From High School to College: Words of Wisdom for Graduates


Graduation is always a whirlwind.  As for my kids, there have been five gowns worn, five caps thrown into the air, and five high school diplomas received.  Graduating high school was the start of a new chapter in my kids’ lives, a chapter when they would not be living in our home full time. But with each child, it was my hope that they learned from Susan and me virtues that would carry them forward and wisdom that would guide their paths.

There’s a lot of wisdom we need to share with our graduates as they head off to college. To get you started, here are the ABC’s.

1. Academics come first.

First and foremost, remind your teen that they are a student.  A college campus can be the most distracting place in the world if you allow it to be.  From roommates to road trips, pool parties to pizza at midnight, sororities to fraternities…distractions are everywhere.  And as thrilling as those things can be, they are not the main reason your child is there.  Rather, your child is there to pursue a college degree and earn a strong education for the future.  So, be sure to explain to your teen the significance of getting to know their professors, showing up to class each day, and being diligent in the time they set aside for studying.

2. Be a light.

College is a time when teenagers grow up, discover who they are, and choose the path they want to take.  Not only is this a unique opportunity for your child to grow as an individual, but it’s also a chance for him to be a light to those who have yet to choose whether they will follow a path that leads to success or a dangerous path that leads to failure.  So, instill within your grad both a desire to show compassion to their peers and a desire to inspire their classmates to live a life that is noble.  Teach your child to be different and stand up for what he believes in so that they might knowingly, or unknowingly, encourage someone else to do the same.

3. Community is critical.

The kind of people your child spends time with is the kind of person your child may very well become.  It’s important for your child to establish good relationships with the right kind of friends during the first few weeks of college. Otherwise, your child might begin associating with bad company that will eventually corrupt his good character. Teach your teen to seek out people they admire and respect—people with courage, integrity, honesty, and self-control.

Of course, there is much more wisdom you can impart to your kids now, including 8 Things Every Father Must Teach His Daughter and 8 Things Every Father Must Teach His Son.


What other advice have you given, or will you give, your graduating teen as they head to college or start their career? Leave a comment.


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