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7 Things Your Child Needs to be Doing to Prepare for College - Starting College

Finishing school and heading to college for the first time is a stressful time for any parent. Preparation is the key to your child fitting in quickly to a new environment, so here are seven things that’ll help them from the get-go to feel more comfortable with their place of education. 

1.    Time Planning 

This critical skill carries over into all wakes of life, but will become important for the first time when your child begins attending college. Whereas school would somewhat regimentally provide them with a plan and schedule to work to, college work is considerably less structured. 

Deadlines naturally still exist, but there’ll be a lot more time for your child to be working on their set projects. It’s important they start getting to grips with time management now, so when they head to their new classes they know how to cope. 

This can be done as simply as by drawing up a short timetable and working out times when they’ll need to be studying or writing for different subjects. 

2.    Budgeting 

This might sound like an odd one, but making sure your child has enough money every week to be able to purchase lunch and general necessities is something that could go easily overlooked. 

While some parents might provide pocket money for this, others may at this stage want to be actively encouraging their children to begin preparing a weekly budget out of their own funds, as they look to ensure they’re well-kept in hot meals for the week. 

3.    Stationery 

Stock up on your stationery. While you only need a few pens and a notepad to get your child through the first few weeks of college, you’ll find this sort of stuff will quickly begin to run out for them. 

To save time, make the most of all the amazing offers that there’ll be on stationery over the course of the summer holidays. Items are cheaper at this time of the year thanks to sales, so bulk-buy now and stock up on a year’s worth of paper and ink (your child will need it all eventually, trust us). 

If your child is studying a specialist subject like science or maths, also remember to make sure they have all the required additional equipment which will be necessary for their course (protractors, calculators etc.). 

4.    Purchase a Laptop 

While that aforementioned stationery will probably be enough to see them through the first year, buying a laptop will also make their job considerably easier. This doesn’t have to be a top-of-the-range budget-buster, just a bog-standard one which can keep track of their Word documents. 

In the modern era it’s been made considerably easier to keep on top of essays and assignments with the introduction of laptops, so bringing in one for your child will only serve to make things simpler for them as the year progresses. 

5.    Taking More Independence 

Instead of doing everything for them over the next few weeks, instead try gently encouraging them to take life into their own hands. That can be anything as extreme as making them do their own shopping and getting around without you, to telling them to do their own washing up.

While a lot of those chores might not have a direct correlation with what it is your child will be asked to do at college, it will nevertheless provide them with the feeling of independence that’s integral to personal study. 

Falling into lazy habits will see your child begin to slack when it comes to the hard work they’re going to be experiencing as the years progress. This will also put them in fantastic stead for when they go to university or simply move out of your home and fend for themselves. 

6.    Read up on Subjects 

We’re aware the last thing a young boy or girl wants to be doing before heading back to school is reading about a subject they’ll be spending the next two years working very hard on. 

However, it really is in their best interest to get something of an understanding of what it is they’re going to be sinking their teeth into. Most courses and reading materials are broken down online, so encourage them to find this background information and ensure they’re reading it. 

Arriving at college with a background knowledge of the subject they’re trying to earn a qualification in will only make their job easier, as they strive to make the most of their two years and come out with top grades. 

7.    Tell Them to be Friendly and Open 

This one isn’t so much about preparation as it is about making sure they don’t find themselves somewhat isolated in a new environment. It’s naturally very hard for some people to walk into a room full of strangers and start chatting away like nobody’s business, but openness is the key. 

This can be particularly hard for people who are shy or introverted, but if your child tries their best they can break through that ice. Give some useful advice about how you made friends at school. You’d be surprised how little has changed over the years when it comes to forming new bonds. 

Also remember to remind your child that while there might be some people from their secondary school there who they are already friends with, it’s important not to neglect or ignore new people. Friendships are free-flowing things and can change at any time. 

These are just seven tips which will help your child as they prepare to go to college for the first time. This new period in their life will no doubt bring huge ups and downs, but, if they head into this new environment with this advice in mind, it should be just that little bit easier for them. 


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