Five Steps to Prepare Your Child for Their First College Semester

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves

The transition from high school to college is a critical one in everyone’s life, both for children and for their parents who worry about them along the way. Is there anything you can do as a parent to prepare your child for this monumental change? Luckily, the answer to that question is yes.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled five of the most effective steps you can take as a parent. Learn to help your kid as they head off into the real world, while at the same time not coming across as overbearing or neurotic. Let’s go!

Make sure their writing skills are up to the task.

Students from around the world say that the biggest shock for them when coming to college in the USA is the importance of essay writing. In their home countries, this element of education was not a focus of attention. After getting straight A’s back home, they come to intro History in college and get a C on their first essay. 

Soon, they learn the art of college writing, but it comes at a cost. For American natives, the transition from high school essays to college research papers is no walk in the park, too. Fortunately, there are many great tools online such as EssayPro. They are meant to help kids with writing if this is a weak spot of theirs. And it comes at a price that won’t break the bank.

Share your Own Experiences

Naturally, your child is probably not too interested in hearing what mom and pop got up to in their college days – they want to forge their own path. However, they might keep what you say latent inside them and find themselves applying your wisdom later on in their freshman year.

Don’t try to be too cold – tell your child about how you were too shy to talk to the girl across your dormitory hall for the entire semester or how you almost failed the first-semester Biology because you kept sleeping through class. Your child will take in this information and hopefully try to avoid your missteps. On the other hand, it’s okay for them to have some learning experiences early on.

Gear up! 

There’s no better graduation gift than a laptop, tablet, or whatever gadget is in fashion on college campuses at the time you’re reading this article. Every kid wants to fit in, and if yours shows up to class rocking a busted 6-year-old laptop or none at all, they could have some issues with self-esteem.

A new device is also symbolic, marking the person’s entrance into a new stage of life with new memories to be made. They are also great for stickers to show off your child’s flair. Outlets like Best Buy or Amazon tend to have impressive deals for students, so you can take advantage of that and save a few dollars.

Check out the Campus

This can be especially useful if your child is introverted or afraid of new experiences. It’s harrowing to show up right in the fall to an entirely new campus with new faces and buildings and scenery. Sometime before then, if you can, take a little excursion to the college space and check things out a bit. 

Where’s the dining hall? Where are the freshman dorms? Where do students hang out after class? Is there a college football team? Getting to know these sorts of details can smoothen what otherwise might be a sharp transition from one phase of your child’s life to the next. CollegeBoard, perhaps the leading educational platform in the states, has an excellent resource for planning visits to your child’s future college campus.

Let them Find their Way

This can be the hardest thing to do as a parent, but it’s crucial if you want your child to develop into an independent and resilient adult. When they get information about their freshman year roommates, don’t stalk them too much. Don’t try to force awkward conversations about sex on move-in day or accompany your child to initiation events, which are meant to be just for students.

There’s an old saying: “If you love them, let them go.” This applies to college, too. And if you give your child adequate personal space during their transition process, there’s a bigger chance they will be willing to share details about their college life with you, instead of you forcing them to spill the beans.

So, there you have it! That’s five steps you can take as a parent of a soon-to-be college student. We hope you heed these pointers and that your child finds their footing in college in no time. After all, college is not just a new adventure; it’s an opportunity.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow