25 Actions Parents Use To Help An Unmotivated Teen Get Into College?

unmotivated teen

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Why I wrote this article:

Parents often ask, “How do you deal with a student who is not motivated to go to college?” We find that the student is often overwhelmed by the process and too busy at school and with friends to put together a good plan on their own to go to college. Their default remedy is to procrastinate on anything having to do with the college admissions process. This creates a lot of anxiety for the teen and the rest of the family. Be aware that unfortunately, most teens receive very little support and guidance from their college advisors at their schools because they are overwhelmed with too many students.

Primary reasons teens are unmotivated to get ready for college:

After speaking with hundreds of teens, we have found that they are unmotivated for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Lack of understanding: Teens need to understand the importance of college and its benefits.
  2. Fear of the unknown: Teens may be intimidated by the idea of going to college and the changes it may bring.
  3. Lack of direction: Teens need to learn what they want to study and what career they want to pursue.
  4. Lack of support: Teens may need more support from parents, teachers, or other adults.
  5. Financial concerns: Teens may be worried about the cost of college and the burden of student loans.
  6. Past experiences: Teens may have had negative experiences in school or with learning in general.
  7. Stress and pressure: Teens may be overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed academically and to make a good college choice.
  8. Lack of self-esteem: Teens need to believe in their own abilities and feel capable of succeeding in college.
  9. Lack of role models: Teens need positive examples of people who have gone to college or have successful careers.

It’s important to understand that teens can be unmotivated for many reasons, and parents need to help them find the root cause of their lack of motivation and help them find ways to overcome it. When teens believe that you genuinely care about what they want to do, their motivation increases dramatically.

unmotivated teen
It’s important to help your teen get started

What are 25 things parents can do to help an unmotivated teen get ready to go to college?

  1. Help your teen understand the value of a college education.
  2. Help your teen research and explore different college options.
  3. Set clear expectations and goals for college readiness.
  4. Encourage your teen to visit college campuses.
  5. Help your teen understand the application process and deadlines.
  6. Assist your teen in preparing for college entrance exams.
  7. Encourage your teen to participate in extracurricular activities and community service.
  8. Help your teen develop good study habits and time management skills.
  9. Encourage your teen to take challenging classes in high school.
  10. Help your teen prepare a strong college application, including essays and letters of recommendation.
  11. Assist your teen in researching and applying for financial aid and scholarships.
  12. Provide emotional support and encouragement throughout the process.
  13. Encourage your teen to seek out mentors and role models who have gone to college.
  14. Help your teen develop good interview skills.
  15. Encourage your teen to consider their career goals and how college can help them achieve them.
  16. Help your teen understand the importance of networking and building professional connections.
  17. Provide guidance and support in making decisions about college majors and career paths.
  18. Help your teen understand the importance of internships and experiential learning opportunities.
  19. Encourage your teen to explore college life and activities.
  20. Help your teen understand the importance of budgeting and financial planning.
  21. Encourage your teen to explore the resources and support services the colleges offer.
  22. Help your teen understand the importance of self-care and maintaining a healthy work-life balance in college.
  23. Encourage your teen to develop a support system of friends, family, and mentors.
  24. Help your teen understand the importance of being adaptable and flexible in college.
  25. Encourage your teen to take advantage of all the opportunities college offers to grow and develop as a person.


We encourage you as a parent to use the list above with your unmotivated teen. Consider sharing the 5 points below to have them see the value of a college education::

  1. Education is key: College provides an opportunity for a student to receive a higher education and develop valuable skills that can be applied in future careers.
  2. Career opportunities: Having a college degree can increase job prospects and lead to better-paying career options.
  3. Personal growth: College is a time for personal growth and exploration, both academically and socially.
  4. Life skills: College is a time for students to learn life skills such as time management, budgeting, and independence.
  5. Future success: A college education can set the foundation for future success in personal and professional life.

It is important for you as a parent to provide support, encouragement, and guidance to your unmotivated teen in preparing for college. This could involve helping them with the college application process, discussing their career and educational goals, and providing resources to help them succeed.


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