As a parent, you play an important role in preparing your teenager for college. Whether your teen chooses to commute from home, live in a residence hall, or rent an apartment, there are a lot of topics to cover in regards to being a college student no matter where your child plans to reside.
Promote Good Study Habits
Teenagers sometimes tend to resist advice from Mom and Dad, but there are ways to promote good study habits without blatantly teaching your son or daughter how to properly prepare for a test. Try to make a special study area for your teenager that includes a fun seating arrangement like a pile of colorful oversized pillows, a beanbag chair, or a recliner, so that he or she would want to sit and read (think about the way your local library decorates the children’s books section). Place a desk in a corner where you could put oddly shaped bookends, pencil holders, or any other creative office supplies.
The point is to make the study area as inviting as possible. A place to study can be exciting and does not have to be boring. Do not put a radio or television in this area, or anything else that could easily distract your teen. If your teen is planning to live on campus, recreate this special study area in his or her dorm, and this might encourage your child to be more focused on studying.
Share Your College Experience
Give your teen insight into how you spent your college days, if you did attend. Tell stories about all of the fun campus activities in which you might have participated. Speak positively about influential professors or interesting courses.
By sharing your college experience with your teenager, he or she might become less stressed out, confused, or scared about going to college. Your teen might not display any of those emotions even though he or she is experiencing them, so do your best to alleviate any worries that your teen might be internalizing.
Also, by telling your teen about your good ol’ college days, you open the line of communication so that your teen will share his or her own stories with you and might even come to you for advice about course selections or roommate issues.
Teach Your Teen How to Save and Spend Wisely
Textbooks, rent, gas, and food cost a lot of money altogether. If your teen has never had to pay bills, sticking to budget while in college could be difficult. Also, if your teen has never worked a day in his or her life, now is the time to discuss the value of a dollar and how to earn a few bucks.
Encourage your teen to get a part-time job on the weekends or during the summer before the first semester, and advise him or her to save as much money as possible before starting school. This is especially important if your child plans to live off campus and pay rent.
Try not to be your child’s only source of financial income. Although it is fine to give teens money, they should also learn how to earn their own. Although your son or daughter could take out a student loan for living expenses, he or she should understand that loans could eventually add up to a lot of debt in years to come.
You and your teen should not have to worry about being able to afford whatever is needed to attend and succeed in college.