How To Help Your Teen Decide What To Study In College

While parents can become frustrated at their teenagers’ lack of future plans it is only natural that some young people struggle to make this huge decision.

Unless your teenager knows what they want to do when they finish school, they will find themselves awfully confused about what to study in college.

The main thing is being able to support them so they can figure it out and find their way to their dream career or at least have more ideas about it.

Here are some tips on helping your teenager when they are confused about what they want to study in college:

  1. Take away your personal preference.

    As parents, we often have dreams and aspirations for our children, but this doesn’t mean what you think your teenager should do will be the right career path for your teen. Taking away your own aspirations means you can fairly offer them some advice without trying to influence them into the path you would like them to take.

  2. Look at what your teenager is good at.

    Often teenagers can’t see their strengths, so it is good for them to hear from you what you think they are good at. Career guidance counsellors can offer these insights too with aptitude tests so if you can get the results of the aptitude test and look at the results as well as your thoughts you may see what your teenager is strong at. Your teenager may be creative at English or may have some skills in art or music. Figure it out and you might be just what your teenager would like to study in college.

  3. Follow their skills.

    If your teenager seems to have a few avenues that may interest them then make the effort to arrange for them to meet people who work in this area or at least attend some open days. Schools arrange a lot of these activities with open days and career days but don’t let that stop you in encouraging your teenager to go the extra mile and find things out themselves.

  4. Encourage learning.

    Some teenagers don’t know what they want to do as it hasn’t been on their radar but look at what they might like to do and encourage them to learn about it. Look on the internet and research the things about the job and if it is something that runs a ‘once-off’ class, as an introduction to it, encourage your teenager to go and learn about it. It may not suit your teenager but if it works out you could find your teenager's dream career by thinking outside the box.

  5. Be patient and figure it out together.

    Honestly, did you know what you wanted to do when you were young? Teenagers don’t need to have all the answers now, but they do need to be able to figure it out in time and with you to help. Be patient with your teenager and support them instead of lecturing them. Look at areas of interest, go to many open days and talk to people who work in areas that may suit your teenager. In time they will figure it out and right now the best thing you can do is be there for your teenager.

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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