Among life’s many transitions is moving from high school to higher education, full-time work, or other paths. It can be an exciting time for both young adults and their families. It can also be fraught with uncertainty and anxiety. If your child is getting ready to leave the nest and head to college, you may find yourself wondering how you can best help them prepare. This is a time of letting go and encouraging independence, but you can still be there to support and encourage them. Take a look at these tips on how to set your child up for success in college. There are direct actions you can take that will provide your student with solid footing for this upcoming journey.
Help Them Find Quality Housing
One of the first things you’ll want to do to help establish your young adult child in their new college environment is to discuss the type of housing that is best for them. Some students want to transition to student housing during their freshman year, while others may prefer to practice their newly-found independence by setting up residence in their own apartment. Both have advantages and disadvantages. A residence hall can help to ease students into college life by providing them with a resident adviser to guide them and peers who are also new to campus. Off-campus apartment living might be a quieter environment that encourages autonomy for more individualistic students. It can be more difficult to find off-campus housing. Consider searching online near your University. For example, if you are going to school in Seattle you might search for University District apartments in Seattle to find the best options. What matters most is that they feel safe and have a place to consider home base as they navigate this new world of higher education.
Determine Best Communication Guidelines
Staying in touch with your child is important to you. It matters to them, as well. However, this is a time for them to spread their wings. You’ll want to establish some basic guidelines regarding how often you’ll talk and through what methods. Let your student know you want them to contact you is an emergency and that you’re always there for them. At the same time, you’ll also want them to understand that you encourage them to grow and explore on their own; you don’t expect them to be in constant contact. Perhaps set up a regular day to touch base. This type of routine can be comforting for everyone. Figure out which methods work well for everyone. A weekly phone call or video call might be suggested, with occasional check-ins through Facebook messenger or text.
Identify Support Professionals
When your child chooses a school and is accepted, you’ll want to identify key support professionals. Getting to know where to find help and support before arriving on campus will provide your child with confidence. They’ll want to be able to find such resources as their academic adviser, tutoring services, financial aid and the health center. Encourage them to reach out to these offices and personnel as needed. Being proactive in dealing with issues as they arrive will save them a great deal of worry, frustration, and potential harm.
Encourage Campus Involvement
There’s so much more to the college experience than just academics. While grades and learning are a central part of higher education, these years also opportunity for growth. You’ll want to encourage your child to get involved on campus in ways that are fun for them and that allow them to explore their interests. Clubs, sports, and volunteer positions are all opportunities to gain valuable skills and to make friends. These years are crucial to identity development, as well. By becoming a well-rounded student, your child will also learn a lot about who they are as a person.
Support Their Autonomy
Before they leave for college, it’s a good idea to have conversations with your child about independence and autonomy. Let them know that their educational experience is in their hands. They have the responsibility to take charge of what and how they learn. If they are feeling behind in a class, they should talk to the professor and ask for help. It’s also their job to reach out to tutoring services if need be. Let them know it’s okay to speak up in order to ensure their needs are met.
Keep these tips in mind as you prepare your student for higher education. These steps will help set your child up for success in college and beyond.