As a parent, nothing makes you more proud than helping to prepare your child for college.
Knowing your child is preparing for college and, more importantly, adulthood, is very rewarding. All of your love and support is starting to pay off, but you know there is still a lot to do.
Here are a few ways you can help prepare your child for college over the summer.
Prepare Your Child for Entering College
Hopefully by now you and your teen have been discussing and researching college options and have set a few goals. There is a lot to think about. Will your teen move away to attend college, or stay closer to home? Either way, summer is a great time to set up college tours to get a feel for campus life. Applying for college admissions before senior year of high school could prevent future stress and allow for a smoother senior year.
Prepare Your Child for College Academics
Enroll your child in college-level courses and schedule standardized tests as early as possible. Summer classes are available at most community colleges. Your child could even get college and/or high school credit. Remember that college entrance exams such as SAT and ACT can be taken several times to garner a better score, plus it makes great practice. Talk to your teen’s high school guidance counselor to help point you in the right direction. You may also want to look into tutoring or test prep groups such as The Princeton Review.
Prepare Your Child for College Budgeting
Talk to your child about money management. Does your teen know how to balance a checkbook, debit card or manage a credit card? Have you started making dorm room purchases? (Tip: You may want to start with basics until you see the room.) What are your expectations? Does your teen need to get a summer job and start a savings account?
The more money your family saves now, the less you may need to borrow later. What are the realistic college costs? Most college websites will post the Cost of Attendance with a breakdown of estimated fees.
Here are some expenses to think about:
- Tuition and fees related to specific academic programs
- Room and board
- Books and supplies
- Transportation and/or parking
- Personal expenses.
Prepare Your Child for Being Apart
If your child is going away to college, use the coming months to talk about how often you’ll keep in touch, and by what means. Will you check in daily? Weekly? Will you call? Email? Text? Does a Facebook/Instagram post count? If you discover that you have different expectations about communications, the coming summer months are a perfect time to come up with a plan.
Knowing how to prepare your teenager for college isn’t something that’s going to come naturally. Do as much research as you can, and keep checking back on the My Red Kite Blog for more tips!