Summer heat is sizzling, and many seniors are preparing for college. Going to a university is a new experience that can be overwhelming. Still, a few building blocks and life skills can make the difference between your student thriving or struggling once they leave home. Here are five things to think about to help your student feel ready for college.
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Air Force spouse Amy, who has four kids who went to college, said, “It’s surprising how many of my kids’ friends didn’t know how to do laundry or money budgeting.” If your child is always used to you pulling out a credit card for everything without a conversation about where that money comes from and how to use it well, they can get into financial trouble.
Predatory lending companies exist, so using discernment in finding scholarships, loans, or ways to pay for college so the bill with interest doesn’t surprise them on the other side of their degree is wise. Talk about bills like cars, phones, books, and more. Credit cards are easy for excited 18-year-olds to get, and a high bill can rack up faster than expected. Having clear conversations around money now and who is paying for what will save you time and headaches later.
No time travel is required, but time awareness? Yes.
Anita, a University Professor, shares, “The number one piece of advice I’d give to anyone is to foster your child’s sense of responsibility, timing, and pacing. Intelligence is important, but I’ve watched hundreds of smart kids literally fail college courses. They failed due to putting off, rushing assignments, coming to classes late or leaving early, and not paying attention to test dates.”
Keeping track of all the different due dates between assignments, tests, and classes can be tricky if it’s the first time a student has done so. Giving your child responsibilities and ownership of time now, when forgetting isn’t such a costly mistake, can be the difference between sinking or swimming through Freshman year fall midterms.
Juggling is a learnable skill.
College is like a charcuterie plate. There are many activities to get involved in, great causes, classes, possible significant others, homework, faith commitments, and general human living. (Although many first-year students would disagree, you do need more than energy drinks and chips to live on). Not being able to keep track or prioritize well can be detrimental to their grades and self-esteem.
Retiree Chandra remembers, “I started allowing my son to be more self-sufficient in high school, with guidance. He also had to advocate for himself first with the school, and if he needed help after, I’d step in to assist but not take over. I see so many kids in college that have no idea what to do because their mom did everything for them.”
Helping your child understand priorities and scheduling in high school can help them have a well-rounded life so they don’t burn out before they graduate college.
Make sure they are covered with raincoats, bedding, and insurance.
Although the first two things can be bought anytime, insurance may be forgotten on the checklist before they leave for college. Renter insurance through Armed Forces Insurance can give you and your student peace of mind while they are far away in case of any accidents, thefts, or damage. You can get a free quote from Armed Forces Insurance to make sure all your ducks are in a row before Greek Rush week happens.
“I love it when a plan comes together.”
Help your student plan for what college looks like for them. Do they want to play sports or have specific fields they wish to work in? Different colleges have varying degree programs, not to mention entry requirements. Having these conversations early so they know what is essential to them in college can help their Senior year and the transition go more smoothly.
If they are a sophomore or junior, it’s not too soon to start researching colleges and what needs to be done with volunteer hours, scholarships, or funding requirements on the line. Even if things change, making a long-term plan can help your student stay on track. This way, it’s not January of senior year, and you realize they should have taken the SAT three months prior.
This article is sponsored by the Armed Forces Insurance Foundation. Since 1887, Armed Forces Insurance (AFI) has existed with a single, unwavering purpose: To protect the people who protect our nation. Providing military members insurance for home, renters, auto, and much more. Created by former military leaders, AFI understands the challenges that military members face. Proudly serving active, retired, and former military members and their families for over 135 years. Click here to receive a quote today! Let AFI’s dedicated agents shop our network of national carriers to find the best value and options to fit your needs.
Written by Aj Smit – Aj Smit is the author of the book Red Thread: Weaving an Embodied Life of Joy, speaker, glitter enthusiast, and professional weaver of Joy. She is a military spouse in S. Korea with a pup and houseplants galore. Aj has led various Red Tents, retreats, and workshops internationally over the last ten years to help others discover how to weave creativity and curiosity into their lives. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @TheJoyWeaver and TheJoyWeaver.com