On Track to College: How to Teach Children about Higher Education Reply

Most parents want their children to go to college. Unfortunately, figuring out how to talk to them about it can be difficult. Fortunately, there are three things you can do to make sure your child is taught about higher education in a way that will help you both.

Set Expectations

What does higher education mean to your family? It can be difficult for a child to start thinking about college if he or she hasn’t had anyone to model expectations. If you expect that your child will go to college, start talking about it early on. Make sure he or she understands that this is the educational path that you support, and that you expect him or her to have college plans in mind while in high school. A little thought towards the future can go a long way.

Graduate Degrees

It’s also important that you talk to your child about education beyond the first four years. If your child wants a job in public administration, for example, you’ll need to talk to him or her about the possibility of getting a master in public administration or other degrees they may be interested in. Masters degrees are increasingly important in the work force, and teens who don’t know that might set their sights too low when they seek out a path in college. Giving your children a look at the whole educational process can be a great way to give them realistic expectations for their futures.

It’s About the Journey

It’s also important that you discuss college as just one step in your teen’s life. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that he or she will get into the college that he or she (or you) want. College should be viewed as chance for education, not just a goal in and of itself. If you are able to impress upon your child that college is a place to learn and to get on the right path, he or she can approach the experience without dreading what comes next. College is great, but it shouldn’t be the final goal of anyone’s life.

If you want to talk to your child about college, make sure to start now. Begin setting expectations, talk about further education, and make sure your child knows that no one school is the only option. If you are willing to talk to him or her frankly, he or she just might start to understand why college is so important to you.


Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of Petersons.com or its parent company Nelnet.

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