How to Prepare for College Applications and Entrance Exams

Raising a teenager can seem like a tough and daunting task, but with the right guidance and support, you and your teen can both have a positive and successful experience. As your teen enters into their late teens and gears up for college, it’s important to begin to prepare for their educational and career goals. Working together can be the key to setting up your teen for long-term success.

There are so many things to think about when trying to achieve success during this important time in your teen’s life. From researching programs, taking the SAT or ACT, writing college essays, and working through the application process, it’s essential to make sure your teen is adequately prepared in order to reach their goals. Whether it’s through tutoring, after school classes, or practice exams, your teen can begin to navigate their path towards college. As a parent, you can provide a lot of support to your teen during this time by ensuring they have the resources they need to succeed.

Setting Goals with Your Teen: An Essential Step for Academic and Career Success

As a parent, instilling the importance of setting goals in your teen is an invaluable lesson you can impart to them. Giving your teen a sense of purpose, focus, and direction can make all the difference as they traverse the college application journey. Providing guidance as they discover their interests, passions, and values can open up new doors, leading to lifelong opportunities.

Help Your Teen Find Their Path

Helping your teen clarity their goals will remove any confusion they may experience while navigating the college application process. To make sure they know they are supported, engage in an open dialogue and listen intently to their goals. Asking simple questions like ‘How do you see yourself fulfilling these goals?’, ‘What resources will you need to reach your goals?’, and ‘How long do you think it’ll take you to reach them?’ will shift the focus away from merely stating the goal, to exploring the actionable steps to achieve it.

Enlisting the Help of Others

Depending on their skill level or needs, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a tutor or mentor. Here, a seasoned professional can provide personalized guidance as your teen pursues their goals. Supporting them to stay on track, while offering personalized feedback to challenge them, is extremely beneficial to your teen’s academic and intellectual growth. With the right building blocks, your teen will be able to build a foundation for continuous success.

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Exploring Different Educational Paths

When it comes to the future of your child, it’s important to take their skills and interests into account and guide them in the direction that makes the most sense for their circumstances – after all, not everybody is meant for college! With a variety of career paths to consider, many teens might be unaware of the rewarding opportunities that exist outside of traditional college education. Here are some alternative paths to success:

Vocational Training

Vocational training allows teens to obtain hands-on skills in various industries, such as automotive repair, welding, carpentry and more. With the right skills, a teen can qualify for mid-level jobs that often pay well. Additionally, those who choose this path can often fast track their way to management positions after a few years on the job. Apprenticeships, while similar to vocational training, involves a more intensive education, giving teens a much more in-depth knowledge of their chosen field.


If your teen is considering a career in a specific field that requires a college education, internships can be the perfect way to get their foot in the door. They offer invaluable experience in the field, allowing them to make vital connections. Many teens find that employers are more willing to hire those who have completed an internship and some may even offer college scholarships as part of the program. Additionally, many internships offer pay and the option of college credits.

Ultimately, success looks different for everyone and parents should focus on helping their teen explore all their options. Consider the benefits of each path, and be sure to foster conversations around them so your child can decide which pathway will open the best opportunities for the future. Supporting your teen in any path they choose is an important part of the process!

  • Help your teen develop self-awareness and understand their individual strengths and weaknesses
  • Encourage your teen to explore their interests and the different career paths available to them
  • Seek out information about apprenticeships, internships, and vocational training to discover how they can introduce your teen to their desired career
  • Help your teen create plans or timelines that lead to their desired career
  • Celebrate their achievements and support them as they work towards their goals and success
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Guidance for College and Job Applications

Hire An Educational or Career Counselor

Landing the perfect college or job can be an overwhelming process. Fortunately, parents can support their teens by hiring an experienced educational or career counselor. An experienced counselor can help your child navigate the college and job application process, including providing helpful feedback on resume writing, interview skills, and more. Counselors also provide valuable insight on scholarship and grant opportunities, resources to explore budget-friendly college programs, and more.

Stay Organized and On Top of Deadlines

Time management is key when it comes to college and job applications. To help relieve the stress of the application process, parents can remind teens to stay organized and on top of deadlines. Encourage your child to create a schedule that outlines the due dates for applications, essays, transcripts, and more. Utilize a calendar or reminder system that works best for your child, whether it’s a digital one or an old-fashioned paper planner. Keeping track of deadlines also has the added bonus of improving the chances of receiving an acceptance letter or job offer.

As a parent of a teen I can honestly say that it’s not always easy to find the right strategies to support them, and I think it’s important that we recognize that! Yet although it can be hard, I do believe that it’s essential to support our teens in their academic and professional pursuits. By encouraging and guiding our teens to set goals, explore educational paths, and apply for college and jobs, we can give them the support that they need to find success and fulfillment.

At the end of the day, it’s our responsibility as parents to give our teens the best chance of success. I may not always know the right thing to do, but I’m sure that by providing guidance, understanding and love, I can help my teen reach their full potential. So go ahead, let’s get started — your teen is depending on you!