Education

Preparing Your High School Teen For College

In just a few weeks, high school students across the country will graduate. Although adjusting to distance learning amid the pandemic was challenging, now it’s time to prepare them for another phase in their lives. Though bittersweet, ensuring that your teen knows how to handle themselves in this ever-changing world is vital to their success. So, how do you ensure your teen is ready for college? Here are a few things to add to the list. 

Housing

If your teen is attending college far away from home, they’ll need a place to stay. Fortunately, there are several affordable options available. Start by applying for campus housing. If your teen isn’t eligible or all the dorms are taken, another solution is student housing. Some colleges and universities have apartments and rental units near campus that are leased to students in need. Finally, there’s the option to rent an Airbnb or have your teen live with relatives. 

Whichever housing option is best for your family, ensure your teenager is part of the process. Show them how to find an appropriate place to stay based on factors like budget, location, and convenience. Allowing them to make informed decisions about where they’ll spend the next few years of their lives gives them a sense of independence. 

Medical Care

A mentally and physically healthy student is more inclined to succeed in college. Although you’re used to scheduling doctor and dentist appointments for wellness checks, cleanings, and necessary treatment, it’s now in your child’s hands. Give your teen an insurance card, shot records, and any other medical-related information they need. If you don’t have insurance, look for affordable solutions for students. 

Next, look for qualified healthcare professionals near campus. For example, if they’re attending DePaul University or the University of Chicago, you might look for a Chicago Loop dentist, doctor, and ophthalmologist. Show your teen how to check credentials, reviews, service costs, and insurance providers to make the best selection. 

Everyday Survival Skills

As much as you’d like to be there to handle your teen’s everyday needs, you can’t. The best way to put your minds at ease is to give them a few survival skills. Before heading off to college, your teen needs to know how to cook, clean, wash clothes, and handle emergencies. Start letting your teen tackle household chores for practice. Teach them how to keep things organized, sort laundry, use the various functions on the washing machine and prepare simple yet healthy meals. 

When it comes to safety, there are a few conversations you need to have. Although some may be awkward, it’s essential to their overall well-being. Talk to your teen about parties, drugs, safe sex, friendships, and security measures like locking doors, reporting suspicious activities, and self-defense mechanisms. You can take your teen to self-defense classes or purchase them mase, a flashlight, or a whistle for added protection. 

Financial Management

If there’s one thing your teenager will need to know about college life and adulthood, it’s financial management. Failure to properly accumulate and manage money during the next two to four years will complicate their experience. Although you may have taught them about earning money and saving money through chores, you’ll need to be more in-depth. 

Your teen needs to know ways to earn money, calculate their expenses, and ensure they have enough to cover the bills. They should also learn about credit and managing financial products like credit cards and loans. They must understand the importance of being a responsible borrower to avoid graduating with tons of debt

Realizing that your teenager is going off to college is challenging. All their lives, you’ve been the driving force in ensuring they have everything they need. As college is often the next step towards adulthood, you can reduce their struggles (and give yourself peace of mind) by providing them sound advice. Ensuring that they have comfortable housing, medical care, and a few everyday survival skills will make this milestone in their lives easier for everyone.

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