Oct 5 2016
It’s a simple truth that some students are more prepared for college than others. These students tend to be smarter, sharper and better-suited for the challenges of their new lives than their peers, so it’s the prerogative of every involved parent to make sure that their teen is ready for higher education. Here are just a few tips for a smoother transition.
1. Set Goals
Where does your child want to attend college? What’s the acceptance rate? What GPA will they need? How much will it cost? These may sound like obvious questions to a parent, but teenagers are often surprised by how much planning needs to go into their college application process. Make sure they know what they’re up against when they’re filling out forms and proofreading essays. Make sure they have goals.
2. Introduce New Study Habits
This is especially important if your teenager is a gifted student who’s never really “had” to study before. College is much harder than high school, and many honor roll students walk into their first classes wholly unprepared to take notes, parse lectures, read textbooks and cram for tests. Teach them these habits before they’re caught flat-footed by their new environment, and they’ll thank you for it later.
3. Give Them More Independence
It’s tempting to smother your child under your wing while you still have them at home, but the harder you hold on, the crazier they’ll become once they get a taste of freedom. Try to give them more independence while they’re safely under your roof. Let them set their own curfew; let them keep their own company. These are life lessons that are best taught slowly rather than all at once in a dorm setting.
4. Teach Them Living Skills
Speaking of life lessons, does your teenager know how to cook? Can they operate a washing machine without turning anything pink? Can they budget their expenses? They may or may not have picked up these skills during their adolescence, and you don’t want to send them into the world without a clue. Take an afternoon or two and show them the basics of living on their own.
5. Send Them to Preparatory Schools
Places like the Landon School have higher standards of learning than public schools, so if you’re serious about only giving your child the best, places like Landon are where they’ll find it. Preparatory schools can help your teen acclimate to lectures, seminars, dorms, exams and other hallmarks of college life long before they actually attend college.
6. Establish Lines of Communication
If you want your child to stay in contact with you even after they’re gone, you’ll need to teach them good communication skills while you can. Get in the habit of calling each other to share news or events. Exchange texts and emails on a regular basis. Add each other on Facebook. Once these things become routine, your teenager won’t even think about them anymore, and you’ll be able to stay in touch despite their distance.
These are just a few ways to prepare your teen for college. Whether they’re headed to a world-famous university or a cozy school close to home, these tips should help them make the adjustment in a calm and confident way. Good luck!