Normal fears

College education represents a new world for parents who see their adolescent enter adulthood and who no longer have the same oversight of their studies.

Some parents can sometimes feel insecure and worry about the success and future of their offspring. These concerns are normal!

Even if your child needs their independence and wants to make their own decisions, your interest in their education is still important. They will appreciate that you are interested in them, what they do and learn while preserving this new need for autonomy.

Varied interests

You should know that several programs can lead your child to achieve complete professional fulfillment. Few people cultivate a single interest, and few will have a single job throughout their lifetime. It is therefore not about your young person selecting the right program, but a good program.

The best approach for parents is to acknowledge that choosing a program is a difficult decision at college age and in today’s context. Maybe you have already questioned your own career choices or have a different career than the one you imagined when you were 16 years old. Maybe you’ve never done what you dreamed about. Share these thoughts and feelings with your child! You also know their strengths, interests, values and weaknesses, which can help them choose a program that suits them well.

Think and explore before you choose

“Getting into the right program” is a big decision for youth. It requires a lot of thought and research in which you can play a valuable role: Open-house visits, guidance counsellors, workplace professionals, and cégep websites are all good resources.

Refer to the Guidance for my child section for tips and tools to support them in their choice of program and career.

To find their way, your child needs to know who they are…

  • Ask him about his strengths, interests and desires; talk about his childhood, favorite activities, what you appreciate about him, his qualities and his skills.
  • Show your interest and ask about their motivations for a certain occupation or program, even if their ideas seem unrealistic to you.

Your adolescent also needs to familiarize themselves with various programs of study and the job market.

  • Talk about your own professional experiences, what you like most and least about your job.
  • Use your network of professional contacts to connect him with people who have occupations that seem to interest him.
  • Invite them to participate in open-house days of educational institutions and various school information activities organized by cégeps.

No matter where your young person is in their journey, they need to be heard in their questions and concerns. Show them interest and confidence in their ability to choose, even during times of indecision.

You can also invite your child to meet with a guidance counsellor.

In accordance with Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information, a cégep cannot provide a parent with identifying information about any student, unless the latter is a minor. As soon as the student reaches the age of majority, the institution cannot give the parent any information, including whether the student is attending a class, registered as full- or part-time, their grades, etc.

Cégep corresponds to the period of transition from adolescence to young adulthood and greater independence. Parents also need to adapt: you are more likely to keep an open dialogue with them if you avoid questions that only focus on their performance.

To keep informed of their progress, ask open-ended questions that show your interest, for example:

  • «How are your classes?»
  • «What are the most difficult things about cégep?»
  • «Are you interested in any extracurricular activities?»

It’s not very comforting to know that your child is leaving a very structured educational environment for another which is too often associated with the “freedom.” This concern is normal: Your role as a parent is not over, simply different.

As a parent, your relationship with your new cégep student can be defined by three essential actions that have undoubtedly guided you throughout your child’s life:

  • Continue to show him love and trust.
  • Accompany him in his efforts and offer support.
  • Set certain limits regarding behaviors you expect from him.

Information inspired by the websites of Cégep de Victoriaville and Cégep de Ste-Foy