Feeling overwhelmed thinking about how to prepare your kid for college? Read on for seven simple ways to start today and prepare to navigate future challenges.
Do you remember when you would think, "and one day she will be off to college," when your child was just a baby?
Parents are constantly excited and worried about their kid's future and find themselves wondering the same "big picture" questions about where they will go to college or what profession they will choose – even before their child finishes high school!
While you may not be able to control the outcome, there are ways to help guide your kids on the right path
. Continue reading for some helpful ideas on how to prepare your kid for college and beyond.
7 Tips for How to Prepare Your Kid for College
From discussing life goals to helping your child grow as a person, consider the ways you can invest in your child’s future right now.
1. Discuss Professional and Life Goals
Facilitate dinner table conversations about setting goals. As a family, discuss what everyone envisions for themselves five, 10, or even 20 years from now.
Talk to your kids about what careers they might be interested in, where they see themselves living, whether they would like to have a family of their own one day, etc. These conversations will get your kid thinking about more than the "right now" and could even turn into memorable exchanges.
2. Enroll in Additional Courses
Consider additional courses outside of a student's core curriculum. Other studies in different mediums will introduce what a college student can expect from a college course load. Consider these popular options:
A prep class for a standardized test like the ACT or SAT.
A webinar covering personal finance for people under the age of 25.
An online class through a community college.
Taking an additional course has immediate benefits while also showing college admissions a person's interests and commitment to bettering themselves.
3. Use Summer Wisely
Encourage your child to pursue a summer job or internship in a field they think might interest them in the future. A part-time job can help confirm or deny what might seem to be just a "fleeting interest." A child with a part-time job often has a heightened sense of independence and self-worth.
4. Discuss Money Management
If you have not already, set up a bank account for your child. Schedule time to sit down and create a budget including your child's income (earned wages and allowance), expenses, and savings and what financial goals they might have for 1-5 years down the road.
Also, have open and honest conversations on how much college costs and how your family plans to pay for their college.
5. Discuss the Doors College can Open
If your child is not entirely convinced they should attend college, try to mention the following points:
Many jobs require a college degree and have higher starting salaries.
Alumnae networks spread far and wide and can help in a variety of ways.
It is helpful to have background knowledge before diving into hands-on learning in a role.
College years are incredibly formative and bless you with memories and friendships to enter adulthood with.
6. Practice Independence (Within Reason)
Allow your kid to practice being an adult. Encourage them to clean up after themselves, manage their money and time, schedule their own doctor's appointments, problem-solve on their own before calling you, and more.
Your child (and their potential partner or roommates) will thank you if you have instilled a sense of self-sufficiency in your child before they leave for college.
7. Acknowledge Change is Hard
Significant life changes can be difficult for a family. A kid going away to college is a significant change, especially if they are the first child in the family to do so.
Talk as a family about how things will be different and how they will still be the same.
Acknowledge that everyone will adjust to the change differently.
Set expectations on how everyone will stay connected - daily or weekly phone calls, keeping parents abreast of academics, and what it will look like to be home during a break.
In case of an emergency, discuss the line of communication.
Lastly, remind your child you will be there for them no matter the situation.
You Are Now Ready to Help Prepare Your Child for College
Open conversations, life lessons on basic skills, and solid high school education are surefire ways to set a student up for success in college. If your daughter is nearing high school age and you are reviewing educational options in the Greater Houston area, consider enrolling her at St. Agnes Academy
The college preparatory curriculum prepares students for college-level courses, lectures, and labs. We strive to prepare students for the future by creating a learning environment that encourages independent thinking through a diverse curriculum.
As you think more about how to prepare your kid for college and navigate your daughter's future, reach out to us for support. We are here to help on the next stage of the journey!