Preparing Your Children for Their First College Semester | Gregg Jaclin

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The days of high school will soon be a distant memory as your child prepares to leave the nest and venture out on their own for the first time as a college freshman. Making sure they know what to expect once they step foot on campus is the biggest challenge parents face as they get ready to send their child off to college. Here are some tips to start your college student off on the right foot.

Talk about expectations.

College is different from high school. The coursework is often challenging and more intense, which can leave some unsuspecting students feeling overwhelmed by the end of the first semester. Talk to your child about what they should expect in terms of homework, tests, and general coursework. Advise them to keep in contact with their professors and to seek help in a timely manner if they feel they’re struggling with a particular subject.

Share your experiences.

Parents are their child’s first teacher. That responsibility doesn’t end when they head off to college. While you’re no longer waking them up for school and packing their lunches, you are responsible for ensuring they are prepared for college emotionally. Share your own college experience with them, including your failures. Knowing that their parents messed up a few times and lived to tell the tale will take some of the burden off of them to be perfect.

Teach them time-management.

Managing their time is a big hurdle for new college students to overcome. They’re used to their parents taking care of almost everything and keeping them on task, but being on their own means a majority of the responsibility falls on them. Help them set alarms and fill out a calendar or planner to keep their schedule in line. Share with them any other time-management tips you may have as well. If they really seem to struggle with the task of effectively managing their time, encourage them to connect with relevant campus staff, such as those working in the tutoring center, for additional aid.

Let them know it’s okay to make mistakes.

Clearly communicate with them your expectations when it comes to their behavior and academics, but also let them know that they’re human and it’s okay to mess up sometimes. Not only is it okay, it’s expected. Remind them that making mistakes is part of growing up and learning how to be a responsible adult.

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