Too many High School parents think that their only role is to push their children to get good grades, so they will be accepted by a better college. However, in reality, parents of the most successful college students usually play a much broader role.

Yes, grades are important. However, many students with good grades are unprepared for the college experience. Therefore, parents who are interested in college success for their children must be aware of the other roles they should play.

The fact that many children may not understand their parents
and many parents do not understand their children
does not mean that it isn’t important for them all to try.

-- Bob Roth

Parents can assist in the following ways:

1. Help Your Children Experience The World - Give your children opportunities to visit
other cities, farms, museums (art, science, history), historic sites, national parks, oceans,
beaches, deserts, mountains, caves, lakes and rivers, a forest, a zoo, a mine, the
theater, concerts, ballet, athletic events, your workplace, a manufacturing plant, impressive
buildings, government offices, national monuments, a college campus, libraries, lectures
on a variety of topics, a train, a bus, a plane, a ship, other countries or places with other
races, religions, cultures, languages and foods, areas with poverty and anything else you
can think of that will broaden their perspective.

2. Teach And Demonstrate Desirable Behaviors - Help your children learn about right and
wrong, fairness, honesty, respect, public behavior, etiquette, politeness, table manners,
teamwork and cooperation. Since children learn by example, parental behavior is critical.

3. Help Children Develop Strong Communication Skills - Provide your children with many
opportunities to build their reading, writing, speaking and presentation skills. In college,
any student with poor spelling, grammar, punctuation and a limited vocabulary will be at a
serious disadvantage. Additionally, when young people mispronounce words and
substitute slang, they will not impress professors and employers. Effective communi-
cation skills must be developed and practiced from the very beginning of childhood.

4. Teach Children To Accept Responsibility - Students who do not accept responsibility
for their words, actions, behavior and performance are not ready for college. It is the
parent’s role to teach their children to become responsible citizens who are willing to be
held accountable for their attitude, effort and results.

5. Reinforce Behavior That Builds A Strong Work Ethic - Good or bad, whatever your child
achieves in college will be both earned and deserved. In college, students are not
entitled to anything except the opportunity to learn and grow. It is extremely important
for students to understand that they must compete for the things they desire (Good
Grades, Scholarships, Good Jobs, Promotions, Opportunities, etc.). Students who are
unprepared to devote the time and effort needed to succeed will fail. Therefore, from an
early age, parents should work hard to instill a strong work ethic in each of their children.

6. Help Children Develop Independence & Maturity - College students are expected to
function well on their own. They will need to gather information, analyze it and then make
their own good decisions about a wide variety of behaviors and issues. Mature students
don’t run to a parent or counselor for every little thing that happens. Decision making skills
and independence are a critical requirements for growing up. Therefore, parents should
help their children mature by gradually allowing more independence, as students
demonstrate good judgment and decision making skills.

7. Encourage Children To Get Involved - School activities, part-time and summer jobs and
community involvement will give students a more realistic view of the competitive world.
Participation gives students the opportunity to learn about themselves and about others.
It gives them a chance to develop and stretch their skills, knowledge and interests. When
students get involved, they find out what they like, what they are good at and what turns
them on. Without these experiences, many students will have a difficult time selecting a
direction in college.

8. Help Your Children Build A List Successes - A history of success will help students
believe in themselves and gain self-confidence. Since students can be successful in
hundreds of ways (grades, sports, clubs, music, acting, dance, hobbies, interests, work
assignments, community activities etc.) nobody should be left out. Even the smallest
success can be a positive influence on students who are trying to find their way. Since
every student will encounter problems and disappointments in college, it is important for
them to have the self-confidence to pick themselves up and overcome those obstacles.
A list of past successes will remind them that they can succeed.

9. Support Your Children As They Discover Their Strengths - Every student has strengths
and weaknesses. However, successful students usually capitalize on the things they like,
are good at, believe in, care about, or want to change and are passionate about. Parents
play three critical roles here:

a) They should ensure that their children are exposed to as many opportunities and
experiences as possible. That will broaden their perspective.

b) Parents can then help their children evaluate those opportunities and experiences to
determine which ones truly hold interest and get the student excited.

c) Recognize and accept the fact that their children may want to go in their own direction.
Whenever the student is moving toward something positive, parents should be
supportive and encourage their children pursue their dreams.

For some students, taking the time to discover their gifts
is an inconvenience that they are unwilling to endure.
And sadly, those packages will remain unopened.

-- Bob Roth

10. Help Your Teenager Grow Up - Provide your young adult children with opportunities to
make some daily decisions. Then, watch them closely and hold them accountable for the
results and consequences of those decisions. When they are ready, let them manage
their own time, money, cell phone minutes, clothing purchases and other similar decisions.

Recognize that your children will make a few mistakes and often won’t do things the way
you would do them. However, as you find that you can trust them, let them make more
decisions. Generally, young people should endure the consequences of their decisions
and learn from them.

You will hamper the learning process when you always rush to their rescue, overprotect
them and defend your children when they are obviously wrong. Inappropriate words,
behavior and decisions have consequences. Children must learn that lesson.

11. Show Your Children That Life Is Not Only About Taking - Help your teenage children
understand that they have an obligation to make positive contributions everywhere: With
Family, Friends, School, Job, Community, Teams, Clubs and Organizations etc. Parents
who lead by example, in an effort to teach their children to be willing to make sacrifices for
the good of others, are more likely to develop good, caring and giving children.

12. Through Your Words and Actions, Let Your Children Know That You Love and
Support Them - When your children know that you are on their side and want only the
best for them, they are more likely to pay attention to your advice. Your love, support
and encouragement will go a long way toward influencing their thinking and behavior.

Parents who set a good example and involve their children at an early age will usually have the most impact with these principles of college success. However, it’s never too late to start. When you take a genuine interest in your children, in their interests and in their development, you will be rewarded with mature, self-confident children who know where they want to go, children who are ready to achieve success in college.

Visit Bob’s web site: Bob Roth is the author of The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College -and- The College Student’s Guide To Landing A Great Job. For other resources visit:

Author's Bio: 

Bob Roth, a former campus recruiter, is the author of The College Student's Guide To Landing A Great Job -and- The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College. Known as The "College & Career Success” Coach, Bob also writes articles for more than 175 College Career Services Offices and Campus Newspapers. Additionally, Bob has developed 20 Self-Scoring Learning Tools™ that help college students find success. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs across the country and also by many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal. Lastly, Bob serves as an Adjunct at Marist College, teaching a course in Career Development.