Guide Your Teen to College Success: Parental Support Tips

By Inland Empire Success | June 18, 2024

IE Success was created to help Inland Empire students reach their college goals. Our experience tells us parents play a large part in that journey. But how can you help? Families often feel confused about what role to take, and IE Success is here to assist. By starting early, building a strong academic foundation, and exploring available resources, you can guide your teen to college success. 

Start Talking About College Now 

Talk with your teens about college early on so they have time to explore their options. Dinnertime chats about the future can be a great place to start, or consider watching a movie about college life with your teen. Ask questions like, “What are you interested in learning more about in college?” or “Have you thought about what kind of college you’d like to attend?” 

These conversations can help your teen feel comfortable sharing their dreams and goals. If they don’t see college as the right path, encourage them to imagine it. Remind them of the lifelong benefits of a college education. Let them know you believe they have what it takes to succeed. This early dialogue sets a positive tone. Your teen will feel supported and understood. 

Remember Those Grades 

Good grades in high school matter. Encourage your teens to develop strong study habits, like setting up a dedicated study space and managing their time and assignments with a day planner. 

When they feel overwhelmed or burned out, remind them to take breaks and spend time with friends. When they want to give up, remind them of their college goals and the future life they want. If your teen needs extra guidance with their classwork, encourage them to seek assistance from friends, teachers, and school tutors. 

Part of building a strong academic foundation is discovering which subjects your teens enjoy. Encourage them to take challenging courses and pursue subjects they are passionate about and participate in extracurricular activities that line up with their passions. They will develop specific interests, which look terrific on a college application. 

Explore Your Teen’s Options 

Each college offers different strengths, and knowing those strengths will help your teens decide which school is best for them. Research options, and remember, two-year colleges are just as viable as four-year universities. When possible, attend college fairs with your teen, or participate in virtual tours to determine the environment and culture of different campuses. 

Discuss important factors with your teens: location, campus size, available academic programs, etc. Each of these elements can impact your teen’s college experience and success. By thoroughly researching and visiting potential schools, your teen can make an informed decision that lines up with their goals and interests. 

Financial Aid: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask 

It’s no secret college can be expensive, and most families have concerns about the cost. Thankfully, many financial aid options are available, including scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Research these opportunities with your teens. The more you know about financial aid, the better you can plan for college expenses. Check out our Financial Resource page for more information. 

The College Application Process

Transitioning to college involves your teen gaining independence. This often begins with the application process. Stay involved and offer guidance, but remember, these applications are about their future. Let them take ownership while still proofreading essays and reminding them of important deadlines. This balance will prepare them for the independence and responsibility of college life. 

Offer Encouragement Along the Way 

Celebrate your teen’s achievements throughout their college journey, both large and small. Your praise reminds them they’ve made the right decision by attending college. Likewise, offer support when challenges arise. Low test scores or college rejections can lead to doubt, but remind them everyone faces setbacks. With your encouragement, they will stay motivated and resilient. 

Explore the IE Success Website and Stay Involved

Parental support is vital for college success. With your inspiration and guidance, your teen can achieve their college dreams. Continue to believe in their potential, and stay involved every step of the way. Also, explore the rest of our website for videos, articles, and events created to support you and your teen on this life-changing journey.