"Going to college" can mean a lot of different things. Today, colleges vary from traditional four-year universities, to two-year colleges and short-term job training programs, to online degree programs. Many people do a combination of these options to complete the training or degree needed to meet their goals.
Participating in any type of college experience is a great way to gain independence, and expand on the skills and education needed for a good career. Also, the majority of high-paying jobs available require some type of formal training beyond high school, so going to college increases earning potential.
Some teens have their hearts set on going to a particular school or type of college, but haven't given much thought to what they might major in. Other teens are focused on majoring in a specific subject or the type of job they want, but aren't sure which school has the best program for them. Help your teen to understand that picking the right college depends on individual career and education goals.
Your teen's education goals should include career objectives as well as personal goals.
It is sometimes difficult for a teen to think too far into the future. Breaking down goals into short-term and long-term goals can make the process easier. What does your teen hope to accomplish in the next two years? How about in the next five years?
Setting concrete goals will help to give motivation and direction when researching college options.
Before committing to a specific college or major, help your teen to explore all options to make an informed decision. As you look through lists of schools, think about what is important to you and ask your teen: