By Jacob Maslow – Branded Content

Whether you have a relative, a family friend, or someone else in your life who is wondering if college is still worth it or just starting college, you may want to provide some support to them in this enormous life change. It can help to keep a few things in mind as you think about how to provide this support. Even if you went to college yourself, it’s different for everyone, and sometimes it’s hard to remember the particulars of the experience.

They Are Adults, Sort Of

While you may be tempted to point out all the ways in which they are not really adults, it’s important to remember that not only are they indeed legally adults, but they are also probably more capable than you give them credit for. Throughout the country, 18-year-olds are not just going off to college but they’re also living independently, having children, and serving in the military. At the same time, if your instinct is telling you that they may lack the wisdom and maturity to make the best decisions all the time, you’re also not wrong. You really need to step back and let the student make their own decisions at this time and deal with consequences as well, but there may be times when they need adult intervention, such as if they are ill or having issues with a landlord.

They May Need a Cosigner

One of the biggest worries faced by many college students is money. Even though there are several different ways they may pay for their education, including federal aid, work-study programs, grants, and scholarships, they might still come up short given the rising costs of both tuition and living in general. The college student in your life may need to take out private loans as well, but with little or no credit history, those loans may be inaccessible or might offer an unfavorable repayment plan. If you are able to be a cosigner for that student, it can make a big difference. By cosigning a student loan, it means that they are more likely to get approved and that they may be offered lower interest rates.

They Could Use Your Solicited Advice

Nobody really wants unsolicited advice, but it’s a good idea to let the student know that you are available if they do want your input. This gentle approach is likely to be more effective than barging in with your opinion unasked anyway. If you’re not the parent, you can still be a useful source of guidance. In fact, it can be helpful for students to have other adult advisors besides their parents. Whether you’ve been out of school yourself for a few decades or just a few years, it’s likely that you can offer a different and valuable perspective on topics as diverse as how to choose a major, how to get along with roommates or how to budget. You don’t have to have any special knowledge or training to help with these types of issues. They are generally things that simply come easier to you as you get older and get more life experience.

Photo Courtesy // Jacob Maslow //