Whether your teen is going to college this Fall, or in a few years, early preparation for college life can make for a smooth transition. Did you know that most entering college freshmen significantly overestimate their ability to adjust, 25% of college Freshmen do not return to that college their sophomore year, and only 51% of entering Freshmen will graduate within five years?
Those figures indicate to me that many teens are not as prepared for the academic, social, and emotional changes that are typical of the college experience.
Therefore, I thought it beneficial to cover some tips for helping your teen heading off to college (and for the transition you’ll experience at home, too!). If you’re a parent of a soon-to-be junior or senior in high school, I hope this is helpful information to keep ‘on the back burner’.
OPEN COMMUNICATION -
- Solicit your teen’s thoughts and feelings regarding leaving the familiarity of home and their friends. Ask about things they’re excited about or what they wonder college might be like.
- Share stories from your own college experience, or that of peers, family, etc.
- Discuss with your partner/co-parent (if applicable) what expectations you’d like to convey to your teen regarding academics and financial responsibility for college. (e.g., What GPA are you willing to continue to contribute to college for?, Is your teen expected to get a part time job or student loans?, etc.)
- Expect that it will take some time to get adjusted to the new surroundings; to strike a balance between academics, activity/sports involvement, and social life.
GIVE PRACTICAL ASSISTANCE- prior to heading to the dorms, it’s helpful that your teens know the following bits of daily living skills.
ENCOURAGE INVOLVEMENT AND SOCIALIZING
- Encourage them to get involved in school activities and campus life. Having a balance between academics and social life is key.
- Research groups and activities available on campus. Being involved in a group will help introduce them to upperclassmen and peers with similar interests. Have them consider starting a sport or activity for Fall, to meet other students earlier than Freshman orientation.