Although it is still early in the summer, it is never too early to think about how to prepare your teen to go to college. If your kid recently graduated from high school, they are soon to be heading off to the college of their choosing, ready to start the next chapter in their lives. This part of the process should not be difficult—applications have been filled out, decisions have been made, and your student has begun to mentally prepare.
But this is still a hard time. Especially if your kid is going to an out of state school, they will have to learn how to be on their own for the first time. They will have to figure things out on their own, make decisions without parental guidance, and discover their place in this world. Even if your students still have a few years of high school left, this blog will help when the time comes.
At Resurrection Christian School, we work hard to prepare our high school students for college. We work with students to help them get the best ACT and SAT scores they can to help them get into the colleges they want. We use technology courses and different programs to help them learn about the world and prepare them for the future.
But now the preparation is in your hands. Your teen is ready to take that next giant step in their life, and you need to be there for support. Your kid may take a while picking the college that will best suite their future dreams, their personality, and their academic pursuit, but once they make that important decision, you must help them get everything together and be mentally ready for the challenge ahead.
Making the College Decision
Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to help those parents dealing with an indecisive teen. If your kid has yet to decide on the college they want to attend, have a chat with them. Find out what colleges your student is considering and why. If they are considering a school because of a friend, a significant other, or because it has a fun reputation, try to talk to them about why these are not good reasons to be basing their college decision off of.
Teens will be teens, and if you tell them they cannot make decision based on these reasons, they may go against what you say simply to rebel. So, keep it calm, don’t make accusations, and be reasonable. Find out what their interests are and what they may want to study, then look into each school and find out what their best programs are. Finding a school with a great nursing programs may persuade your student to select that school instead of their less desirable choice.
Once the decision is made, it is time to start preparing your student mentally for college. According to Healthline, the sad fact is the one out of four college students suffer from some form of mental illness, 44 percent report signs of depression. So helping your student through this time in their lives could truly make a difference.
Picking a Major Isn’t Major
Of course selecting the right major is important, but it is not something that needs to be done the first semester or even the first year of their college careers. According to the University of La Verne, about 50 to 70 percent of students will change their major at least once, and most change it at least three times.
Stress this point to your child. They may have dreamed about being a historian since their were young, but once they start classes they may find their math classes much more interesting. Remind them that it is okay to be undecided for a while and test the waters, try out classes that they never imagined liking.
Do research on the majors they may seem interested on, declaring could help them out. For example, at Colorado State University, new freshmen can declare a business major right away. But it they hold off only to later decide they want to give business a shot, they will have to get their GPA up to a 3.0 before their can declare. Keep that in mind while researching colleges.
Don’t Force The Major
This is just a small reminder to let your kids live their own lives. If you push your child to be an engineer because your family comes from a long line of engineers, it may end badly. If they don’t like the major or the industry but feel pressured to follow the family, they will end up hating college all together, and may not even have the desire to finish.
Take Time, Save Money
Your teens will want to spend one last summer with their high school friends, but they could be using that valuable time to save another valuable asset: money. Depending on who is paying for college, you will soon learn that it is way more expensive than anything should be, but that is the way it is.
By having your student apply for scholarships, even if they only get a few, they can save a lot of money. The more scholarships, the more money they can save. Although it takes a ton of time, it could truly help their, or your, financial situation in the future and allow them to not take out as many loans.
Have your kid spend a few hours a day applying to scholarships. While they may hate you for it now, they are sure to thank you in the future.
Most likely, your student will be living in the dorms their freshmen year. This means they will have a certain level of independence they did not have before. They will take care of all their laundry, cleaning, feeding themselves, and whatever else they generally rely on you to take care of.
Many students will get their first job, or a work study, during their first year in college. They will be in charge of their money, and have to decide whether they will save it or not. Teaching them to save at least a portion of their money could help them start building up their account before having to find a place to rent the follow year.
During the summer, start giving your teen a little more independence so they can begin to figure it out. If you keep a close eye on everything your student does and force them to follow your rules until they move out, the transition may be more challenging for them.
Get Ready For Move-In Day
Obviously move-in day won’t be for quite a while, but it is never too early to start preparing. Tell your teen to start planning on what they will bring, what they will need to buy, and what they can buy there. This may also be a good time to have them clean out and throw away old junk they no longer need or want.
When planning on what to pack, remember they will be home for Christmas break, hopefully earlier, and they can swap out summer clothes for winter items during this time. There is no need to bring everything the first time around.
Plan on what they will need once they are in the dorms. Do they have the proper size of sheets? Do they have a laundry basket? Will they need their own cleaning supplies or a shower caddy? Do they need a bike? Will there be room in their dorm for extra seating? Find out the layout of their dorm room and start planning from there. Let them figure out what they will need besides the basics. Decorating a dorm room is half the fun of living in the dorms. Let them enjoy it.
Obviously these are not the only tips that can help prepare your teen for college, and we will go over more as the time draws closer. For now remember these tips and be there for your students. Let them ask questions and answer them the best you can. This is generally a point where teens begin to push away from their parents because they are preparing for a difficult sendoff. Don’t get upset with them for this, help them prepare, and mentally prepare for yourself.
Resurrection Christian School can help get your kids prepared to apply and get into the colleges they want with ACT and SAT prep. If your student is not yet heading to college, make sure they are getting an education that can help them get there. Learn more about Resurrection Christian School today!