For many parents, their teens’ high school years represent a difficult balance to strike. During freshman year, students may still need significant support and guidance from their parents, but by senior year, most parents hope that their students will soon be capable of venturing out on their own. The transition to independence during a time of such high stakes can be delicate to maneuver for many well-meaning parents who want to encourage freedom while still providing a safety net.
Sophomore year in particular can sometimes prove trying for the relationships between parent and teen. While freshman year represented transition and likely a great deal of excitement about the start of high school, by sophomore year that newness has worn off and students can no longer take as much time to acclimate as grades and coursework gain momentum.
If you’re the parent of a rising tenth grader you probably already know that during class 10 your teen will begin to take the first major steps towards realizing his or her college dreams. In this post, we outline ten considerations for supporting your teen through this transformational year.
1. Begin Talking About Life After High School
For many teens, the years after high school seem like a distant and abstract time. The reality, though, is that the future will be here before either of you knows it, and there’s no better time to start discussing it than now. Be an open sounding board for your teen as he or she discusses possible career choices, college preferences, and other ambitions. Try to offer insight and perspective without being overbearing.
2. Explore Careers
Starting during class 10, your teen is able to gain actual experience in certain career fields. Start a conversation about your teen’s interests and consider different angles for applying them towards a future career. Have conversations about interests and ambitions. Try to inspire some more thought about the future. Ask them for their summer plans and how an internship could help them understand what they might be
3. Take Personality or Career Tests
While it is still a bit early to think seriously about a future career, it’s never too early to bounce ideas around. Taking personality and career tests can actually be a fun way for your teen to start to consider options and to frame his or her strengths and interests in a productive way. Encourage your teen to explore some of these tests. Many are available online, and taking them with friends can even be a fun, social activity.
4. Attend Career Days
Another casual and fun way to explore future career options is through career days at school. You can help your teen to make the most of these events by perusing the event flyers in advance to preview who is visiting and what presentations sound most appealing.
If your teen is interested, encourage him or her to make a list of the presenters he or she would like to see. Your student might even wish to compile a list of questions for these professionals in advance to truly maximize the experience.
5. Delve Into the College Search
If you know you are going to study aborad, class 10 is the year that the college search begins to get real. If your teen has not already, he or she should begin to keep a college list. This list will grow and change with time, but it should reflect schools that your teen might consider attending. As time goes on, it will narrow in focus and your teen’s true college ambitions will become clearer.
6. Education Boards
Its time to start thinking about the boards you will be chosing for class 11 and 12. While most colleges recognize governemnt boards such as ISC and CBSE, this is the best time to look into other options such as the IB program as well as taking test to get college credeit such as the AP. Check out our IB vs. AP blog post to learn more.
7. Get More Involved in Extracurriculars
While class 9 was a time to explore new options and branch out, class 10 is time to focus in. Encourage your teen to identify the activities for which he or she truly has a passion, and to invest more time in these while letting other, less productive activities go. Ideally, your teen should eventually focus in on two or three extracurriculars that represent broad interests, ideally incorporating some kind of service element.
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