One of the things I remember about my Grandma is “Grandma Do It.” As she got older she realized that if she put a task off, she would forget to do it. As a Catholic woman, she would make the sign of the cross and speak aloud, “Grandma do it now, not later today, or you will forget tomorrow,” or something like that. So she adopted the moniker Grandma Do it as a reminder. So what can you do today to prepare your child for an interest-inspired college education?
8-11 year olds
If your little one is in this age range, this is the time to watchSarah’s Graduation for the topics that light up her eyes. My 9 year old started summer camp this week. On the activity board, the schedule indicated there would be a science experiment later that morning amongst other activities. My daughter having read the schedule shared excitedly with me, “Mommy, there’s going to be a science experiment today.” When your child shares exciting news like this, this is your opportunity to make a note, mental or written, that this is an area she has a natural interest in.
12-14 year olds
This age range is where you child should start experiencing those areas of interest as a personal level. My oldest wants to try archery, rock climbing, scuba diving just to name a few. It’s time we investigate what activities available in our area. Some ideas look like fun on the website, but in reality aren’t exactly what she imagined them to be. So trying as many activities as possible and then crossing the not-so-good ones off the list are for this age group.
15-17 year olds
Hopefully your teen has experienced many activities over the years and now is ready to immerse in just a few areas. This is the time for her to connect with other people in the area who share the same interests. This is the time for volunteering, interning, starting a small business, and finding others who share the same hobby or interest. This is also the time to see how those interests translate into careers by interviewing professionals and researching occupations.
17-18 years olds
The goal now is to narrow the fields of interest to two or three and identify colleges that offer strong academic programs in those areas. Teens should try to combine interests to create niche focus areas. For example writing and technology can turn into Technical Writer. Or identify interests that can exist side by side, like Acting and Personal Training so she will have a skill set she can sell while she auditions for acting roles.
You may be surprised to learn that not all occupations require 4-year degrees. Your teen’s interest may only need a two-year degree, which will save you thousands of dollars in tuition.
Helping your child identify her interests doesn’t take much effort. Younger kids need you to remember such events. Older kids have forgotten the things that light up their eyes, so they need you to remind them.