How Can Parents Help Their Teens Prepare for College in an Art or Design Program?

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How Can Parents Help Their Teens Prepare for College in an Art or Design Program

As a parent of a teen, you may be apprehensive about letting them make crucial life decisions on their own, especially helping them prepare for college. However, you can expect them to ask your advice on where and what to study. When the day comes, you will want to be prepared to say and do the right things to help your children reach their goals and fulfill their aspirations.

If your teen wants to enter a college arts program, there are a few extra considerations to take into account. With some research and a careful plan, you can help him or her prepare for college to an art program.

Below are some of the most important things that you have to consider to help your children realize their artistic dreams and to get the most out of your investment in their education.

Helping Your Teen Prepare for College is a Family Decision

Family Photo - Preparing for College in an Art or Design Program

The success your teens will have in college depends on the amount of support they will receive from the whole family (Image from Flickr).

When I was a teen about to embark on my education, I believed the decision was all mine (although I’m sure my parents wouldn’t have agreed entirely). Even as a college instructor I thought of it as the choice of the student. I observed students deeply committed to their work and rarely spoke to or even met their parents. But the more university VP’s of admissions I interview and the more parents I meet in my work as a college art portfolio coach, the more I realize that it is indeed a family decision.

Here’s why you need to be involved in the decision

Your resourcefulness is needed to research possible schools and to formulate and ask the questions a young person wouldn’t have the wherewithal or guts to ask. You can check on the credentials of the professors and the ranking of the school with less bias than can your teen. You may be more focused on job placement rates upon graduation than your child would be, and obviously the tuition and other costs will require your attention. Every school gives their total costs with varying degrees of detail—it can take some careful calculations to be sure you are comparing apples to apples!

The one recommendation that I often hear from VPs of admissions is that the family attend a comprehensive campus tour and organize meetings with some of the professors. They recommend that parents be a part of the campus visit so that they can see if they are comfortable with the social environment their child will enter. They recommend that you consider what types of values are modeled by the college, the professors and the student body. You and your child need to feel that they will fit in there; that when they bring their date home for the holidays you don’t regret that you sent them to that college!

Another major consideration is the geographic location of the school. How near or far do you want your child to be if you have to visit them? Do you feel your child needs the support of being able to go home on occasional weekends or would they do well to travel far from home to gain some independence and a broader perspective? Can your family afford the cost of travel to and from the university regularly enough? Are you willing to have your child study on the other side of the country, or of the globe for that matter, if the university in question would give them the best education?

Click on the next page to read about the things you must do to help your teen prepare for college in the field of art and design!

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