Hundreds of thousands of high school graduates enter college each year. While some of these children are well prepared for life after mom and/or dad, many aren’t. Preparing our children for college is one of the most important things we can do to guide them on their way to becoming an adult. Follow these top ten tips to ensure that your children are able to cope with life on campus.
1 Get Involved: getting involved early on in your child’s education is of utmost importance. By involving yourself in your child’s school life, you will teach your child that you value their education and that they should as well.
2 Extracurricular Activities: admissions boards and academic counselors look at extracurricular activities listed on college applications. Encourage your child to participate in activities outside of the classroom.
3 SAT/ACT: sit down with your child and help them study for the standardized tests. By assisting your child in their preparation for the tests, you can better gauge in which subjects they may need extra help.
4 College Tours: none of us want to see our children move across the country but try not to discourage your child’s interest in various colleges. Instead, accompany your child on college tours. Doing so will give them an idea of campus life and answer any questions you may have about their prospective school.
5 Talk About Education: have discussions with your child to find out what they expect out of a college education. Be sure to emphasize the value of that education in their lives and the amount of work it will take to graduate successfully.
6 Budgeting: one of the most difficult things for college freshman is figuring out a budget. Most 18 year olds have not had the responsibility of paying their own bills and buying their own groceries. Help your child figure out a budget for school and help them stick to it.
7 Step Back: applying for college is a stressful process, often for the whole family. Do your best not to smother your child. Allow them a bit of independence and choice now so they are not overwhelmed by their independence when they leave home.
8 Take a Break: families are looking at colleges earlier and earlier. Months of discussion and planning can take a toll on even the best family. Remember to take a break, go out and unwind. Come back to the planning when you are more relaxed.
9 Teach Basic Life Skills: you would not believe the number of incoming college freshman who don’t know how to work a washing machine or a hot plate. Teach your children how to wash their own clothes and cook simple meals.
10 Allow Failure: no parent wants to see his or her child be unsuccessful. As part of your child’s newfound independence, they will need to fend for themselves and make their own decisions. Allow your child to make their own decisions, even if you don’t agree, and let them deal with the consequences, good or bad.
This guest post was written by Jenny Masterson
Jenny Masterson also contributes content to thebestcolleges.org, an informational site featuring college rankings as well as lists of specialty college programs such as online criminal justice masters degrees.