As we head into March, I am reminded that there are thousands of high school seniors around the country that are in the last stages of their senior year and preparing for college. How to go about preparing kids for college is a question that I am often asked by parents. Often with the help of their parents, teachers, and school counselors, kids have focused intently on academics, sports, arts, extracurricular activities, and community involvement in order to get into the college of their choice. Now, they are ready! But, are they really?
Difficulties of a Freshman: Preparing Kids For College
One of the populations I have frequently worked with over the years are college freshman who are either having a great deal of difficulty adjusting to college or who have already experienced enough setbacks to actually withdraw from school. Very often, we forget that preparing kids for college includes teaching them the coping skills needed to face the social, emotional and life-skills challenges they will face once they leave home. So, in an effort to share some concise advice on this subject, I’d like you to keep a few goals in mind for preparing kids for college as they come to the end of their senior year.
- Give your kids opportunities to take care of themselves before they leave for college. For example, send them on a class trip, sleep-away camp, or a summer job out of town.
- Teach them and allow them to show you that they know about the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise routine.
- Teach them basic money management skills, how to do their laundry, how to properly clean their personal space and how to shop for necessities.
- Show them how to find the resources they need to overcome basic problems that may arise such as academic or even health-related challenges.
Preparing Kids for College Socialization
One of the most important aspects of college life is socialization.
- Arm your children with the ability to identify positive and negative influences among friends and other support systems.
- Allow them to show you how to balance their social life with their academic and personal responsibilities.
Finally, make sure your kids know you are there for them at all times to answer questions, give them guidance, and help them get back on their feet if they make a mistake. Preparing kids for college is very much about letting them know that you will be there for them when they need you.
– Dr. Heather Rask, Proliance Center