We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.
Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)
Elsa, in the movie Frozen, said it best, “Let it go.” Easier said than done. After 18 years of parenting, it can be hard to let go of the person you remember feeding, consoling, and caring for through their first heartbreak. At one point, you were their everything. And now, you seem to not have a purpose other than being a bank.
Truthfully, the idea of your student heading off to college may send you on an emotional rollercoaster. And you’re not alone – while they are so very excited to go, they are also freaking out on the inside. Here’s how to make sure that you both get through this transition as smoothly as possible.
There is so much growth between the ages 18 and 22. They will grow more in these four years as much as they did when they started to walk and talk – a new set of freedom and independence and new vocabulary and suddenly they seem invincible!
But trust us, when your student is homesick or stressed from studying all night, or when they are elated over learning a new process or mastering a new topic, you will be the first one they want to call.
Here are some things to be prepared for:
Be prepared to not see your student so much this summer. The closer it gets to August, the less you can expect see your kiddo. He/she will likely be spending every waking hour with friends. Allow them this special time together.
Make a financial plan. Have “the talk.” This is not a free ride. Nor are they expected to fully cover all their financial needs. Develop a budget and be clear about who is responsible to pay for what. Parents traditionally pay for tuition, books, and room/board. But it is not unreasonable to expect that your student keep a part time job to help cover costs like late night pizza, activities, and Greek life. Some students do work-study programs to help earn a percentage of their tuition. Teach your child about responsible use of credit cards. Now is a great time to help them build credit so they can be a bit more independent upon graduation.
Discuss academic goals and expectations. Remember, there is a huge transition going on here: socially, emotionally, and academically. Some freshmen do very well freshman year, while others struggle to get a hang of the new schedule and the independence. It’s also very common to be inspired to change their prospective major choice. Many parents tell students that they must keep a certain GPA to get special or enhanced privileges (like spending) or to bring a car to campus. It is important for your student to take ownership of their education and their process for learning, but remind them that while grades are important, they are not everything.
Keeping up with your college student. It’s important to let your student spread their wings and take flight, but it is also important to make sure there are times when he/she checks in. While some families like to have a planned time to chat, others like to give their students the freedom to call and talk when their schedule allows. Either way, let your student know that you will not call or text daily and that you do expect that they reach out to let you know how things are going. You can text them and let them know you’re thinking of them, just don’t expect a reply to every message. It is also good to discuss being Facebook, Snap Chat Instagram, or Twitter friends/followers. These apps can give you a snapshot of what your child is up to and allow your student’s friends to find you if they are worried about any behaviors.
This transition will take time and it will feel funny until your family finds their “new normal.” It will happen. Have faith. Know that all that hard work you put into these last 18 years will be noticeable. And they appreciate you more than ever…even if they never admit it.
Have the Talk
Between the prom, graduation, and end of year ceremonies, find some special time to have a talk with them about the summer months and transition to life after high school.
Set expectations. Give them more hugs than you think they want. Remember that they might be out of sight, but they will never be far from your heart and thoughts.
Were there any subjects this year that your student struggled with a bit? Help them look into some study materials or summer bridge class options that can give them a great head start when heading into the fall.
Senior final exams – certainly some mixed feelings and conflicting interests this time of year. They probably have more interest in the many end of high school activities than they do studying. Nevertheless, help them do their best in preparing for finals!
myOWNEDU for Schools!
We work with schools to bring college planning courses to students and offer free College Planning Presentations for parents. Learn more by clicking here.