Most parents (and grandparents) understand that someday soon college will be at their doorstep for their children. The post-high school education decision will be at our very own door. This knock on this door demands being opened. We will then begin to truly sense as parents whether we were well prepared or simply have been going along, hoping for the best. How we have fulfilled our unique role – namely being parents as teachers for our children- will then become clearly visible. Our children’s future education is suddenly here.
As our child walks through that door after high school graduation, we will watch, try to let go, and still be supportive in ways we can.
Of utmost importance is this consideration: Will our child be attending the most appropriate school? Just to be clear, when I refer to college, I am referring to the time immediately after high school. In this sense, “college” could mean the traditional four year brick and mortar structure such as UW Madison, Yale or Edgewood College. College could imply a two year community college such as Madison College (MATC) or U Rock College in Janesville. An apprenticeship program can be a great option for the more hands-on type student; currently there is a relative high demand for employees with trade skills.
I have nephews who have attended West Point; joining the military or the Peace Corp are viable options for some. Truth be told, one doesn’t need to go to college to be happy. The most appropriate school is that place which brings out the best in our children and is reasonably affordable.
Despite that only about half of the students who start college finish with a degree, I still think that most of these students didn’t attend the most appropriate institution of higher learning.
I often drive by a local high school here in Madison; every year the school’s outdoor sign reminds both their students: “Make good choices”. I often think that this applies to the parents of these school students as well. Make good and timely choices! Getting ready for college is not something we should leave to others.
The pre-college choices that you make need to be not just good, but smart. The decision you make or neglect today will have a huge impact on your child’s future.
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