As a parent, only you know the difficulties of motivating your teen to see the big picture. In this case, the picture is very big; it includes the importance of a college degree and the cost of financing that degree. For some families, education is the single biggest expenditure they will ever have. It can sometimes outweigh the cost of the average home, especially for families with more than one college-bound child. For low-income families, covering the cost of college can seem overwhelming and unattainable. This is information that can potentially motivate your teen to begin the all important scholarship search. Listed below are some suggestions:
Have a frank and honest discussion with your teen about the family finances and the cost of college. You may need to “shock” your child into the realities of adulthood. Perhaps putting pen to paper and showing your son or daughter just how much a four-year degree costs would work best.
Help with the scholarship search. It will lighten the burden for both you and your child. School, a social life, and the pressures of growing up may be more than your teen can tolerate at times, especially when you throw in the added responsibility of finding money to cover college expenses.
Stay in touch with the process. You can do the search and even send away for application packets, but your teen needs to complete the applications (including essays!). Help your teen to follow up and follow through. There are lots of details and deadlines to remember, so you need to work with your son or daughter to oversee and organize the effort.
Don’t worry that you are taking over and being bossy or preventing your child from growing up and taking responsibility. What you are is a caring parent who is savvy enough to know that working together to find scholarships just might be the best way to fund your child’s college education.