College guidance: how to help your child get ready for university

College guidance: how to help your child get ready for university?

Very early, college guidance is an inevitable topic. High school students are asked to select their courses, or an academic career, and to have a pretty good idea about their future professional life. When the moment comes to plan the future and take decisions, teenagers ask themselves a lot of questions and parents worry about answers that are long to come. Consequently, we ask oursleves: how to help our children get ready for college?

It’s true that the dialog between generations is not always easy, especially when you look at the French education system which has evolved without really being transformed. Gaspard catches it in this video which criticizes some firmly anchored ideas.

When should the question of educational guidance be asked?

High school and college guidance should be considered as soon as 9th grade (3ème). It is the best moment to start a thinking which takes time. This period of heightened awareness is crucial to undertake the real substantive work: helping our child to find her/his path. Which sectors interest her/him? What are the required faculties to perform the job she/he will like to do? Is your child conscious about the educational journey she/he about to take?

On top of planning the future, your thinking must also focus on the universities that you will be able to afford in terms of tuition and living costs. Finance is an important constraint to take into account as all colleges may not be in your budget.

From 10 th grade (2 nde), the pace gets faster, especially when your child considers enrolling into an American university. First, the admission process obeys a specific calendar that runs over 3 years, as presented below. Second, grades and results are very often taken into account form 10th grade. Students must be ready to give their best from an early stage.

College admission master timeline

American college admission timeline

The admission process for American college is a long run and must be anticipated. Here are 2 articles to help you learn more about it:

Create a To-Do List for Your College Search

Master timeline: college admissions

From 9th grade (3ème), I encourage you to undertake important practical steps by getting information on:

  • The admission process of the different universities you are thinking about in the US, in France or everywhere else
  • American standardized tests like the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) and the ACT (American College Testing)
  • College tuition and financial help
  • Extra-curriculum activities which will build a part of each applicant’s personality. Your child is bilingual but could strengthen her/his French a little bit? Why not practicing her/her activities in French for a double success? Find all our awesome teachers, coaches and artists on this page of My Tutor Speaks French!

How to help your child to find her/his path?

Many questions hit teenagers about their future: which studies would fit them best? Which opportunities should they take? Which path should they follow? All these questions have to be answered in the difficult context of our changing world in terms of jobs and careers. Indeed, according to many studies, the coming generations will handle over 10 different jobs in their life. With this mind, how to help your child to build her/his future professional like?

I want my child to be happy… and get a job

For parents, it can be a tricky situation between helping and empowering a child. How to support your child when she/he is anxious about choosing a difficult and demanding career? How to react when your child decides to change her/his mind at the last minute? “The most important for us is that our child is happy”, often say the parents. “And we want him to get a good job », add they, conscious that the equation will not be easy to solve.

Listening and understanding are key elements when supporting your child in the college guidance process. It is fundamental to help your child to get to know her/himself as soon as possible, 9th and 10th grade, to avoid her/him to get loose in courses or in a career that will bring dissatisfaction because they don’t match her/his true and deep personality.

Don’t transpose your own dreams on your child

Each parent hopes for the best for his children. All studies show that parents are the first persons to guide their children when it comes to academic counseling. Be careful about social determinism and don’t transpose your personal dreams or fears to your children. Indeed, it not always easy for a child to ignore a certain pressure, or projections their parents have been putting on them for many years.

This is especially true because teenagers tend to take their own decisions by opposing their parents. Therefore, the slightest advises can sometimes be considered a true interference. Hence the necessity of bringing third parties in the game like teachers or college counselors. Talk with professionals and above all don’t wait until the last minute to about college guidance.

College guidance is a topic that needs be worked out!

Each middle or high schooler needs to have all keys to build her/his career project. He will work out his path by making decisions based on 3 types of choices: choice from the heart, choice by reason and also plan B choice, in case he is not accepted in a specific or selective career or college. Some really have limited spots.

Long before the end of high school, teenagers must know where they want to go and make decisions. It’s true, it is not always easy to project oneself into the future, especially when you are already focusing on many tests or exams, which takes a lot of your energy. Some teenagers say that they feel they are struggling to work on both present and future issues at the same time. College guidance is a real subject that must be worked out thoroughly.

A successful student is a well prepared high schooler

Choosing a college is indeed an “interactive” process which implies searches and meetings. It is necessary to enrich one’s knowledge, too often limited, to widen your professional horizons to unknows job areas. One must go over his comfort zone and discover opportunities throughout documents, videos, college fairs, etc.

Jobs and careers have to be tangible for teenagers, so they can have a good idea about them and, more importantly, understand the path that leads to them.  Jobs and careers must make sense. The discovery of what it takes to get into this career or this job is key. With this understanding, teenagers will be able to get involved and committed to build their own future.

Get some help for college and academic counseling

If parents’ role is essential in supporting college and career guidance, the use of professional counselors’ services offers the advantages of their experience, their absence of emotional implication, and their methodology to help your child find out her/his path.

Meet your College counselor

The role of College counselors is to individually help your child. They have an excellent knowledge of the admission process in American universities and, depending on the high school your child is in, they also know about Canadian, French, UK or other European universities as well.

During individual sessions, the College counselor will work with the student and her/his parents on each step of the admission process: files, campus visit, courses and test selection, as well as financial help and options.

Get the help of an independent expert

To get ready for our business world, why not ask the ones that have been working for it for a long time at a strategic position in Human Resources?

Passionate about personality analysis and skills evolution, Caroll puts her experience in career management at the service of those seeking themselves. She created Best Futur because she is convinced that « academic counseling must be supported to develop teenagers’ ability to choose and decide for themselves”.

I met Caroll though her publications and interventions in different groups and I immediately agreed with her methods. She mainly works on « Know yourself better to better choose your path”, because “understanding your own personality, knowing your main centers of interest and your primary motivations, are the only keys to successfully open the doors of your future.”

It’s true that getting good grades and tests results will get you to prestigious careers but is it the only promise of success, and more importantly, fulfillment and happiness?

Her method relies on self-knowledge and the understanding of our environment. Meeting working people and students is necessary to realize what will be tomorrow’s actual world for a teenager.

Caroll has helped and continues helping many French-speaking students and families living in the US or elsewhere in the world to find their path and a career that will match their personality.

To help us, as parents, to support our children, Caroll has written a book “J’oriente mon enfant”. In this publication, to be released at the beginning of 2018, she will give us reading keys, bring her experience and answers, and she will explain why it is more important to teach our children “how” to think rather than “what” to think. We will come back to you very soon with more info on this topic.

Do you have more question, or would you like to know more?

Do not hesitate to contact Caroll at and leave us your question and comments below!


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