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A Full Guide on Preparing Your Child for College


A Full Guide on Preparing Your Child for College

College sometimes seems like it will never arrive in your child's life. It is such a momentous transition that it looms over your decisions for years. It lingers on the horizon, determining how you save your money and where you send your child to school, and then all of a sudden it arrives and your child is ready to leave home for good.

Though they will come back for laundry and support, you child will be forever changed by the experience and they will never come back to live under your roof in completely the same way again. You may think that you have spent your child's entire existence working towards getting them to the point of leaving for college, but it is still important to take some time and go over a few last life skills to prepare your child for college.

Academic Success

Your child's main goals at college should be academic in nature. Though college provides an opportunity to explore many other aspects of adult life, the reason that your child is there is to obtain a degree that will help them later in life. For this reason, make sure that your child is equipped with tools for academic success before they leave home. In college, your child will need to be responsible for their own academic success, as no one will send home progress reports or offer to help your child catch up if they are struggling. Instead, your child will need to become their own advocate as they navigate the college system. Make sure they are equipped to do so.

During your child's high school years, take the time to encourage good study skills and habits, organization, proper note-taking, and good writing skills. These are some of the tools your child will need to employ to succeed in their college classes.

Personal Success

College is also a time when your child will begin to take over the responsibilities that define adult lives. For the next four or more years, your child will have a safety net in you and in the college infrastructure. Dorms, laundry facilities, and food will be provided for your student and a whole staff will maintain the buildings they live in. Still, your child will be forced to begin taking responsibility for the way that they live. Make sure that you have encouraged them to learn the skills they will need before they leave for college.

These include choosing a nutritious meal, balancing a budget, doing their own laundry, and even cleaning up after themselves. Some students won't even think about these things before they leave for school, so it is up to you, as a parent, to satisfy yourself that your child will be able to handle them. You can do this by gradually increasing your child's responsibilities at home. This will allow them to practice necessary skills under your eye. Preparing your child properly to succeed in college will make letting them go that much easier, simply because you know that they will be able to manage on their own. In the end, you'll all be happier when the time comes to leave.  

Making Sure Supplies Are in Order

Once graduation has passed by, your child's focus (and yours) shifts from their senior year to their first year of college. You'll need to make sure they have all of the supplies they need, both for their academics and for their dorm. Your child will likely have money from their graduation party to help, but be prepared to shoulder some of the cost for essentials as well.

Beyond just notebooks and pens, your child will definitely need a laptop for college. All colleges are deeply entrenched in the online world. Assignments are almost always done online, grades can be viewed online, and your student will need to be able to send e-mails to their professors. You don't need to break the bank for a good laptop, but buy a high-quality one that will last your child for the entirety of college.

They'll also need bedding, laundry detergent and dryer sheets, plates and utensils, hygiene supplies, and a bath towel. Consider getting them a robe if they will be using a community shower. A microwave and a mini fridge are also a great idea, especially for when your child is too busy or tired to go to the dining hall. Don't rely on a roommate's fridge or microwave; even if the roommate says they are open to sharing, they may change their mind down the line. In addition, there's no guarantee that your child's roommate will even remain in the same dorm, in college at all, or that they'll get along with your child.

Organizational supplies can include a white board, planner, storage containers, and drawer inserts. Consider whether your child will be lofting their bed or keeping it on the floor. Lofting their bed will give them more room, but it will come with the added hassle of having to climb up to bed every time. Plus, lofting a bed can be a challenge for those who do not know how to do it. Your child will likely have help from residential staff during their freshman year, but starting in their second year they will be on their own for move-in.

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