Preparing Your High School Student For College

Parenthood is never an easy task. Any parent will attest to the fact that the transition from childhood to adulthood presents an odd mix of critical stages. Parents see the kids grow from being babies whose moms and dads couldn’t keep their eyes off to teenagers who are slowly showing their individual characters. Before anyone can even say “college”, the little ones have become adults with minds of their own–and are off to college!

When preparing a high school kid for college, a lot of things still need to be done. For most people, college attainment is almost always a precise determinant of a individual’s career and professional future. As such, if you’re a parent to someone who will soon be entering college, you must already be looking for ways to make it an exciting journey for them. Here are some very essential tips:

1. Explain how college life is like–and do it with caution.

Preparing a high school kid for college life challenges a parent to provide support beyond financing or paying for it. While it’s true that college is now more expensive than ever before and requires financial preparation, no money in any amount can make up for the parental support or guidance that does not involve a dime.

It’s common knowledge that while college freshmen tend to be totally excited about this new educational chapter in their life, there may be feelings of loneliness, not to mention overwhelming pressure, that may overcome them. It’s only natural for them to miss their high school life and realize that college isn’t easy. Before they know it, college has become a heavy and frustrating chore. When these problems are unattended, they can possibly result in low-self esteem, lack of motivation, and even depression.

What can you do as an incoming college kid’s parent? Sit down and have a long and meaningful talk with your high school child about college expectations. This means that as the child’s parent, you need to be well equipped and knowledgeable enough on the subject. Be the first person to help them gain an understanding of how college life should be dealt with. You can explain it using a two-prong approach:

  • Be realistic: let your child know that in college, failures are normal and mistakes are there to enable him or her to truly understand the learning process. They should know that successfully making it through college is not like getting good grades in subjects during high school. Being an achiever in high school doesn’t guarantee anything in college, either, as it is a totally different battlefield. After all, the last thing a parent wants is to see that their child end up frustrated or disappointed.
  • Encourage and reassure your soon-to-be-in-college kid that these challenges, no matter how difficult, can be overcome successfully with hard work, passion, dedication, openness, and a lot of patience. Offer the support they need for their major that will ultimately lead them to success in their career field of choice.

2. Teach your child these two vital values: budgeting and time management.

Knowing how to budget is an all-important skill every college student must learn way before entering university. The cost of going to college in the United States varies depending on the academe being public or private, or community college or full university. Either way, tuition fees in college definitely higher than in high school. It is also worth mentioning that university costs have been skyrocketing, making college a challenge for those without the means to pay for it. This fact should compel an incoming or current college student to be mindful of their spending. Teach your child to compute college costs and learn the best ways to save for future use and never run out of money when it is needed.

Also, an equally important skill for college students is time management. Teach your college-bound kid to learn not only about keeping it all orderly, but also in balance. That being said, academic life should not negatively affect a student’s social life, family time, and even me-time. It is commonly observed that students tend to spend less time socializing when in college because they focus more on studying. Truth is, this actually depends on whether or not a student has mastered the art of striking a balance between working hard and working smart.

Encourage your child to never neglect time for study—because that’s what they are in university for—but make time to socialize, learn from the people around them, and have fun, as well. Remember that people learn and deal with learning differently; extroverts, for one, are fueled when they are outside socializing. Bottom line is that in college, achieving that balance is the key.

3. Help your college-bound child explore the many options that college offers.

Aside from giving the emotional aspect of college preparation, you can’t ignore your kids as they take the necessary steps to effectively find the right university. An incoming college student normally has a career in mind; be around as your child starts researching on the course or major that should be anchored in and constantly pique their interests.  Assist your child in meeting the exact requirements for the course of choice.

The next step is to pick the appropriate type of college by gathering information and narrowing down the list. Be with your child as they navigate through college application deadlines. Be there when they take extra steps to meet college application requirements or ace tests for scholarships.

One more tip: Stay ahead of the game by sending your kid to the right high school.

Certainly, there is no better time to help prepare your child for entry to college than in high school. Consider sending your kid to one that does not only guarantee academic excellence for students; pick one that places importance on instilling the right values. A child’s Emotional Quotient or EQ should be taken into consideration as it is equally important as their IQ. While in high school, encourage your child to engage in extra-curricular work, such as community service and similar activities. These are ways to cultivate responsibility and independence in your child–just exactly what he or she will need as college life nears.

More than anything, a parent needs to practice and instill values in their child, no matter what age. Without a doubt, preparing high school kids is crucial for them to make it to and in college successfully. Your child’s experiences as a high school student will help shape the right attitude towards getting a college degree. Even better, your child will go far in life with the right mindset.