If your child is about to cross the threshold from high school into higher education, you might be feeling a bit anxious for them. They’re about to enter a world where they will graduate from childhood to adulthood, where they will learn to fend for themselves, and where the challenges they face in the academic sphere will accelerate rapidly.
Moreover, it’s a series of tests that not everybody passes: According to Forbes, less than half of all college students graduate on time, and even out of those, only around 60% graduate at all. Especially considering the amount of effort and capital you have to expend to get your student in the door, this failure to graduate can cripple college students’ finances for a long time, repaying student loans for decades that they never truly got full benefits from.
As such, you must take whatever measures you can to prepare your student for this new challenge.
Is College Worth It?
Given the above statistics, your student may be wondering if college is even worth their time or investment. However, with the wage disparity between college dropouts and bachelors’ degree holders being about 75%, a college education might still be one of the best ways to set your child up for future success.
If they aren’t sure of whether they want to attend college, there are ways to encourage them to give college a try. Talk with them about what they might want to do career-wise and how they might get there through a university program. If college students feel directionless or like they must choose college over other options, they’re more likely to drop out than if they’re self-motivated.
However, once your student is motivated, how can you prepare them for success and give them the tools they need to strike out on their own for the first time? Read on to find out.
Help Them Research Degree Programs
If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars to give your child’s future a jumpstart, you might as well spend it on programs with a solid reputation. Before your child submits applications to any college or university programs, research top-of-the-line options with them, helping direct their efforts towards programs that will justify their investment in the long run.
Of course, if your child would rather do it themselves, allow them to: that’s the kind of drive you want to see out of them, the kind of drive that shows that they will be self-motivated when they do get into a program.
Equip Them With Necessary Assets
As your child is likely going to be on their own for the first time, they’ll likely need all the help you can give them to start their new lives. Some assets that they may need your help to purchase are as follows:
- Dorm room and apartment furniture. Whether your child will be staying in a dorm their first year or more expansive living spaces, they’re going to need it to be adequately furnished: and it’s doubtful that the part-time job they’re currently working will be able to cover it. You may want to invest in items like:
- Foldable chairs.
- A desk or similar workspace.
- A TV and TV stand.
- Silverware, Dishes, and Appliances. This applies especially if your student is moving into an apartment or a dorm with a kitchen. Giving them the ability to cook their own food will allow them to save money, spend less on fast food, and avoid a dining hall plan altogether.
- Textbooks. Enough said. You remember the price of textbooks. While your student should be prepared to pay for their own books after the first semester, you can certainly help them with their first-round if you wish.
Catching Your Child When They Fall: Safety Nets
Also, take a look at things like their current car insurance policy: does it include coverage that will cover your student in various situations or additional features like roadside assistance that your student may need to take advantage of? If not, you may want to shop for a new quote, comparing options offered by different providers to give your student the best coverage you possibly can. They’ll be away from you in a foreign environment, and you’ll rest easier knowing that they have a solid safety net to fall back on in case of emergencies.
Teach Them Financial Independence
While you can certainly help set them up for college, your student will need to know that they can’t depend on their parents to cover all of their needs forever. As such, encourage your student to get a part-time job both while they’re still in high school and after they’re admitted to college: perhaps after their first semester, to give them time to get acclimated to this new academic environment.
Encourage them to put payments forward for their own car insurance, phone bill, and any other constant expenses that you have been covering for them up to this point. That will also give them a sense of what will be expected from them moving forward.
Watching your child go off to college for the first time can be scary, but taking the above measures will give them the best possible chance of success. And remember: though they’re in a new territory and they’re building their own life, you’re only a phone call away. Your teen will never be short on support, and you can help mentor them as they learn how to be responsible adults themselves.