations you may face as a mom, so what should you know and what should you do?

Let Go of Your Own Plans

First and foremost, when you’re a mom and your teen might be veering off from what you’d like them to do, you have to learn to let go of your own plans. Your plans can be irrelevant. You can help guide your teen and offer your advice and opinions when they ask for it, but ultimately it is their life and their decision.

The more you try to force your kids to build their life around your plans, or maybe your dreams, the worse the situation is likely to get for everyone.

Find Ways to Help

If your teen were going to go to traditional four-year college, you would probably help them with everything from test prep to preparing applications, and maybe even provide financial support.

If they decide college isn’t for them, you can still be helpful. This can allow them to structure their plans and maybe be more productive in what they decide to do.

For example, maybe a trade school could be a good option for them, so help them research and find programs. Maybe your child has no idea what they want to do, but they know it’s not college, so explore some options with them.

Maybe they want to take a gap year, so help them find programs that are geared toward what they’re interested in.

There are so many ways that you can help productively, rather than brushing off what your child wants to do.

Understand the Value of a Vocational Education

Maybe your teen knows they don’t want a four-year college, but they’d like to find a good career path. Many of the most in-demand jobs don’t require a bachelor’s degree and can be learned in a vocational program.

As a parent, explore vocational programs and career paths that might be a good fit for your child. If you look into it more, your opinion may change.

There are many benefits. First, there is a high demand for so many of these positions requiring vocational training, so the job prospects are strong. It can also be inexpensive so that you’re not saddled with a huge financial burden and your child doesn’t graduate school automatically in tremendous debt.

Additionally, many employers will cover some or all of the costs of education and training in technical positions to be able to create their own talent pipeline.

Your child deciding to go to vocational school isn’t the end of the world, and they may quickly end up with a high-paying job.

Know Your Child’s Weaknesses

As mothers, it’s difficult to see weak areas in our children, but we all have them,and it’s natural. If your child struggles with academics or maybe isn’t equipped to live on his or her own yet, that’s okay,and college may not be a good option.

Hearing your child say they don’t want to go to college shouldn’t be painful. It can feel like it at first but reframe your thinking, realize that it isn’t your decision and find ways to provide help to your child without letting your own preconceived ideas or dreams cloud your judgment.

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  1. […] If your child chooses to attend college, it can be a bittersweet experience. For your child, it can mark a monumental step into adulthood and independence, yet a large percentage of high school students are heading off to college grossly unprepared. A Hechinger Report showed that over half a million college students enrolled are not ready for college-level work. In states such as California, many high school students feel ill-equipped to apply to college, and a rising number of college students are seeking help for anxiety. As a parent, it is never too early to begin helping them prepare for the transition – with the help of simple tips that you can practice today and will last for life. […]

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