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How to Help Your Child Choose a College Degree

Choosing a college degree is one of the decisions that one should consider carefully. It affects how much income one will earn in the future and how satisfied or happy a person will be. As parents, we could help our children make their choices. We will not make the choice for them. We will just guide them.

How many times have you heard of someone who started taking a college degree and then jumped to two other courses and ended up not finishing anything? I bet you've heard someone tell this sort of experience. I heard it from my father.

Making a sound choice is a deliberate process. It is not good to just go drifting, trying one course and then another and another. So, how do you help your children choose a college degree that is best for them and one that they will finish with certainty?

The following steps can help your children identify the college degree they want to pursue and see if it's a good match to their sills and interests.

1. Identifying your child's skills. 

A good place to start is to make an inventory of your child's interests and talents. Ask or assess your child regarding his/her skills. What things or work is he/she good at? What accomplishments gave him/her the most satisfaction?

2. Discovering your child's passion. 

Your child's choice of college degree shouldn't just be based on its high salary range. It's also important to know what your child loves to do. For some children, it's quite obvious what they want to be even while they are young. But for others, it's not so clear cut. So, pay attention to your child's feelings about different occupations he/she is considering to have in the future.

3. Taking a career test. 

If your child is not sure about what future career he or she really likes, it may help to take a career test. High school students in the Philippines take the National Career Assessment Examination or NCAE to help assess their strengths in different career fields. This can be used to determine if a particular career fits a child's skills and interests.

4. Learning more about a career. 

If your child has one or more careers of interest, list them and look up information such as salary ranges and future hiring trends. Then, your child will know more about the career and see if he/she will really like it.

5. Checking the requirements to get a college degree. 

Knowing what it takes to pursue a career will help your child decide if he/she is willing and able to spend the time and effort necessary to go after the career. It will also help you see, as the parent, if you can afford to send your child to college. For example, your child wants to go to medical school, but you can't afford it, what would be your next option?

6. Setting priorities. 

Let your child pick 5 career choices, which he/she will further narrow down to his/her final choice. Then, help your son or daughter make a realistic plan to reach his/her dream.

A visual board is something that would help your child visualize his/her goals of what he/she wants to be on a certain time. Then, he/she could also write down his/her commitments to reaching that goal. Think of short and long-term milestones so that your child will have a sense of direction and track his/her progress.

Just remember to find a career that will keep your child engaged and satisfied. When the college degree your child pursues aligns with his/her values and abilities, he/she will be more likely to succeed and be happy.


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