Parents, you have spent nights up with your kids when they were sick, read over homework assignments, and been a listening ear to their rough days at school. Fast forward to their senior year of high school and now your child is an adult. While no one can turn back the clock, there are several actions you can take now to ensure your child is prepared to smoothly transition to a college student.
- Encourage responsibility–While you are still the parent and have an important role in your future college student’s life, promote independence. For example, set boundaries with your child if you will be sending money regularly. Also, determine consequences if your child abuses money that you send such as by not sending additional funds until the next semester. Let your child know that you will be available to listen and offer suggestions, but the ultimate responsibility lies with them. There has to be a balance between being a parent and treating your child as an adult.
- Encourage your child to avoid getting into debt, when possible–Many students and their families receive financial aid packages that include grants and loans. With this in mind, encourage your child not to incur further debt such as credit card charges or overdraft bank fees. Offer suggestions for your child to save money and establish a budget to cover the expenses that come with the college life. Examples of suggestions would be to work part-time on campus, purchase food at the grocery store, and limiting entertainment expenses.
- Encourage your child to use the resources available on campus–The college experience is more than attending classes, but will hopefully allow your child to learn new things and meet new people. So, when your child needs help with talking to a professor, dealing with a rude roommate, or finding an internship, advise him or her to seek out the appropriate organizations and individuals for assistance. While you maybe tempted to speak to someone to help your child, keep in mind that ultimate responsibility remains with your child.
- Encourage your child to maintain balance–Don’t be surprised if your child calls you from college and mentions his or her increased stress levels from classes. Remind your child to seek out attending counseling, participating in fitness courses, eating properly, or taking a brisk walk around campus with friends. Certainly, preparing your child for college will be a time of anxiety for you because you ponder over whether you taught your child and equipped them with the tools necessary for survival in the world. Now is the time to trust yourself that your child is ready to attend college and be available to encourage him or her along the way!
Today’s guest post is from Ashley Hill, founder of CollegePrep Ready. Ashley brings her knowledge, expertise, and compassion to helping junior and high school students and their families to successfully prepare for college. She founded CollegePrep Ready in July 2010 in response to her personal journey to achieving success in her undergraduate program. She is dedicated to developing an individualized plan of action for every student and family because no two students are alike.