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15 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Starting College

15 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Starting College | Columbia SC Moms BlogSummer is upon us! A time for barbecues, pools, vacations, and fun. Thinking about going back to school in the fall is probably the farthest thing from your mind. 

But if you have a high school graduate who will be entering college in the fall, there are some things you can be working on this summer to ensure your student will make it through their freshman year of college. I mean, let’s be honest here, there are definitely those kids who don’t know how to do simple things for themselves, like laundry and cooking. So, it’s time for a summer crash course on all they’ll need to know for college!

1. How to do laundry

Let’s face it, if your kid can’t do their own laundry, they won’t have many friends. Who wants to hang out with a kid wearing stinky clothes? Either that or if they attend college near home, they’ll be coming home every weekend with loads of laundry and expect YOU to do it. Ummm, no sir!

2. Basic cooking

C’mon, mamas. We need to make sure our kids know how to make more than ramen noodles and Kraft Mac & Cheese. Just microwaving things doesn’t count as a real meal. Yes, college will have a dining plan, but you can’t rely on that alone. At some point, they’ll end up in their own apartment and will need to know how to cook. Let’s do our kids right and teach them this basic life skill. 

3. How make their own appointments

Specifically doctor appointments and knowing how the process works as far as co-pays for visits and how to get a prescription filled. 

4. How to get up on their own in the mornings

This one may sound odd, but as a college instructor I have heard stories of students failing out of college freshman year for not being able to make it to their morning classes on their own. So, yeah, teach those kids of yours how to set an alarm clock and get up on time!

15 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Starting College | Columbia SC Moms Blog

5. How to budget

This is so important! Our college kids will not be able to successfully navigate through life without knowing how to balance a budget. Not to mention, having a good understanding of how college loans work. 

6. How to check a car’s fluids & change a tire

Necessary things we should all know how to do. Yes, there is AAA, but it will save your kids some money if they can learn to do it themselves. 

7. How to prioritize

College students need to know how to figure out what is most important and how to spend their time to meet deadlines and get everything done.

8. Time management

As busy as college can be, there can be pockets of time between classes that can be used stay on top of things. Too often this time is wasted. This easily goes hand-in-hand with #7. 

9. How to clean up after themselves

If they can’t clean up after themselves and be organized, their life will be hectic. They’ll spend too much time searching for a textbook buried under a pile of dirty clothes and wondering where they put their assignment instead of using that precious time for more important things, or even for enjoying time with friends. And, lets be honest, this one is also important if they want to find a girlfriend/boyfriend. No one wants to date a slob. 

15 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Starting College | Columbia SC Moms Blog
10. How to have calm, face-to-face discussions about conflict

Whether with a roommate or over a grade in a class with the instructor, it’s important to know how to handle conflict. 

11. Good health hygiene

Establishing good health habits while in college will set the tone for the years to follow. Sleeping well, eating a balanced diet and exercise are all a part of this. And naps. Lots of naps. I also refer to point #9 here about dating. No one wants to date someone with bad hygiene (and you know dating is a big part of the college experience for many students). 

12. How to fill out applications on your own without having to call a parent/knowing your social security number

There comes a point in your life when you can’t rely on mommy and daddy all the time. You can’t be at a job interview or filling out an application on site and calling mommy to find out your social security number and other pertinent information. This is something our college students should be able to do on their own. 

13. How to study

A student may have studied in high school, but studying is more intense in college. There is definitely a difference and learning how to practice good note taking and study habits will help them navigate through those tough courses. 

14. The importance of checking your student email daily

College email is the way the university’s many offices will reach the student about a variety of matters, so it’s important each student understands the value of checking their email daily. They will most likely also need to communicate with their professors outside of class this way, so it’s important to teach them proper email etiquette.

15. Organization

If your college student isn’t organized, they’re not going to get far. Whether they use a planner or some other system, it will greatly help them stay on top of deadlines. This will follow them all throughout college and life afterwards in the “real world.”

What tips would you add to prepare your high school senior for college?

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