You’re excited that your child is headed off to college at last! Most likely, you’re a bit worried and anxious, too, and so is your college-bound teen. Follow these tips to prepare your child for the first year away from home.
Determine How to Finance College Costs
Finalize college financing before your teen heads off to school. Help your child fill out federal and school financial aid forms and apply for scholarships. You may also need student loans to cover remaining costs. Remember that financial aid and grants don’t pay for some expenses, such as clothing, food, and car insurance. Consider taking out a private student loan to have extra cash on hand to cover such expenses.
Boost Emotional Skills
Right now, when something goes wrong, you’re right there to help your child through tough times. At school, your teen must manage emotions and challenging situations alone. Sit your teen down and talk about how to handle life events, relationship issues, and stress. Work to build your child’s confidence in handling emotional issues.
Review Basic Life Skills
Does your teen struggle to keep the bed made and the bedroom clean? Most likely, your child will share a room. Review how to clean, do laundry, go shopping, and cook some light meals. Make sure your college student will be a welcome roommate.
Discuss the dangers of alcohol and drugs, too. A college campus is a fun place that can be full of temptation. You won’t be there to help your child say no to risks like drinking and trying party drugs. Prepare your teen to make the right decisions when you’re not there.
Create a Budget
Teens who have not managed their own money will be in for a shock when they head off to college. Create a budget to show your child how much money to spend each month. Review how to track debit and credit card spending, and discuss the importance of paying bills on time.
Focus on Health
Immunizations must be up to date before your teen arrives on campus. Your child should also have a health insurance card and know where to go for help in case of illness. Review how to use campus health services, urgent care facilities, and emergency rooms.
You won’t be on hand to make lunch or dinner. Teens will have a lot of food options, not all of them good ones. Help your child avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15,” which refers to extra weight college freshmen tend to gain. Review nutrition guidelines to help your child make healthy choices when you’re not around.
Make Your Expectations Known
Make it clear that your child is in school to learn. You’re not footing the bill or helping with loans so your freshman can hang out and drink beer. If you expect a report card with all A’s, make sure to tell your teen to work toward those grades.
Put your child on the path to living independently before your teen leaves for school. Review these tips with your college-bound teen to give him or her the necessary skills to be successful while living away from home.