What College Seniors Are Really Thinking as Graduation Approaches

Seniors might be graduating, but that doesn't mean they're feeling ready to tackle the real world just yet. Mighty Mommy chatted with upcoming college grads to learn what's on their minds and help you, their parent, prepare them for life after college.

Cheryl Butler
8-minute read
Episode #529
"Hi Mom" college graduation cap

Do you have any idea of the amount of debt you’ve incurred during college?  How are you wrapping your head around that?

“Honestly, no, I only have a vague idea of how much I owe in loans in addition to how much my parents have in parent loans. I know it’s not a pretty picture, and I’m terrified of how I’m going to be able to afford to pay them back and get my own place to live. Food would be nice too! My guess is that I owe a total of around $50,000.”

This guestimate is not far from the mark. According to Student Loan Hero, “Among the Class of 2018, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,800, including both private and federal debt. Meanwhile, 14% of their parents took out an average of $35,600 in federal Parent PLUS loans.”

Get to know the financial aid representatives at your student's college. Scholarships can lower the post-college debt burden.

How Parents Can Help    

Be honest from the beginning if paying for college is going to be a joint effort between you and your child. Don't be afraid to get to know the financial aid representatives at your student's college. They have lots of resources and valuable information to share with parents. For instance, my son's college has a special endowment fund from which we received wonderful scholarships that we wouldn't have known about had I not asked. Scholarships can lower the post-college debt burden.

Money Girl, Laura Adams has tips on managing those student loans in 5 Student Loan Repayment Options.

See more helpful articles on college debt here.

Finally, if you had it to do all over again, would you choose a 4-year college?

“I would still choose a four-year college. However, I might have reconsidered the school I chose, and reevaluated what I thought were the important factors that lead me there. I don’t have any regrets, though. I’m walking away this spring with incredible memories and friendships that will be part of my lifelong foundation. I also never would’ve gained the experience and life-skills I acquired during college.”

See Also: 4 Positive Thoughts for Your Non-College-Bound Child

How are you and your child preparing for college graduation? Please share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

Are you listening to the Mighty Mommy podcast? Let me know what you're loving or what you want me to cover. Leave me a voicemail at 401-284-7575. Your message could be featured in a future podcast!

If you’re graduating, or you know someone who is, there is a great graduation present that you can enter to win right now. Quick and Dirty Tips is running an exclusive sweepstakes to win an amazing book bundle. It includes books like Jamie Oliver’s cookbook 5 Ingredients, and 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School by Charles J. Sykes. Just think of it as a starter pack for life after college. Enter for your chance to win here. Good luck!


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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