Preparing your teen for college actually starts long before their senior year of high school. Throughout their re-college career, they’re learning how to balance academics with social life along with making decisions for themselves and making good choices. This all lays the foundation for choosing a school to attend and working hard to get accepted.
Preparing Your Child to Be Responsible
For many children, when they go away to college, it’s their first time on their own. This can be a fun but challenging time. You can help prepare them by giving them some autonomy when they’re younger. For example, when they’re old enough, you might leave them at home for a long weekend with a budget and some responsibilities to take care of. Let them take care of tasks that they’re going to need to manage on their own when they’re away. They’ll need to do their own laundry and manage transportation around campus on their own. Enable and empower your child by giving them responsibilities and choices before they go to school. Getting a job and allowing them to make important decisions helps give them the confidence that they need.
If your child is going to be responsible for all or some of the financial cost of college, it’s important to talk about this early on. Discuss options. Let your child know what school costs, how loans can impact their finances, and what scholarship and grant opportunities require. If your child understands the financial requirements and obligations of attending college and is motivated, they can work hard during high school to not only get into the school of their choice but to earn grants and scholarships.
Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll
There will be many temptations once your teen goes away to college. It’s important to talk about decisions and consequences as they are growing up. Don’t wait until they’re ready to walk out the door. Giving them a little freedom when they’re in high school can help them prepare for peer pressure and partying when they’re in college.
The College Decision
Choosing a college can be a difficult decision. They may not know what they want to study or where they’d like to live. Help them set priorities and remember to compare the financial cost of their choices. Visit schools to let them get a feel for the various campuses. Once the day arrives to move in and start this new phase of their life, you’ll be confident that your child is prepared for the challenges ahead of them. They’ve worked hard to get here and are ready for the opportunity.