Is your child thinking about college or additional job training? For many young people, attending college is the right choice. For others, other types of education or training programs may be the right path. There is a lot for families to consider when a child is thinking about additional education and training, including where to go, how to apply, what to study, and how to pay for it all. Fathers can help children prepare for life after high school and stay connected with their children while they are away at school by being supportive and understanding as their child navigates their new life away from home and balances school and life responsibilities. Here are some tools and tips to help you and your child prepare for college or career training.
Tips & Best Practices
- See if your child qualifies for any student aid. The U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid provides more than $120 billion in financial aid to help families pay for college each year. The first step is usually completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for financial aid for college or graduate school. This checks a student’s eligibility for many other forms of student aid.
- Help your child make a smooth transition to living away from home. Many decisions need to be considered when attending college or other training programs away from home, from living arrangements, to finances, to daily life away from home. Planning is key to avoiding stress (and emotional outbursts) in your household. If you each do your part, the transition to the next chapter in your lives will go smoothly.
- Talk to your child about staying safe while away at school. Nearly 20 million students head off to college each fall and are not aware of the risks and dangers they could face if they are not prepared. It is important to help your child, especially an incoming freshmen, know how to stay safe while away attending college.
Having a college degree is a key factor in long-term economic stability. Research consistently shows that individuals with a college degree have higher earnings than those without. Yet many low-income people neither enroll nor complete their education. How can we help them achieve college success?
How can I stay in touch with my child once they leave for college?
For some parents, having their child go away to college can be a traumatic experience. It is normal for parents to feel a sense of loss, and feel some level of sadness as their child transitions into adulthood. Before your teen heads off to college, it is important that you decide together how often you will communicate and with what method. Use various methods such as texts, facetime, visits, or old-fashioned letters. Take advantage of Parents weekends and send care packages with special gifts from home.
What types of financial aid are available?
Financial aid can come from federal, state, school, and private sources to help you pay for college or career school. Financial aid can be in the form of grants, loans, work-study, or other resources. Academic scholarships are also available for children who may excel in an academic area.
How do I help my child if I did not attend college?
Even if you did not attend college yourself, you can still support and encourage they work to make their college dreams a reality. Many colleges now offer various programs and materials to help parents understand college expectations and how they can support their child in navigating college life. Some colleges are trying to bridge the divides between their programs for parents and those for students. Most importantly, simply encouraging your child and providing lots of praise can go a long way in helping your child be successful.