Helping Elementary Students Discover Their College Goals

students taking exam

Kids love being asked what they want to be when they grow up. It makes them feel empowered and capable. They love imagining themselves as competent and respected adults. To them, adulthood means the realization of their dreams.

Hence, kids need to develop goals and ambitions as early as possible. Asking elementary students what course they’d like to take in college isn’t rushing them. Rather, it’s simply giving them and their parents an idea of the potential career path they’d take. And for many parents, that’s highly crucial because it allows them to plan their child’s future in higher education. It lets them budget for their college tuition and other study-related needs.

But in today’s information age, kids can easily get distracted from school. Technology and the internet are available everywhere, luring children to play more instead of prioritizing their schoolwork. That kind of distraction is even more common these days because of the pandemic. Children are taking an online elementary education degree rather than the traditional on-campus classes. But to online classes’ credit, they’ve been effective in challenging students in a good way. Learning online can intensify a student’s determination to get high grades because they’re eager to overcome the limitations of studying remotely.

So if your elementary schooler has been showing an amazing performance in an online school, now’s the perfect opportunity to help them figure out their college goals. Since you’re with them 24/7 now, you can observe them more and realize their strengths and weaknesses, academic-wise. So without further ado, here’s how to help your elementary schooler decide on a college degree:

1. Get to Know Your Child’s Passion

Finding out a child’s passion can be tricky. They tend to be interested in anything and everything. They can jump from one topic to another with gusto, so it’s hard to determine which among their interests is their passion.

But a wide range of interests is better than an interest in nothing. To figure out your child’s possible passion, observe the patterns with how they talk about their interests. For example, if they talk about art more than anything else, chances are they have the makings of an artist.

2. Allow Their Passion to Develop or Change

A child’s passion today may change in a few months or years, so don’t immediately sign them up for a program about their current passion. Instead, let them indulge in it at their own pace. If your artistic child continues to draw, paint, or play with music after a time, take that as a sign that their passion needs to be developed. But if they begin to show interest in another endeavor, let them explore. Basically, support your child through and through. Don’t rush them. Let them know that you value them as people, not as artists, musicians, or other professionals.

college student

3. Start a Passion Project

Passion projects tend to be limited in school because some teachers are wary of giving their students too much freedom. As such, your elementary schooler may feel limited at school. Rid them of that feeling by starting a passion project at home. A passion project is an activity that mainly benefits yourself, or in this case, your child. It isn’t like a typical school project that measures a student’s skills or competence for the benefit of their teachers.

Let your child be in charge of their own passion project. But be there to guide them throughout. You can also give them ideas of a good project to start. If they’re a budding artist, maybe you can make them create different artworks and post them publicly on social media. You can create a campaign for young artists seeking exposure.

The point of a passion project is to let your child exercise their skills freely, so don’t pressure them to perform well. Instead, let them enjoy and treat the activity as a hobby rather than a graded task.

4. Talk About Career Paths and Opportunities

When your child is old enough to understand occupations, discuss career paths with them. For example, if they want to be a doctor, let them know that college is just the beginning of a very long journey ahead of them. Finishing their four-year course won’t give them a license yet. They have to finish another four years of study, then undergo internships and residencies, take the board exam, and finally be a doctor. That career path can take a decade to travel through. It may not be an exciting topic to talk about, but children should realize early on what they’d be signing up for when deciding on a particular college degree.

While discussing all of these with your child, remember to keep a positive attitude. Don’t discourage them because their passion is too expensive to pursue or they won’t make enough money. Money isn’t the only indicator of success. In most cases, it’s doing what you love, as cliche as that sounds.

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