General Tips

How to Prepare Your Child for College

by Editorial Team on February 21st, 2017

Going to college is a scary time for children and parents. For many, this is the first time they have lived away from home, and the first big decision that they have had to make for themselves. As a parent, you want to help them, while allowing them the freedom to grow and learn, which can be tricky. Here on some tips on the best ways to help prepare them for the first big challenge of their adult life, whether it’s still quite some time away, or they are thinking about it now.

Look at All the Options
There are more options when it comes to further education than there has ever been before. There is a huge range of courses available, from all different educational institutions. They could study close to home or far away. They could even stay at home and study an online degree, such as an online respiratory therapy degree. Or they could even study part time, and gain valuable work experience at the same time. The best thing to do is make a list, then sit down together and talk about their options. Try to go to as many open days as you can.

Encourage Them to Make the Right Choice
As a teenager, it’s always tempting to take the easy option or to follow your friends. While you can’t, and shouldn’t tell them not to do something, you can explain the benefits of other choices. If they have a dream career, help them to research what they need to do to get there. It’s not always black and white. For example, they may want to work helping children, in which case there are lots of courses and career paths they could take; even a bachelor in respiratory therapy program could lead to a career in pediatrics.

Teach Them Life Skills
If they are planning to move away from home for the first time, now is the time to make sure they know how. You’d be surprised at how many students know nothing about cooking and cleaning. Start teaching them how to make a few simple meals, and get them to help more around the house. They might not enjoy it, but these skills will help them immensely in the long term.

Prepare Financially
They probably haven’t had to control their finances too much before now. Even if you are paying their fees, or they have financial aid, they will need to make money to live. If they have never had a job, perhaps encourage them to start working a few hours, and let them control their money. Teach them as much as you can about saving and budgeting. There are some great apps which can help.

Start Shopping
Start thinking about what they need as far in advance as possible. Make a list, and between you get some shopping. They’ll need course materials and stationary, but also a laptop or tablet, and household supplies, such as bedding. After that it might depend what’s including in their dorm room, but prepare as much as you can.

Moreover, you’ll need to help them with the applications, and support them emotionally as they make these tough choices. How much help and support they need will vary, just make sure they know that you are there when they need you.

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