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6 Advices on Helping Your Child Pick the Right Program

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.

Course content

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.

Admission requirements

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.

Work Study Balance - Getting it Right

Even student loans and scholarships are sometimes not enough to cover all your college expenses. For this reason, many college students have full or part-time jobs. This is a reality of modern life, and those who are able to manage working and studying at the same time, find the experience rewarding. If work begins to get in the way, it is best to seek another job or reschedule your school workload.

If you are a new college student who is unemployed, you can start looking for a job when you get your course schedule. There are actually many job opportunities for college students, and some of them can be found right on campus. Many colleges provide their students with employment to help make ends meet.  These jobs include library monitor, campus administration, tour guide, or working in the campus bookstore. Other good part-time job options for university students are:

  • Teaching assistant: Some college seniors and postgraduate students sometimes assist in teaching college freshmen. The job may also include helping out during exams and grading papers. Talk to a professor to find out if there are openings available.
  • IT technician: The campus office or nearby businesses sometimes need people with technical skills to help in maintaining their computer infrastructure. Keep an eye on the notice board and check the classified ads to see if companies are looking for workers with the kind of skills you have.
  • Production assistant: Many local playhouses or theater companies are always looking for people to help in staging their events. The college’s drama group might have positions available as well.
  • Fast food worker or wait staff: Some college students work part time in the restaurant industry. Those lucky enough to get jobs in high-end restaurants can make a lot of money in tips.

Many college students who want to work will have to do a lot of searching before they find a job. Most of them do not need to earn a lot of money. The important thing is that the income helps them to cover additional expenses like rent or food.

Managing Work and School

No matter how small the job is, it will not be easy for any student to do it while giving enough time to their studies. The following tips are helpful in learning to balance both school and work, whether they are working full-time or part-time.

  • Set clear goals: When you have a sense of what you want to achieve this will help to keep you focus. Goals help to motivate you and keep you aware of what needs to be done and when. Do not hesitate to treat yourself as a reward for accomplishing each goal.
  • Develop time management skills: This is important if you expect to do your job and fulfil you school obligations. Create a timetable, and make sure that your job does not clash with your classes. Assign some time for studying for tests and completing assignments.
  • Get enough rest: You will not be able to do well at work or in class if you are not sleeping enough and getting adequate rest. As a working student, you may have to skip some of the partying and other types of entertainment.
  • Ask for advice: Your faculty advisor, professor and even other students can offer a lot of guidance to help you maintain a balance between work and school. Do not hesitate to talk to someone if you are having problems, especially if you cannot meet your deadlines.
  • Talk to your employer: Make sure that your employer knows that you are attending college. Some business owners will do their best to help their workers who are studying by offering employees more flexible working hours. They might even provide time off to study for exams.
  • Join a study group: This is a good way to catch up on those topics you missed because you were late for class or were unable to attend classes.  Study groups also help you better understand topics you may have difficulty understanding.

College students who exercise are better focused and less stressed, so this is especially important if you are working and studying at the same time. So it is also a good idea to join the gym to help keep you stress level down. As a college student who is working, you will need to learn how to say no to family and friends sometimes. Remember that your goal is to complete your studies successfully. You should not let personal tasks and activities get in the way unless an emergency is involved.