Our sponsor, Learning Rx Alpharetta–Johns Creek provides us with informative tips on ways to prepare our teen for college. While the transition from high school to college can be difficult for both the student and their parents, there are many ways that parents can help to make the change easier. Even though many students will be heading off to their freshman dorms in the next few weeks, parents still have time to use the tips below to prepare their new adult children for their upcoming experiences.
1. Teach them some basic life skills.
For teens who have always been under the guiding hand of their parents, college may be their first experience with managing finances. Rather than creating a budget yourself, help your child to create their own budget so that they know the process and can adjust it when necessary. For the technologically oriented (or for the mathematically challenged), Smartphone apps and programs like Mint.com can help them track their spending. This is also a good time to introduce your teen to credit cards. Many banks offer a student credit card with a low credit limit and no annual fee, which can help young adults learn about using credit cards responsibly while beginning the crucial business of establishing credit. Many college freshman also lack experience with basic household maintenance, so a lesson on laundry and regular cleaning may be necessary. If your teen will have a vehicle at college, be sure that they know how to maintain a vehicle as well. Besides teaching them about the frequency of oil changes and how to check basic fluids, don’t forget to teach them about emergency repairs such as changing a tire and jump starting a battery.
2. If you can, visit the college with them beforehand or spend a few days in the town before move-in day.
The first few days of the school year will be stressful enough, so by helping your new freshman find their classrooms and learn the layout of the campus, you’ll be able to take one stressor out of the equation. You can also use this time to learn about the area off-campus too, and help your student find their new bank, doctors’ offices, grocery store, etc.
3. Have your teen’s cognitive skills assessed.
While high school teachers provide plenty of guidance in their classrooms, college professors expect the students to take a much more active role in their education, so freshmen must learn how to teach material to themselves. A cognitive skills assessment will give you a snapshot of your teen’s core cognitive skills and reveal their intellectual strengths and weaknesses so they can better tailor their studying and self-instruction to their talents. Your local LearningRx brain training center offers Woodcock-Johnson III cognitive skills testing that only takes about an hour to complete. At LearningRx Alpharetta-Johns Creek and LearningRx Atlanta-Buckhead, mention this article to receive $75 off an assessment for your current or rising college student.
4. Give them a lesson in study skills and test-taking strategies.
Beyond the well-known principle that adequate sleep, food and water enhance brain function and improve test scores, your student should know some of these other tips as well:
Study and learn with your strengths. For instance, assume your child is trying to learn how cells divide. If your child’s cognitive skills test reveals strong auditory processing ability, he will be more successful if he makes up a story that illustrates cell division. On the other hand, if he is strong in visual processing, he should make a flow chart or draw pictures outlining the steps in the process. For more tips on studying according to your strengths, check out these suggestions from Gavilan College.
Manage time wisely. When they’re studying material or writing papers, students need to prioritize their assignments and break projects into smaller tasks. While taking tests with tight time limits, they should set a completion time goal for each section of the test to be sure they stay on track with the overall time limit.
Teach the material to someone else. This will help to reinforce the information and can allow for a deeper understanding of the material.
Participate in a group study session. Especially in the case of essay exams, it can be helpful to discuss notes with classmates because one person may have written down or remembered something the others had missed.
5. Prepare them for homesickness.
Homesickness is natural, so discuss it with your teen before she leaves. Encourage her to join one or two groups to stay busy and meet other students. Plan phone calls with her (for example, every Sunday and Wednesday) so she’ll always know when she’ll be speaking with you next and she’ll feel less urgency to call every time she wants to tell you about something. If you and your student are worried that she’ll come home too often for her to have time to make new friends, set a goal—for instance, she wants to try not to come home until Halloween or Thanksgiving.
There is no doubt that when a teenager moves away to college, the transition can be taxing for the whole family. But by taking steps to prepare, the student can feel ready to embrace the challenge and the parents can feel more secure in knowing that their child has the necessary tools for success in both academics and adult life.
* Article provided by Susie McDaniel and Beth Ardell who are the owners of LearningRx Atlanta-Buckhead and LearningRx Alpharetta-Johns Creek, cognitive skills training centers that work with individuals to improve their learning ability through brain training. Both women are mothers who have seen their own children’s cognitive abilities improve greatly through LearningRx programs. LearningRx offers cognitive skills testing and intense one-on-one brain training that improves academic achievement, boosts self-esteem, and permanently increases IQ. For more information about these and other learning topics, contact LearningRx Alpharetta-Johns Creek at 770-475-3276 or LearningRx Atlanta-Buckhead at 404-252-7246, or visit www.learningrx.com.
** Article of teen with laundry from: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-06/lifestyle/sc-fam-0205-parenthood-laundry-20130205_1_laundry-young-women-clean-clothes