When students are evaluating universities and colleges, it is usually a very stressful experience for parents as well. Ensuring that your child picks a program that best matches his/her interests and career plans is a difficult job. However, with a little patience and research parents can guide their children in the right direction and help them make a decision that will prove to be beneficial in the long run.
Helping your children discover their interests
While some students have very clear career aspirations, many tend to be quite confused. As a parent, one of the best things you can do is to discuss and evaluate all options available, listen to their future plans and help them find their ambition and interests. If your child is still not sure what course interests them, they could take an online Stamford Test. This online questionnaire matches courses and interests based on user responses.
Academic Vs Vocational course
One of the first decisions parents have to help their children with is deciding between a vocational or an academic university course. Certain courses are quite general, for example geography and English literature, and they usually lead to several different career options. Some other courses lead to a very specific job such as medicine and dentistry while others will equip a student for career options in a single area such as catering or media studies. Discuss the pros and cons of these options with your child before picking an academic or a vocational course.
Before picking a university program, check the course outline of each program and compare them. Almost all courses are made up of optional as well as compulsory modules. Ensure that the course covers a subject your child is really interested in. Parents and students can also contact the university to check if certain subjects are available optionally.
Career options available
It is important to select a university program that will prepare your child for their professional career in the future. Most universities have information available about the kind of roles their students secure once they graduate. You can also consult a career counselor or a professional in your chosen field to discuss your child’s career aspirations to get recommendations about programs that they think would be the most appropriate. If your child has not yet decided on a concrete career choice, it would be important to select a flexible program that allows them to learn transferable skills that can be used in a wide range of roles. It is also important for a program to include career services as well as internships or other opportunities to gain some work experience.
Method of teaching
Talk to the university to learn more about the method of teaching for the particular course, the support provided to students and the level of difficulty. You would want to select a program that will challenge your child but also provide the necessary support required to be academically successful. Based on your knowledge of your child’s learning abilities, you may want to select a course that offers opportunities for field trips, academic lectures, and practical work or smaller student groups. Parents also need to consider the course structure to learn more about the assessment method of the program and if it is suitable for their child.
Once you have narrowed down to a few university programs, you will also need to consider the program’s admission requirements to ensure your child will be accepted at the university. It is generally a good idea to have a few options to select from and apply to more than one program so you won’t be left disappointed. Ensure your child has enough time to prepare for the admission process. With complete support of parents, students have a far better chance of succeeding at university.