How to Prepare Your Child for College

Sending your child to college can be a difficult time. You are sending your child off into a new situation, and it is a big life change for everyone. Luckily, there are some ways to prepare yourself and your child for this day.

A woman standing in a library or bookshop. She has an open book in her hands that she is looking at.
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Consider How You Will Pay for Their Education

Some parents cover everything, from tuition to books to housing to an allowance. Other parents choose to have their children pay for some things, like books, or extra food and clothing. Think about how you want to work things out and talk to your child so you both have realistic expectations. One way of making tuition more affordable is by taking out a private parent loan. There are low-rate loans available, which can make it easier to pay for tuition, room and board, or other college-related expenses.

Embrace Your New Role

When your child leaves home, your role will change from a caretaker to that of a coach. You don’t have to completely let go of your child. Instead, you simply need to allow your role to change. You are still important to your child, even though your role is different, because your job is to mentor your child, offer advice, and give feedback. Sometimes they will just need someone to listen to them.

Start Planning Ahead

No matter how close or far you are from the college years, you can still ease worries by beginning your planning. If you are not prepared, you may feel more anxious or worried about your child. Students and parents often become wrapped up in applications, financial aid, and scholarships, and they do not think about the way your lives will change. Working with your child now allows you to teach them what they need to know when they go to college and live away from home. 

They should know how to fill prescriptions, talk to professors, and do their laundry. Handling everything for your child now will only hurt them later because they will not have anyone to show them how to do it later. Try to address specific concerns you have as well. If you are concerned about their safety while on campus, you may want to ensure they are connected to the campus safety department. Having them take a tour of campus can help them become familiar with it before they leave. If your child has health concerns, you may arrange for prescriptions to be picked up at a pharmacy near school.

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Talk About How You Will Stay Connected

Understand how often and when you will stay connected with each other. Setting up times to talk and visit can give you something to look forward to. You will also want to talk about how you stay connected. While you may prefer a weekly video call, your child might find it easier to talk on the phone while walking to class. Your communication may even change from week to week. You may consider sending packages, creating a group chat with the family, or meeting for a meal if you are not too far apart.

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