- Personal Finance
Sending A Child to College
Sending a child to a College or University can be exciting and sad at the same time. Many different emotions will come through and you could even put pressure on your child as a result. I want to let you know some things i went through when going to college that either helped me or discouraged me.
First, I will start with the good things that happened to me that made my college experience a good one and felt like I was accomplishing things. For my first year I was away from my family they gave me the space that I was always looking for. They were not calling me everyday wanting to hear from me, instead they put the ball in my court and let me experience things on my own and waited for my call to hear from me. Now, I understand that you may be wanting to call your child everyday to see what is going on and how things are going, but trust me on this one, they will call. I was a kid that was very active outside of my household, but when I was at home I would just hang out in my room and not interact that much with my parents, but still when I went away I called home often. So believe me when I say to give them space and let them experience things without you bugging them :) They will call.
Another thing that is good is too be there for them financially. What I mean by this is let them make mistakes since some will financially, but help them out once you think they learned. I know this can be hard, but your child needs to learn money management. The first couple years of school I was great with managing money, but then a girlfriend comes along and you all understand what happens! I started to get into a little debt that I could not recover from. I was never one to use my credit card, but I lost a job and times got really tough so I had to use it and I was unable to make substantial payments for it. I was able to cover the minimum, but you all know that doesn't cut it. I finally got the courage up to ask my family for help. Now i know this is a mistake that you need to learn from, but for this you need to help them with it like my family did. Ruining your credit is the worst thing that can happen so if there is a way to pay their debt off, but not let them off the hook. Set them up a payment plan to make sure they pay you back. This way they will not ruin their credit and be sunk for life and they will learn not to abuse credit.
Finally, the last positive thing I want to share would be to always stay positive no matter what. For me, my first couple of year of college were rough. You party some and then hang out with friends so I never did the best, but I was still passing. My family was understanding of that and yea they did mention I need to work on it and I did, but they did it in a positive way so that I wouldn't get discourage, which is a downfall I'll talk about in a few. Always being positive and accepting things that your child does will be a good thing for you and your child when going to college or university.
Now, I will mention some things that happened to me while in college that wasn't the best and things that could be avoided. First, if your child has an older sibling that has went to college, do not compare them to each other. This is probably the biggest thing that bugged me that my family did. I have an older sister that was in post secondary in high school and graduated in 4 and a half years with a fashion degree. Now I am going to finish in 5 years with a marketing major and my family was always getting on me about not graduating on time. Now for me I never had post secondary so I was as far ahead as my sister was so of course it would take me a semester longer to graduate, but they never understood that or they just ignore it. So at times when they would get on me about it, it would really discourage me and I would struggle in classes because that's all I could think about.
Going along with comparing children, another thing to avoid doing would be to pressure them about graduation. If you haven't been to college within the last 5 years it is very different. From when I first came to college i needed around 110 credits to graduate. Now, as i'm just about to finish college I looked through and I saw I need 137 credits to graduate. So they added 27 more credits to the program with usually people take 15 to 18 credits a semester so of course it will take longer. That was another thing my parents would not understand. It's not that I was goofing off, I was getting my work done it was just they kept adding more credit hours that needed to be completed.
Finally, I want to let you know that graduating college in 4 years now a days is pretty tough. I am in college right now and i rarely see people do it. They really do keep adding credit hours and its getting more expensive so people have to work full time just to pay for it. So do not be discouraged or even harass your child if they do not finish in 4 years. It is pretty tough to do so. I have one friend that's a 3.5 GPA student that graduated in 4 years. He took 2 years of post secondary in high school and he took two semesters of 21 credit hours and the rest were 18 and he finished in 4 years. He was a very good friend of mine and I saw all the stress he was under because of all the classes he had to take and all the work that piled up. So just be understanding and just keep encouraging your child as they progress through school. Trust me they will get through it. Some may take longer than others, but if they have to drive to go to school they will be able to make it.