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Start the Initial Conversation
In any situation it can be hard to know what your high school student is thinking about college until you ask them. This is the time for a pep talk for high school students to go to college. Be sure to sit down casually over a meal or in a place with few distractions and find out what they really think about college. If you know them well, they shouldn't mind you asking them about their plans for college. Try simple conversation starters such as "What are your plans after high school?" or "Have you thought about college lately?" If their answers seem like they are unsure, or don't want to go at all, then you have some work to do. In either of these cases, be sure to ask why. Their reasons may be completely different than what you have in mind. Only when you know what their plans are and why, can you help to inspire them to go to college.
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Absolving the Roadblocks
Once you have found out why your high school student does not want to go to college, you can help to take away the roadblocks in their path, so they have better chances of going. Here are a few common concerns of high school students, and suggestions to help them.
Money- Money can be a big issue for students as they start to think about college. However, there are many options out there for them, such as student loans, scholarships, grants, and student jobs. Many students manage to get out of college debt free with a combination of these things, even without parental support. It is also worthy to note that Community Colleges are a great place to start with reduced tuition costs.
Grades- Many students struggle with grades for a variety of reasons. The important thing is to get them on track. If they are still in High School, they can work on getting the remainder of their grades up with tutoring, study hall, and extra help from their teachers and peers. The important thing is to encourage them and believe in them. This is another area where community college is a great place to start, as their GPA requirements are often lower.
Can't Decide on a Career- Often people still don't know what they want to do even when they graduate college. That is still acceptable. If this is something they are worried about, most colleges offer undecided majors, and have counselors that encourage them to take a variety of classes until they find ones they take interest in.
Burn Out- Students often get burnt out after high school. Some helpful suggestions for this are to take fewer credits, so they can have more time for themselves, or take fun and creative classes their first semester. Try to steer them from taking a year off if possible, as students often do not return, and if they do, they often do not end up graduating.
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In every situation it is a good idea to have a pep talk for high school students to go to college. Try to get them in touch with someone who is currently in college, or graduated from one. They might be able to serve as a good role model to them, and be able to tell them about their great experiences. It is also a good idea to keep in touch with your high school student to see if their feelings have changed, or how you can help them if they need it. The most important thing in inspiring a high school student to go to college is to be as encouraging and supportive as you can.