Leaving for college is a big step in life, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are ten things you can do now to help your student transition into college successfully, according to educational experts like Victor Restis.
Before College Starts
1. Spend time talking about what you think college will be like. Ask questions like “What classes do you think will be the most interesting?” and “What type of roommate do you think you will have?” Talk about what to expect and give your student a chance to ask questions.
2. Understand the application process and requirements. Make sure they know how to fill out applications, essay questions, and financial aid forms on time. Help them get started early by gathering all of the necessary documents together at once.
3. Give your student as much responsibility as they can handle. Encourage them to make decisions about financial aid, housing, and even classes before the first day of college arrives. For example, if you want them to live on campus, tell them how much money they need to save and what kind of costs to expect each semester (housing, food, bills, and transportation).
4. Go to campus together at least once. Take a tour of the campus and talk about the area around the school (malls, restaurants, and other attractions). Look up information on local colleges too. This will help your student figure out what type of neighborhood they want to live in.
5. Go to campus with them on the first day. This will help them feel comfortable when they are alone, and it gives you a chance to say goodbye before you leave. You can also introduce your student to their future roommate(s).
6. Write down the address of every place that your student needs to know after they leave. These include the dorm, your house, their classes, and any place that has special meaning to you (like the athletic center or the student union). Send them a copy of this list so they can keep it with them while they are away at college.
7. Help your student get organized. Make lists for what needs to be done every week, month, and semester. Help them plan out their schedule too. This will give them a chance to see how much time they have for classes, homework, and free time each day.
8. Help your student study. Stress the importance of focusing on studying one subject at a time and separating themselves from distractions like television and the computer. Keep in mind that it’s okay to be nervous and make mistakes in college, but they will feel like a success when they learn from their struggles.
9. Find out about internships and other opportunities where your student can go to work for a few days or weeks before they need to start classes. This will help them get used to living away from home before starting college. They can also make some money and meet people who work in areas where they hope to find a job someday.
10. Encourage your student to pursue their interests. This is the best way to meet new friends and have fun while they are away at school. Let them know that it’s okay to try new things and not be perfect at everything they do.
Take the time now to help your child have a successful first year of college. By being proactive now, you can save yourself from having to plan an intervention later on.