College might be what is expected for most children but what happens when they don’t make it to college, for one reason or another? Whether your teenager hasn’t got the grades or has chosen not to apply to higher education, you may be feeling stuck as to how you can help them achieve their next steps.

As children get older and reach adulthood, parenting becomes harder and harder; there is no doubt about that. Adult life is not easy to navigate, and as a parent helping your child to navigate it isn’t easy either.

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When your kids begin to grow up and make choices for their future, it can be hard to know how to help them. The important thing is, no matter what, to support them and their choices. You need to help them navigate their way through the tricky stuff, to ensure that they come out the other side happy and healthy.

Bearing that in mind, below are some tips for helping you to give your kids the support that they need to find an alternative path to heading off to college.

Give them time to breathe

Whether that have just received their exam results and don’t have the grades to get into college or they have decided that university just isn’t for them, it is important to give them time to breathe. Don’t try to rush them to make a decision, because that is how they may end up choosing a path that they are not happy with. Give your teenager the space that they need to think things through and come up with a plan for their future that they are happy with. Don’t rush them, give them all the time that they need. If they want to talk things through, offer them a supportive ear but whatever you do, don’t pester them to talk to you. When they are ready, they will talk about what they want from the future. Remember, there is no rush.

Encourage them to see the world

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If your teenager expresses an interest in seeing the world, make sure to encourage this interest. You may want to keep them close to home but it’s important to help them to find their way, and a big part of that is supporting their hopes and dreams. Traveling the world is something that a lot of young adults choose to do, and in most cases, it tends to be a fantastic choice as it teaches them a lot more about the world and making the most of their time on earth. Often, after visiting some of the world’s less fortunate countries, young adults realize just how lucky they are, and because of this, are more motivated when it comes to their own lives and what they choose to do with them. You never know, while they are traveling, your teenager may find out what they want to do with their life. Perhaps they will help out in a school teaching English as a foreign language and decide that they want to be a teacher. Maybe they will work in a kitchen and it will make them realize they love food and want to be a chef. Seeing the world changes people’s perceptions, it changes how they feel about their lives, and can have a profound impact on what they do with their time in the world.

Ask them to consider other ways to learn

Were they desperate to get into college but their grades let them down? If the answer is yes, then it is important to ensure that you help them to find a way to realize their dreams without attending college. This could mean getting them to retake their final year of school and improve their grades, or it could mean looking at community colleges close to home. There is also another option; you could encourage your child to look into learning remotely – a lot of colleges now offer remote learning courses, and the grades for these tend to be less strict, meaning that even with their low grades, they may be able to get a place. Say, for instance, your teen was desperate to study psychology at university but didn’t get the grades to get in, perhaps you could talk to them about the possibility of taking an online psychology degree instead. Learning from home may not be what they hoped college would be like, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be an option that is worth considering. The fact is that sometimes, to get to where we want to go, we have to take a different route to the one that we expected to take, and there is nothing wrong with that. Life throws a lot of curveballs at us, and it’s important that your child realizes that.

Suggest that they get a job

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Whether or not your child may want to pursue a college career, later on, you could still suggest that they get a job for the time being. The last thing that you want is them to be stuck in the house all day, so it’s important to find a way to get them out and about. A job, whether it is waiting tables or working in an office environment, would give them the chance to boost their resume and earn some money to put away for their future, whatever that may be. If your child already has a job, perhaps suggest that they go full time at it, could be a good idea. If not, you can help them to get a job by showing them how to hunt for adverts online, pick the best ones, and tailor their resume and cover letter to each role. Getting a full-time job could help your child to learn how to stand on their own two feet, as well as giving them the means to start saving for the future, whether that is traveling the world or heading off to college, it doesn’t matter just as long as they are prepared.

There you have it, your guide to helping your children to find an alternative path to heading off to college. It may not be easy if they wanted to go to college and didn’t get in, or have no idea what they want to do with their life. However, by taking note of the tips and advice above, you can help your child to get onto the right path, ensuring that they have a bright future, whatever they choose to do.

Aggie Aviso