Parent’s Guide to Navigating the College Journey: Supporting Your Child’s Path to Success


Attending college can open so many doors for a student. It’s a journey that is bound to have many twists and turns, but one that will ultimately allow a young adult to develop into a mature and competent leader. So how do you, as a parent, support and encourage your child throughout their college journey? Here are a few tips to keep in mind throughout this process.

Help Them Find Good Extracurricular Activities

Attending and participating in class is an important part of college, but it’s only part of the experience. The most well-rounded college students generally seek out extracurricular programs and activities that teach them soft skills that are harder to learn in a classroom setting. For example, a student can learn valuable leadership skills by volunteering in the community. They can also gain public speaking skills by participating in student leadership.

Encourage your child to think beyond the classroom. Talk to them about their interests, and help them look for local groups that engage with those interests. Periodically, check in with them about the skills they’re learning through their extracurricular experiences. You may even want to tell them some stories about similar learning opportunities you had in college.

Encourage Them to Apply for Scholarships

College can be expensive. That’s no secret! Of course it’s nice if you can afford to help your child with their college expenses, but everyone’s financial position is different. Regardless of your own finances, you can help your student with the financial aspects of college by encouraging them to apply for scholarships.

Many student advisement offices keep lists of scholarships students can apply for. Your student can also gain access to additional scholarships by joining an honor society such as NSCS. Not only does NSCS help students find outside scholarships, but we also offer many exclusive scholarships just for members. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, and in most cases, they are open to students in any major or degree program. Encourage your child to join an honor society and apply for any scholarships for which they are eligible.

Talk About Mentorship

Another key to success in college is finding a good mentor. Encourage your child to attend their professors’ office hours, talk to alumni who work at local companies, and attend networking events. Many students eventually meet someone who becomes their mentor by participating in these experiences. Students can also find a mentor through an honors society like NSCS.

A mentor is someone who can answer your child’s career specific questions and give them personalized guidance along the way. They can help a student prepare for interviews, recommend classes for them to take, and even help them connect with other professionals in their chosen field. If you had a good mentor during your college years or early career years, tell your child more about that experience. Personal stories of this sort often help students understand the value of good mentorship.

Every college student has to forge their own path towards success. Your child’s path may look a lot like your own, or it may not. In either case, you can support them along their journey by encouraging them to branch out, find a good mentor, and apply for scholarships. NSCS is here to help, too. We support our members as they pursue excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service.

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