How to help your child plan their future
This article has been written by Violet Sattari, VCE Health, Human Development, Biology and VCE Psychology Tutor at Learnmate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Violet then please check out her page here.
If you’re reading this article, you are probably the parent of a child who is struggling to figure out what to do after finishing school. Perhaps they’re in the earlier years of high school and are still tossing up their options. Or maybe they have just finished year 12 and are feeling the urgency and pressure finally taking hold. Regardless of your child’s age and stage of school, there are steps you can take to guide them and provide useful resources to help make these tough decisions less daunting. Here are 4 ways that you, as a parent, can help your child discover their passion.
Speak to them about their options.
There is a broad range of options available to students after high school. Of course, a university is but one of those options. However, many young students simply are not aware that other institutions and paths exist. TAFE courses, apprenticeships, double degrees and online study are all options that are available for school leavers. Is your child showing a particular interest in a field that requires hands-on experience? If so, it may be worth considering TAFE or an apprenticeship in that area. Similarly, if your child has decided on a career requiring multiple degrees, try discussing double degrees or online courses that may benefit them.
Attend a careers counselling session with your child.
Careers counsellors can be great resources for students. However, they are more useful if you ask the right questions. Counsellors can provide you with factual information about the requirements, wages and qualifications associated with different careers. If your child is in the earlier years of school, having a parent at the meeting can help keep the questions productive and focused. Counsellors can also give you information about the ATAR or other scores needed for various university degrees. That being said, they cannot decide your interests for you or give you detailed information about every single career path. This brings us to our third point.
Speak to an expert in the field with your child.
Does your child dream of being a scientist? Do they insist on having a career in carpentry? It is worth speaking to an experienced expert in whatever field your child is interested in. This is especially useful for older children who have an idea about what they wish to pursue. Ensure you ask questions about what the day-to-day life in that career consists of, what misconceptions exist about the field and which skills are most important to be successful in that specific area.
Often, high school students plan their future based on what they think that field will entail, only to be disheartened later on due to the misinformation. Speaking to an expert will help them gain a more informed mindset.
Support your child in achieving the qualifications they require.
So, your child has decided where their interests lie. What next? To be eligible for most pathways, he or she will need a specific set of skills or specific scores. Some courses require a portfolio, cover letters, or previous work experience. Others, usually university degrees, require a specific ATAR score and/or certain prerequisite subjects in order to be eligible for a spot. You can support your child by researching the requirements for their field of interest and helping them achieve it. For students who need help academically, consider discussing their study habits, or getting professional assistance from a tutor. You can also discuss areas of improvement with their school teachers.
Finally, avoid “selecting” your child’s aspirations for them. Allow them to make their own decisions based on factual information for a happier and brighter future.
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