Preparing Your Teenager for College: A Guide for Parents

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A college degree is an important milestone in a person’s life. Quality college education allows individuals the opportunity to earn more money and land better career opportunities.

Not all high school teenagers, however, are excited or looking forward to college or university life. According to a report published in Harvard Health Publishing, 63 per cent of the surveyed college students said that they felt overwhelming anxiety. The report added that the biggest rise in anxiety happens during the initial transition to university or college life.

The good news is that parents can take steps to help their kids adjust well to college life. Here are six strategies that parents can use to encourage and prepare their teen for a new life:

  1. Enrol Your Teen in an IB Programme

Consider enrolling your teenager to an educational institution that offers quality international baccalaureate (IB) programmes. An IB school prepares high school students for college-level work and improves their critical thinking skills. What’s more, students enrolled in an IB programme have the potential to gain practical career-related skills that can help them land a good job.

If your child is interested in enrolling in an IB school, encourage them to check with their counsellors about their intended program for further details.

  1. Teach Your Child to Be Self-Reliant

College students should learn to live independently. As a parent, this means that you need to take a couple of steps back and allow your teen to learn what they need to do on their own.

Start by allowing them to schedule appointments with their doctor or dentist, figure out public transportation by themselves and ask for directions when necessary. Then, let your teen do most of the chores. They should know how to do basic household stuff, such as doing the laundry, cooking simple meals, cleaning the room and washing the dishes.

As much as possible, resist the temptation to step in and solve your child’s problems for them. You want them to stand on their own two feet and not feel the urge to reach out to you every time they hit a life obstacle.

  1. Highlight the Importance of Managing Their Money or Allowance

Once your teen is on their own, they’ll need to learn proper money management. If they’re receiving an allowance or income from a part-time job, for instance, they should know how to spend that money wisely. This means keeping their expenses in check, such as living costs and other incidentals like hanging out with classmates to eat or watch a movie.

An example way to teach money management is to encourage your child to come up with a budget spreadsheet that lets them track the expenses they incurred for the month. This sheet will let them know if they need to dial back on their monthly spending. By taking them the value of personal finance, your teenager can avoid money pitfalls or shortages.

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  1. Teach Your Child to Manage Time Wisely

Effective time management is essential to the success of a student. When imparting this valuable skill, go beyond demonstrating how to create a basic to-do list. Teach them these other time management hacks:

  • Start by tackling small tasks – College students may feel overwhelmed with major exams and projects. When prioritising tasks, begin with a subject requirement that’s less complex and requires less time to complete.
  • Do One Thing at a Time – Trying to juggle multiple assignments and tasks won’t help your teen get their work done more quickly. Students should focus on one task at a time.
  • Identify and Avoid Time Wasters – During study time, your teen should avoid entertaining common distractions, such as social media and mindless web surfing.
  1. Encourage Them to Hone

    Their Communication Skills

Besides time management, college students should know how to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Excellent communication skills are necessary to succeed in college, the corporate world or business.

Suggest your teen to take up communication classes or lessons. Alternatively, find a mentor who could help them brush up on their speaking or writing skills.

  1. Help Them Research Colleges or Universities

If your teen isn’t sure which college or university to enrol in, lend a helping hand. You could ask them to search for universities that cater to their interests. If they want to pursue engineering, for instance, find a school that offers undergraduate degree programs on engineering. Then, list down the top five colleges or universities. Give your child the opportunity to look at what each school has to offer.

These six suggestions will help you prepare your son or daughter for college life. Adequate preparation will make sure that your teenager won’t have a difficult time fitting in and completing school requirements.

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