Planning for the future is not a simple task.  Many times it’s not at the forefront of a students’ mind.  And that’s not surprising. Students have a lot on their mind, especially if they’re struggling with anything whether it be academic or personal.  As parents, and adults, we learn how to plan and look into the future without getting overwhelmed. But for your student, it could very well be a daunting task.  Even if your student is looking forward to what the future holds, give them some guidance and get excited with them! This is a great time to connect with your student and really be a part of who they decide they want to be after high school.

Here are a few tips to help your student out with future planning.

Talk to Your Child’s School Counselor

The student support system that is put in place at your child’s school serves a very important purpose for them and for you.  Schedule a time to talk with the school counselor to get to know your student on a more academic level. Communicating with the student support staff gives you a different perspective on your child and on their goals.  

Know the Right Questions to Ask

This applies both to your student and with the adults whom with they spend their time, like their counselor or teacher.  Younger adults are more sensitive when it comes to answering personal questions, so keep that in mind when you are trying to help your student plan out their after-high-school goals.  Keep these questions open-ended to allow them to really express themselves.

Ask Your Student

    • What kinds of activities do you enjoy?
    • What hobbies would you like to explore further?
    • What do you think about college?
    • Are there any professions that you’re curious about?

Ask the School Counselor/Teacher

  • What subjects does my student seem most interested in?
  • Why do you think that is?
  • Has my student comes to you with any curiosities about continuing education?
  • What would you suggest to me about having a conversation with my student about future planning?
  • What do you think my student’s strong suits are both academically and personally?

Encourage Your Child to Get Curious

Let them know that there really is no wrong way to explore what the future has to offer. Encourage them to reach for the stars and really dive into anything they’re curious about.  The magic of Google cannot be overstated for easy access to information, but getting out there and physically seeing what the world has to offer is extremely powerful. Encourage them to do a little research into potential colleges, or towns they’re curious about and then – if it’s plausible- take them on an adventure to experience that physical place.   Give them the room to explore and encourage their curiosities.

Explore Options Together

This is a time of a lot of potential change, and that can be unsettling for multiple family members.  Use this time as a time to bond and get to know your student by exploring their interests together. Allow them to lead the way and stay open-minded about their interests.  If they’re curious about a career as a firefighter, see if you can take a visit together to the local firehouse to see what a day in the life really looks like.

Whatever your student is leaning towards for their future, help them determine their path and ease their anxieties by simply being there on their journey.