The end of high school and decisions about college and the future understandably cause a lot of stress and uncertainty in the life of teens. There are ways you can help, though, whether you’re a
parent, a teacher or a coach. Here are four ways you can help your high school students choose a college major.
1. Assess Their Academic Abilities
It’s important to be encouraging, but being unrealistic won’t help your students choose the major that’s right for them. If one of your students really wants to be a doctor, but is absolutely terrible
at science, that might not be the best educational goal for him. Be careful not to force your opinion or be too discouraging, however. They can work hard to improve problems impeding their career and educational goals.
2. Assess Their Passions and Interests
The first thing to do is take into account your student’s interests. These can be things you’ve observed and what they’ve told you. If there’s a discrepancy between what you see and what they
say, point it out to see if they’re missing something important. If their interests lie in helping the public good, public administration might be a good educational choice (read more here). If they
love sports and are great team players, encourage them to become an athlete.
3. Don’t Just Encourage Them to Go into Your Field
You may love history, but the student asking you for advice might not, even if they’ve displayed great competence in the subject. Even if you have great connections and can see them as a very
successful professor, they might be most interested in the sciences. If asked for a letter of recommendation, provide one to the best of your ability, focusing on traits they display that would make them great at what they want to do.
4. Become Their Mentor
If your students are interested in what you do or teach, become their mentor. Many students cite favorite teachers who took them under wing as a reason for success or their ultimate career choice. Mentors must be supportive, open and always willing to listen. You should also work with them to help them improve both positive and negative aspects of themselves.
Ultimately, being supportive and taking into account interests and abilities are the best things to do when helping your high school students choose a college major. Do your part well, and you’ll always be remembered as a positive influence in the lives of your students.