5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for College

Jul 11, 2019 by

The dreaded day has come. Your child is officially grown and going off to school to secure their future. For most parents, sending your child away to college is a difficult task. It seems like just yesterday you were bringing them home as a newborn from the hospital.

Children grow so quickly, and it’s important to take advantage of every moment that you have with them. If you want to help them get ready for their college experience, you may not know where to start. Here are five simple tips to make their sendoff a success.

1. Enforce Their Financial Limits

Reality is going to be quite a shock for your college student. Having all the conveniences of home isn’t necessarily going to be at their disposal in a dorm or apartment near campus. The important thing is to teach them how to budget. If you’ve done your due diligence, your child already knows how to save. However, even with the best teachers, a child doesn’t always follow their instruction.

So it’s important that you let them know how much money they will have to live on. Break down their budget into months, weeks, and even days. Let them know that mom and dad are there for emergencies, but you cannot bail them out every month due to overspending.

Make sure they have a bank account, credit or debit card, and a firm understanding of what’s available. If they live it up one week, then they may have to eat Ramen noodles and beans the next. Handling money is something that should be taught all through life, but this is the point where they can put their knowledge to good use. Stress how expensive college is and that you cannot afford to pay for poor financial budgeting and overspending.

2. Introduce Them to Cost Cutting Measures

There are numerous ways to cut costs while they are away at college. One of the biggest expenses they will have is food. All college kids need to have a dorm refrigerator, toaster, crockpot, microwave, and a few other kitchen essentials.

Having a few kitchen appliances will let them cook good meals, and they can avoid eating out continuously. If they’ve purchased a meal plan on campus, then they can have at least three meals a day. However, there are going to be times that hunger strikes, and everything is closed.

Making soup in the microwave, grilled cheese in the toaster, and putting some chicken wings in a crockpot will make them the envy of the dorm. They can save a ton of money on groceries, but there are other ways to cut costs too. For instance, shop for school supplies and other needs on tax free days. It can add up to massive savings if you’re buying computers and such.

Open a credit card that gives cash back rewards each month. The extra money will come in handy to help pay for expenses. Also, many kids forgo having a car, and they use the bus, which can also be a substantial savings. Consequently, some colleges don’t allow freshmen to have cars. While these are just a few ways to save, there are plenty more that can make a significant impact in overall college living.

3. Create A Safety Plan

It’s imperative to have a safety plan in place. Your child should check in with you a couple times a week. Have designated times that they will call or text to ensure that everything is okay. You never know when an act of nature or other dangerous situation could happen on or near their campus. Having a plan of what to do in an emergency can ease both your minds. Remember to also enforce the following safety protocols:

1. Never go out alone after dark

2. Always travel with a group

3. Have emergency numbers programmed into their phone

4. Know where to get help on campus

4. Make Sure They Are Familiar with The Campus

Nothing can be more terrifying than being lost or not knowing where to go inside a large building. Even small community colleges have huge campuses. It’s important that your child knows their way around before the big day. You don’t want them hunting for their classes and showing up late in a panic.

No one feels successful when they are running behind. They need to familiarize themselves with the campus, know where their classes are, and be confident for school. Most colleges have open house and other meet and greet sessions to help calm the nerves and let students explore. There are also a number of summer camps worth exploring. Encourage them to go to these meetings because the information given is valuable to new students.

5. Cut the Apron Strings

The hardest thing for most parents to do is let go. Perhaps, the biggest advantage you could give your child is to give them some space. You must realize that they are going to be studying hard, attending classes, and maybe even working. Their time for socializing with the family will be at a minimum.

Be understanding to the process and realize that their world is no longer going to revolve around you. It’s a harsh reality, especially if parents are experiencing empty nest syndrome too. By giving your kids enough space, you can allow them to focus on their studies, which is why they are at college in the first place. You don’t want to get in the way of their future, but there will be an adjustment period.

The Big Day

When the big day arrives, you will certainly be emotional. Your child is going to have mixed emotions. They are excited about moving out and growing up, but it’s also scary too. However, you cannot let your emotions get in the way of their big day. Cry in private, and try to be as supportive as possible.

Always remain positive even if you think something is not up to your standards or you would do it differently. Remember, they get to make the decisions now. You raised them to be strong and independent, and they are going to put the skills you taught them to the test. Thankfully, you helped them prepare for college and life, and you will get to watch them reap the rewards of all your hard work.

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