Almost every parent starts preparing for their children’s education immediately after birth. This is supported by statistics indicating that Americans intend to save up to $57,981 for college expenses. And no wonder- higher education can give anyone an added advantage in the world, enabling them to get prestigious jobs with lucrative benefits. Perhaps your child has finally graduated from high school and is preparing to continue their tertiary education. You already have the funds, but is your child prepared for the new journey? Here are some practical ways to psyche them up for college.
1) Guide them in the process of selecting their universities
The time to pick a university is here! While this can be exciting, your kids can quickly become overwhelmed, seeing that there are several schools to choose from. They can even develop anxiety from wondering if their school choice is the wisest decision. You can ease their stress and tension by guiding them through the process. The first thing you should do is create a list of their favorite schools. However, this should not be done at face value; you and your child must determine how each school will impact them socially, academically, and personally. You should also listen to what they need; some may want an academically inclined institution, while others may prefer one with more social connection.
After creating a list, it’s time to weigh them until the best option stands out. In this stage, you will want to factor in your funds. You don’t want a situation where your lack of finances will stress your kid when in school. Therefore, opt for one that you can comfortably pay for. You should also visit the campuses; first-hand experiences will give you a feel of what a school is like, helping your kid to make a more informed decision. You will also want to choose an institution that prioritizes higher ed strategic planning, as students are more likely to easily achieve their college goals in a college that receives this type of assistance. By all means, avoid compelling them to choose a particular school or major if they don’t want to.
2) Now is the time to teach them basic life skills
College life can be pretty exciting, especially for students who are leaving home for the first time. However, life on campus is definitely no bed of roses- things can be pretty costly around there. Therefore, things they could get away with at home may harm them in this environment. For instance, they may find themselves running through their monthly allowances at an alarming speed when buying food daily. Moreover, they risk conflicts with roommates if they can’t clean up after themselves. Therefore, take it upon yourself to equip your kids with these essential life skills to make their stay on campus more pleasant.
For instance, cooking is something they will benefit greatly from; they can have a wide variety of meals without breaking the bank. Let them help in the kitchen, and encourage them to try new recipes on their own. Another skill they need is cleaning and laundry; this way, they can maintain a clean environment and avoid being called names by their roommates. Let them tag along when performing these tasks at home, and teach them how to use the washing machine, dryer, vacuum cleaner, and so on.
3) Money management is essential for survival on campus
As stated earlier, takeouts and restaurant meals can harm a college student’s finances. But it doesn’t end here. Students often make the mistake of buying new sets of textbooks and expensive devices for a one-time assignment. Likewise, some make it a point to live luxuriously, especially when they don’t have the means to sustain this lifestyle. It will also be a huge financial mistake if your kid can’t create a feasible budget, as they won’t be able to track their expenses and how much they spend. Moreover, the lack of financial planning leaves them more vulnerable to impulse buying, causing them to waste more money.
Before heading off to college, your child must learn the importance of money management and how to find ways to cut expenses and save more. For instance, they can ditch the new textbooks for already used ones, as they are cheaper. They must also learn to draw a practical budget, prioritizing their needs over their wants. Anything they can live without is considered a luxury and should be put on hold until all the necessities are taken care of. Peer pressure is also a real money waster, so encourage your kids to avoid wasteful friends. They should also try to rescue their credit card use and leverage cash instead.
4) College students cannot afford to waste their time
Time management is important for all college students, as they must juggle various activities within a limited period. They must get to class, complete many assignments, go for their individual or group studies, study for tests, work on projects, and other academic activities. Moreover, all work and no play won’t complete the college experience, so students have to make time for recreational things like parties, road trips, picnics, and so on. Some students also have to work to support their finances. How, then, do they engage in all these without burning out? Can they get time to rest?
This is where time management comes in. As a parent, you can teach your kids how to use their time wisely before they move on to their campuses. Let them create a daily schedule, allocating time to each task they wish to embark on. Appreciate their efforts when they keep the schedule, and motivate them if they struggle to do so. With time, they will master the art of effective time management.
5) Don’t let them leave without proper advice
Although colleges are places to be imparted with academic knowledge and skills, it’s not without its share of social life. Colleges are where people meet their future partners, while others fully embrace casual dating and whatever comes with it. People also get hooked on drugs and alcohol due to destructive peer pressure. Therefore, you are responsible for discussing these issues with your kids. While at it, avoid telling them what they can or can’t do, as this may spark defiance. Instead, explain to them the importance of safe sex and how alcohol and drugs can affect them. Encourage them to find their way but always be careful to avoid making mistakes. Make them your friends by encouraging them to talk to you about anything and suppress the urge to be judgemental.