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Catholic Activity: How to Help Your Child Go to College


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It helps if you can give financial aid to your children. But it may be even more helpful if, from his youngest days, you create an atmosphere which encourages him to develop his mind and cements his determination to gain a higher education. Here are several ways you can do this.


By letting him know, from his early days in elementary school, that you will be happy if he attends. (Researchers have found that 99 per cent of college students have their parents' approval. Only one in a hundred reaches college over the outright opposition of his mother and father.)

By maintaining a home free of tension and bickering. (It has been proved statistically that children of broken marriages, or from homes where parents do not live together in peace, have a poor chance of developing study habits which will carry them above the high school level.)

By taking an active part in church, P.T.A. and community affairs. (Activities like these will help you meet other conscientious parents who also will want to give their children maximum educational opportunities. By discussing your child's development with such friends, you will also be able to gauge whether he is progressing as well as he might.)

By providing opportunities for self-education. (Many college students told interviewers that they were introduced to the public library by their parents at an early age and were encouraged to form good reading habits. A child with access to wholesome magazines and newspapers, a comprehensive reference shelf and other aids to information, has a splendid opportunity to satisfy his curiosity and develop his intellect.)

By encouraging him to associate with other boys and girls with college aspirations. (The desire to keep up with the joneses is as strong in youngsters as in adults; if your youngster has as friends only boys and girls who intend to quit school as soon as they are legally able, his own educational ambition may be stifled.)

By encouraging him to consider what his vocation may be. (If he has a clear goal, he can more easily realize how a higher education will help him achieve it. You can encourage him by discussing the many opportunities to serve God and man which come to persons with college training.)

Where your child lives while attending college may depend mainly upon your financial situation and whether schools are within commuting distance. Educators generally agree that the typical student acquires more benefits from college if he lives away from home. By doing so, he learns to accept full responsibility for his own actions, not only scholastically but in all phases of his life.

Even if you can afford to pay for your child's education in its entirety, many authorities believe that he should be required to work during vacations to meet at least the incidental charges. Since he is learning to accept new responsibilities in other ways, he also should assume some of the burden of his own upkeep. A common arrangement is for parents to make the basic college payments — fees for tuition, board, books, etc. — while the student himself pays for his clothing and whatever spending money he may need during the year.

Activity Source: Catholic Family Handbook, The by Rev. George A. Kelly, Random House, Inc., New York, 1959

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