Parent College Coach Tip #78: College Prep is More Than College Prep

college prep

What does that statement mean? It means that preparing for college is more than choosing the schools, making college visits, filing out the admissions application and the FAFSA and receiving an offer of admission.

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Yes. All those tasks are important and necessary if your student wants to attend college. But what about all the emotions your student experiences when he leaves home and moves in to the dorm? How will he handle homesickness, roommate issues and drama, mental fatigue and a general feeling of being overwhelmed with responsibility? College prep, in the purest sense, is preparing your student for everything he will face in college.

If you neglect these important college prep discussions, all the task-oriented college prep you worked so hard to complete will mean nothing when your teen calls and says, “I can’t handle it here. I don’t like it. I want to come home.”

Here are seven topics you should discuss during the college prep process:

  • You will experience homesickness the first few weeks; it’s normal
  • Your college experience is up to you—get involved, make friends, step out of your comfort zone
  • There will come a time when your roommate causes drama; deal with the conflict immediately
  • Get rest, eat right, and maintain a regular study schedule to avoid fatigue and stress
  • If you start to feel depressed, get help from the counseling services on campus
  • Even if you wanted to go to college, choose the perfect fit college, and are looking forward to move-in day, expect to feel stress about leaving home, meeting new people, and handling a rigorous academic course load
  • It’s up to you to resolve the conflict and handle your problems—being independent means being responsible

Having these discussions during the college prep process will give your student a better chance when college move-in day arrives. Let them make decisions, solve problems, fail and express emotions while they are at home. Think of home as an “emotional bootcamp” that prepares them for college.

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Check out my guide for parents: Parents Countdown to College Crash Course

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