Tackling the topic of college is undoubtedly a huge task for parents of this generation. So many teenagers have watched older siblings and relatives and even friends, spend lots of time and money earning a degree only to remain un- or under-employed for months and sometimes even years, that getting into, attending and graduating college may seem like a fruitless endeavor. The thing is, no matter where you end up career-wise, college is a hugely beneficial experience for young adults. Not only does it help ease teenagers into adulthood, but the continued education expands their knowledge and helps them to become more worldly and well-rounded individuals and it's the perfect time for discovering your true self. So how do you get all of this across to kids that just want to take the easy way out? Read on for our best advice.

Read more ¿Qué más?: 7 Steps to making the college application process for your kids a breeze

1. Know your kid. If you're reading this, you're probably already a pretty attentive parent. However, I must say how important it is for you to know your child well, before you take on the task of motivating. If you're thinking pre-med and your son has dreams of being a world-famous artist, you're not likely to get very far in your efforts.

2. Do your own research. With knowledge of your child's passions in hand, start doing some research. Find out which schools--both local and not-so-local--have academic programs as well as extracurricular programs that will spark something in your teenager. When you approach them with something that is closely related to the things they're interested in, they'll want to listen.

3. Make it personal. The choice to got to college as well as what to study is a very personal one. These decisions essentially set the tone for the rest of your life and you should make sure your child knows this. Not only that, but you should talk to your child about the non-academic benefits of attending college. If you have a social butterfly, make sure she knows how much her world will expand on campus. If your son has always been independent, encourage with the idea that he will be able to make many of his own day-to-day decisions while away at school. Talk to your kids about all the freedom they'll have and all of the things they can do with that freedom. Teenagers have an innate yearning for responsibillity and adulthood, use that to motivate them.

4. Visit college towns. Unofficially, I mean! Plan your family vacations and day trips in or around great college towns, then visit some of the coolest places on or near campus. Most college towns are chock full of fantastic eateries, museums, theaters and cool shops. They're perfect for exploring and giving your kids a sense of what life could be like for them if they attend college. If you have a young teen, this is an idea that could be especially impactful, as you can plan several years of family trips around different colleges. Just be sure not to push the subject of school--the goal of this is really to send subliminal messages, to plant a seed of curiosity.

5. Then move onto the official tours. Official college tours are a huge deciding factor for most students. Be sure to make every effort to get your kid to every school that he shows an interest  in. This can be pricey and time-consuming, but the experience of seeing a college campus first-hand--exploring the cutting edge facilities, checking out the dorm rooms, having a latte at the student center and meeting the co-eds--is one that can't be beat. 

6. Ask what you can do. A lot of teenagers don't respond well to pushiness from their parents, so avoid being overbearing and controlling, and shoot for helpful. Ask your junior or senior what you can do to help, instead of just taking the reigns. Your help is needed, but it might not be where you expected. Maybe your daughter would rather you research grant and scholarship options than suggest to her which colleges she should consider. You are the support here, not the leader.

Image via Thinkstock

Add Comment Have you started talking about college with your kids?
About the author

Shayne Rodriguez Thompson is a full-time wife, full-time mom, and freelance journalist trying to balance it all and looking forward to exploring the world with her son and husband. In her rare spare moments, she's a pop culture junkie and kitchen devotee who makes a mean cupcake!

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Filed Under: advice, kids, teenager, teen, teen issues
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Add Comment Have you started talking about college with your kids?

Amiga...

Yes I have, he will be graduating in pretty soon from high school

MrsDi...
I already encourage him to go to college I hope he goes.
sophi...

My kids are small, but I have already mentioned college to my 7 year old. 

karla...

My son is 10 but we have talked about college.

angie007

Yes I have even though they are still small

acrog...

My kids both want to attend college. 

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