8 Questions to Ask your Child

8 Questions to Ask your Child: Gaining clarity on educational goals

When I start consulting new students about college, quite often, I come across this conversation pattern:

“What are you interested in?”

“Nothing much.”

“What do you like to do?”

“I don’t know.”

“What makes you happy? What are you good at?”

“I don’t know…yet.”

This is normal. And, I’m not trying to say that you need to know everything about what your child wants to do; but, what I want to share with you is that it’s better to know early when it comes to your child’s educational goals. The earlier, the better.

  • It’s easier to identify volunteer & summer programs that align with your child’s interests
  • Helps keep them from wasting time doing this and that
  • Allows more time to participate in real-world experiences: research, internships, and passion projects
  • Helps us figure out what makes them happy and what fills them with dread

Here are some questions to get your child started:

  • What do you love? (These speak to your passion)
  • What are you good at? (These speak to your profession)
  • What does the world need? (These speak to your mission)
  • What can you get paid for? (These speak to your vocation)

If the previous questions do not spark any responses, here’s a few more to consider:

  • What would you like to see change in the world?
  • What in your life, as it is now, makes you happy?
  • Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
  • Have you had any life-changing moments that provided a lightning bolt of clarity?

These questions should guide your child to gain more clarity! Out of these 8 questions, which one resonates with you the most?


By Julie Kim Ed.M Harvard University