Nearly two million graduates received their degrees last year, a number which is steadily increasing. If you’re wondering how best to celebrate the occasion and prepare your child for the “real world” challenges ahead of them, keep these tips in mind.
The Graduation Details
There are many things that go into graduation ceremonies, and in the midst of finals and saying their goodbyes to college friends and school culture, your child might not be on top of it all. When it comes to announcements, send out invites to anyone and everyone that helped your child get to this point, whether that be family members, friends, former educators, or anyone else they deem important. You’ll also want to plan a graduation party to help share in your child’s joy as they reach this important life milestone. A household shindig can be dressed up on a budget for an intimate affair, or you can rent out a room in a restaurant; make sure you consider what type of celebration your child would most appreciate, as the day should be about them.
The Right Gift
You’re bursting with pride that your child has achieved so much in their scholarly career, and many parents struggle with what to give as a personalized graduation gift. Varied budgets, interests, and future plans mean that graduation gift ideas run the gamut from student to student. You can grab something personalized for their new apartment (providing they are moving into one), grab some college alumni gear they can sport for years to come, or invest in professional clothing that they can use in their upcoming career. Some parents choose to donate money towards their child’s travel plans, while others help them pay off student loans. Talk with your child, determine what would best support them in this time of transition, and make sure you add something meaningful to show them how proud you are.
Moving Back In
A competitive job market, hefty loans, and an impossibly expensive rental market means many college students are electing (at the mixed chagrin and joy of their parents) to move back home after receiving their diploma. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense for students to purse their first jobs while living under the inexpensive roof of their parents’ home, but for many parents, this can cause an economic strain. If your child does move back in with you, it might be in your best interest and theirs to charge a minimal rent fee. It will better prepare them for the time when they finally do move out and are inundated with hefty bills, and it will help you offset the cost of welcoming another individual into your home expenses, including utilities, food, and the like. If they do move back in, make sure they know it’s not to rest on their laurels and avoid the real world. By communicating the reality that they’ll be paying at least a little to move back in, they’ll realize their responsibilities have changed, learn to budget, and hopefully grow a savings account that will allow them to move out on their own eventually.
Helping with the Job Hunt
The job market has radically changed since you graduated high school or college, and your child will be navigating a challenging road of endless interviews and crushing rejections before landing their dream job—which could be years off. While unemployment rates are decreasing, underemployment is becoming the norm. Your graduate may soon themselves struggling with the knowledge that the degree they worked so hard for has left them over-prepared for positions they can acquire fresh out of college. It may be that they suffer through a job they feel is below their skillset, so be sure you’re prepared to offer words of encouragement. Never let them give up; they worked hard for a college diploma, and it’s important that they understand it will eventually pay off, even if it’s not within the first few months or even years after their commencement ceremony.