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Dr. Victor Schwartz, www.hlntv.com
August 27, 2012
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High school senior year can fly by. You might suddenly find yourself watching your son or daughter packing for college next fall while wondering how it all happened so fast.
Through the events and excitement of the next 12 months, it’s important to set aside some time to make the transition to college campus life as smooth as possible. Here are some tips to help you both along the way:
- Don’t overlook the basics: Make sure your son or daughter knows how to perform tasks like doing their own laundry and food shopping. Discuss personal finances, especially credit cards and cell phone bills. Prepare your high school senior with a gradual increase of responsibility during the year: A big part of living on a college campus is self-management, recognizing limits, and setting proper priorities. Don’t be afraid to step back a little and let them make decisions that will help build accountability both personally and academically. Part-time jobs are also highly recommended.
- Encourage use of the resources at the high school: Have them schedule time to speak with the college guidance counselor in order to better understand their goals and aspirations. School professionals can be excellent sounding boards for young people and offer a different perspective than family or friends.
- When choosing colleges, don’t overlook the personal preferences of your son or daughter: Some people might thrive at a large university near an urban center, but others prefer a small rural college campus. Some young adults might be comfortable living thousands of miles away, while others will want to remain within a closer distance. Have these discussions and let them openly share their own thoughts and feelings.
- Think back with your senior to any previous times when they have been on their own: Consider whether there have been any problems as a result of these brushes with independence, pinpoint what they might have been, and talk about the difficulties together in order to anticipate —and hopefully avoid — recurrences of these problems while away on campus.
One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer is to approach the college selection and attendance process as an opportunity for growth and enjoyment. Although you might be feeling anxiety while this process unfolds, it’s important to remember that college is about learning and maturing.
Where your son or daughter goes is way less important than finding a fit that works well. Every change and developmental step has difficulties associated with it, but by taking thoughtful and sensible steps you can make the process and outcome healthier, happier and more successful for your kids.
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