How to Prepare Your Teen for College
How to Prepare Your Teen for College
Sending your high school graduate off to college is a momentous milestone, but you might feel worried about their experience while they’re still living at home. If your teen is still in their early high school years, they may not express much interest or excitement about college. This guide explains how to prepare your teen for college so everyone’s ready when the time comes.
1. Send Them to Summer Camp
There aren’t many opportunities for middle schoolers to experience independence, but first-year and second-year high school students have a unique opportunity in summer camps. Look for sleepaway camps near your hometown and talk with your teen about which sounds the most interesting to them.
Whether they’re away for a weekend or two weeks, they’ll experience being on their own without moving out first. You can rest assured that they’ll love their college years if they thrive in their newfound independence. If not, they can prepare for college knowing how they adapted to life without their parents.
2. Create a Chore List
Chores are an essential part of getting ready for college. Your teen should know how to be a good roommate who gives back to their household rather than someone who expects their roommates to take care of them in place of their parents.
Parents who haven’t raised their teens with routine chores can follow a sample chore list to decide which responsibilities they can handle. Things like cleaning their bathroom, doing dishes every other night and vacuuming once a week will instill helpful habits that make life with roommates much easier.
3. Talk About Degree Options
Teens often have a few potential careers in mind when they start applying for college. Others need help seeing their full potential. Talking with your teen about the many degrees available to study could help them get ready for college.
People often picture traditional, common degrees like a Bachelor of Business Administration or Education. Your teen may need someone to point out lesser-known educational paths. You could mention how they would excel in getting a chemical engineering degree, which keeps people safe in places like pharmacies and manufacturing plants.
Discussing various degrees will open any young person’s worldview. They may picture their future differently and have an easier time picking a college or university.
4. Sign Up for Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteering with community service groups is an excellent way to get your teen ready for college. They’ll practice essential skills they’ll need in their classes and post-graduate life, like communication, teamwork and time management.
Your teen will also become a more competitive applicant by getting involved in your community. College admission boards want students who contribute to campus life, so look for potential opportunities at food banks, animal shelters and retirement homes. If you’re affiliated with a religious group, joining their outreach programs is another way for your teen to get ready for their university years.
5. Help Them Get a Job
It’s also healthy for teenagers to get part-time jobs. They’ll practice the same skills they would use during volunteer efforts, but they’ll get paid. Your teen may thrive as a waiter at a restaurant, a caddy at a local golf club or a cashier at your closest grocery store. They’ll kickstart their resume, which they’ll need for college applications and future internships.
6. Hire a Tutor
Passing standardized tests for college applications can take months of studying. Your teen will get higher scores and acceptance letters from more universities by getting a tutor early in high school. Look into virtual and in-person tutoring options to prepare them for the math, reading and writing sections. Additional training will help them earn a better score than the average score of 1051 and stand out from other applicants during their senior year.
7. Schedule Campus Tours
Colleges provide year-round tours for prospective students and their guardians. Your teen doesn’t have to wait until their junior year to visit potential campuses in person. Once they show interest in a few places, schedule tours to get them excited. They’ll either fall in love with their top choices or get a better idea of what they don’t want in their future school.
8. Teach Personal Care Skills
Every college student needs to know how to take care of themselves. The young adults who depend on their friends for everything quickly become burdens to their friends and roommates.
Start showing your teen how to manage skills like washing their laundry and fixing things around the house. Learning something as simple as fixing a leaky shower head will help them thrive during their upcoming independent college years.
9. Show Them How to Budget
Consider if your teen is in a place where they can learn how to budget. It’s a good idea for any young person who makes a part-time income or earns an allowance. Sit down together to calculate how much they make and set a savings goal.
During the time it takes to reach their goal — like getting the latest gaming console or cell phone — they should also learn how to pay for necessities to train for future bills. Restocking their shampoo, getting new school supplies and covering gas are a few ways teens can regularly budget for expenses before signing up for rent or utility bills in college.
10. Discuss Building a Healthy Diet
Making healthy meals is a common struggle for college students when they’ve never been in charge of feeding themselves before. Talk with your teen about how you plan your grocery lists and make each meal nutritious. They’ll start college understanding the importance of things like protein, fats and carbs without depending on fast food or convenience stores when they’re hungry.
Prepare Your Teen for College
Once you know how to prepare your teen for college, everyone can get ready for the near future. Practicing healthy habits, learning new skills and talking about potential career paths will help your teenager get excited about their upcoming college years.