How to Help My Son to Get Motivated About College

Even if your son says he's looking forward to going to college, you might be worried that he doesn't seem all that motivated. As his parent, your job is to help him realize that what he does now will affect his future. You can help motivate him to send out applications or bring up his grades to improve his transcripts.

Communicate your concerns with your son, advises high school resource instructor Beth Larsen at When you tell your son what you expect of him and what his teachers expect of him, it might help motivate him to do better. For example, by telling him that you expect him to fill out his college applications before the deadline or he might not get into the school of his choice, you are communicating your expectations. Knowing he might not be accepted into the school of his choice if his application is late is more likely to motivate him than a simple, “Fill this out, dear.”

Take him to a college campus or two to visit. If your discussions and other attempts at motivating him about college aren’t doing the trick, perhaps visiting a real college campus and seeing what his life will be like in college will motivate him to get excited 2. After seeing what college has to offer he might find the motivation to do whatever it takes to get into that college, including raising his grades, studying harder or filling out those applications and financial aid papers.

Praise your son when he does something about college. According to, your teen is more likely to become motivated if you praise his successes 1. For example, if he makes the effort to study for a big test that will help him raise his grades before report cards are sent out, tell him you’re proud of him for studying. If he sends out his college applications in time, tell him you are thrilled that he took it upon himself to get a head start thinking about college.


Discuss the consequences of not getting motivated about college with your son. For example, tell him that not getting motivated about it now could mean he spends two years going to a community college and living at home. Tell him that not going to college means he will have a difficult time finding a job that pays well, that has benefits and that fulfills him and the life he wants. Maybe the idea of living at home for a few extra years is enough to motivate him to go to college, where he can experience adulthood and freedom.