Jul 15, 2021

How to Help Your Teen Prepare for College Life

The topic of what one wants to be when one grows up is becoming more pressing in many teens' lives, and many teenagers respond by ignoring it or becoming agitated about future plans like college. What are some ways that you as a parent can help your teen prepare for college life? A teen-friendly approach is the greatest place to start. Here are some pointers for parents like yourself who'd like to help.

Talk About Their Career Options and Interests

Once your child has picked a few career options that they might be interested in, work with them to create a list of advantages and disadvantages. This will assist them in better analyzing their options and determining which ones are a suitable match for them. Remember, this is your child's life, not yours, and use a gentle hand when doing so. They should, in the end, be satisfied with their decision. They may or may not be interested in going to college. A trade job may be more suitable for them. 

If college is the route they want to take help them examine the school path required for their dream career once you've identified some main interests. Is it feasible? What schools provide such an education? Is it affordable? All of these sessions should include your child so that they understand the logistics of achieving their professional goal. For example, if your child is interested in accounting, talk about what they'd need to do in order to become an accountant. This may include obtaining a four-year degree in the subject and taking the CPA exam, which was first administered in New York in 1896.

Discuss Dorm Life and How to Live With a Roommate

When a parent thinks about dorm life, the pictures that come to mind may feel too mature for your teenager. Sure, college can be a wild and chaotic time, especially if your child is going to live in a dorm, but there are a few things about dorm life that you can talk to them about. Set your teen up for success as a college roommate and as someone responsible.

Teach your child how to communicate in a healthy way if you haven't previously talked about it as a family so that issues don't become toxic and accusatory. For example, if they get into a heated argument with their roommate or an issue arises, teach them that confronting the person is crucial rather than having the roommate learn about the displeasure through the grapevine. Communicating with respect and an open mind is key when sharing a space with a stranger.

Help Your Teen Find a Part-Time Job

Working a part-time job while in school can help your college student obtain useful work experience while also providing them with some extra cash to help pay for their educational bills. However, getting a part-time job while in college is not always easy.

Encourage your teen to contact local companies as well as their future college's career center for information. They can inquire about positions on campus with the career center personnel as well as browse for openings on the campus job board. There may be local businesses needing workers for pop-up shops, as they're attracting the attention of small businesses worth $50 billion in the United States. Whether your teen works for the campus bookstore, a local grocery store, or a local pop-up shop, what's most important is the experience and the contacts they've met along the way.

Talk About Anxieties Related to Leaving Home

Even academically proficient students can fail in college due to a lack of emotional readiness for this new stage of life and being far from home. Allow your child to be more independent in regards to homework and chores. This will help them become more robust so they can cope with anxiety and the stress of leaving the safe bubble they have been living in for years.

Talking about these issues is important, as your child may become overly reliant on you despite living in a dorm hundreds of miles away. Teach stress-reduction techniques such as exercising, meditating, listening to relaxing music, and participating in a hobby. This will give your child the confidence they need to confront the challenges that come with leaving home.

Teach Your Teen How to Budget Their Money

Aside from tuition, college offers a slew of new costs that should be discussed with your child openly and honestly. First-year students will be confronted with a new level of financial responsibility and will require assistance. It's incredibly easy to squander money without recognizing it. However, the more frugal your student becomes, the less debt they will accumulate. As a result, discuss how everything from books to food will be paid for, as well as who will be liable for what.

For example, some parents are ready to pay for a student's books and food plan, but only if the student covers any other costs, such as supplies and eating out. In addition, how your child finances their expenses is a crucial topic to discuss. Decide whether your teen will use a credit or debit card, set a limit for them, and show them how to budget how they spend the money they've been given. Around 68 million Americans have poor credit, and a simple talk can save your child and you from a difficult financial situation.

Keeping your teenager on the correct path as they go to college can assist them in making sound decisions. Sending your child to college is an exciting step in their life, so help them prepare for the changes they'll face now.

Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.

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