How to Prepare Your Kids for College

Preparing your child for college is a process that takes many years. You can begin preparing before your child is even born. If you recognize that the preparation involves not only finances and academics, but also many life skills, you can better understand how extensive the process is to prepare your child for college.


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    Prepare your child for the financial responsibilities associated to college.
    • If you choose to pay for your child's college, then start saving as soon as possible. You can even begin saving before your child is born. Research college savings accounts, and set aside a budgeted amount every month.
    • If you expect your child to pay for college, set it up early. When friends and family members ask for gift ideas, ask for cash and bonds. Start saving for your child, and at an appropriate age, educate your child on how to add to this account.
    • Stress the importance of working hard at school so that your child has a better chance of earning a college scholarship.
    • Teach your child about budgeting from an early age. Explain the importance of saving and how it is important to have an emergency fund. If you child will be taking a car to college, living in an apartment or paying for groceries and books, then budgeting is a life lesson that needs to be instilled before heading off to college.
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    Recognize that preparing your child for the academic challenges of college begins early in the school career.
    • Instill effective study habits so that your child is prepared for the challenges of college. You can begin this from the day your child starts college, and to a degree that is age appropriate. If you begin early, then being a good student and managing workloads effectively will become a natural skill for your child.
    • Make discussions about careers and college a part of everyday conversation. Encourage your child to talk about the future. Show enthusiasm for your child's career choice, and discuss how college plays an important part in accomplishing that goal.
    • Get your child used to performing well at school early. If your child is a consistent A student, then he or she will strive for As. Explain that a child who performs well is more likely to receive a scholarship. Emphasize the reward so that your child can aim for it.
    • Ensure that required subjects are included in your child's curriculum. Even if your child is undecided for a career choice and possibly a major, make sure that at least the fundamental subjects are chosen. For example, English, Math, 8th Grade Algebra I, 9th Grade Geometry, Science, History and Geography are important courses and likely to be requirements in the future of most majors.
    • Have your child meet with the guidance counselor. A professional will help your child determine the best route toward a fitting college career by choosing appropriate courses in high school. The guidance counselor can also assist you and your child in researching the financial end of college hunting.
    • Make your teen child ultimately responsible for researching and selecting a college. Work with your child in determining a future career and an applicable college major. Offer guidance and suggestions dependent on the various factors associated to each choice, such as financing and majors offered. Give your reasoning as to why you think a certain college is fitting, but allow your child to make the final choice.
    • Research the deadlines of documentation required by colleges, such as admissions tests and forms, financial aid and housing. Review those dates with your child on a calendar, and stress the importance of meeting these dates. You may want to add reminder dates and then make your child responsible for meeting those deadlines.
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    Prepare your child for college by making him or her self-reliant. Once in college, your child must manage all of the everyday needs that you may have taken care of at home, such as laundry, preparing meals and housekeeping. College preparation means setting your child up for success and delegating age-appropriate chores from an early age. Young children are usually enthusiastic about helping, so get your child to make the bed, clean the bedroom, and help out with chores around the home.
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    Teach your child how to balance academics with extra-curricular activities. It is important that a child experience academics, social activities and fun, but in a healthy balanced way. You can implement this skill also from an early age so that your child recognizes when it's time to stop working and relax, or stop playing and work.

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Categories: Parent Educational Resources