5 Ways to Help Your High School Senior Get Ready for College

Going off to college is a right of passage for approximately 62 percent of high school seniors. But not every high school senior is ready for college. And this often leads to havoc once these students arrive on campus and become immersed in life away from home. So, before your student leaves for college, it is essential for them to know how to manage their time, learn from mistakes, and perform not-so-basic basic tasks like doing laundry and calling in a prescription for medicine.

As we head into college decision days, GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection would like to offer 5 suggestions that will help your high school seniors get ready for college.

  1. Teach your students how to manage their basic healthcare needs and make doctors’ appointments. This seems so basic. Yet, making a doctor’s appointment requires time management skills, an understanding of needs, gathering the necessary information before making the appointment, and a realization that they need to get somewhere. From choosing a provider to making sure that your students have a copy of their insurance cards and knowing what questions to ask and what information to give when you make the appointment. Students should remember to take notes so that they can have a record of their conversation. Finally, students need to understand that making appointments often takes time, as they might be placed on hold or the call might take longer than they anticipated.
  1. Teach your students to manage their finances. Financial literacy is not taught in high school. Therefore, most students leave for college without an understanding of how to save and spend funds in an appropriate manner. This leads to two types of students – those who are frugal and afraid to spend any funds for basic necessities and those who are frivolous and overspend, leaving them without funds for necessities. Before your students leave for college, teach them how to manage a budget. Discuss how much money they have in their total budget for a three month period. Talk about how they can divide it up into a weekly “allowance.” This will give your students a sense of the cost of living and how they can appropriately and effectively budget their money. 
  1. Teach your students how to organize their free time. College students have a lot more free time than they ever did in high school. Hopefully, they will use this time to grow as individuals. Some of this free time should be devoted to exploring new interests – joining clubs, pursuing part-time jobs and research opportunities. Yet, this also means that students must learn to organize their free time. They must figure out how much time they need to spend studying. It is estimated that for every hour students spend in class, they should spend approximately two hours studying the class’s curriculum or doing homework. This means that a student has to slot out approximately 16 extra hours of study time per week when taking four classes. Thus, students must carefully plan their weeks to incorporate study time, making sure that they can stay focused and motivated outside of class. 
  1. Teach your students how to do laundry. Don’t put a red shirt in with white pants. Don’t wash jeans in hot water. Teaching students to do laundry is an essential life skill. It teaches them to be responsible for their own belongings and to learn to evaluate when to clean their clothing. It shouldn’t be a difficult task, but it is a task that students must learn before they go off to college. 
  1. Teach your students to recover from mistakes. Develop an open and non-judgemental relationship with your students so that they feel comfortable talking openly about their mistakes. Share your own mistakes, and the lessons you learned, with your students so that they feel more comfortable sharing with you. Encourage your students not to dwell on their mistakes. Validate their emotions, their feelings of disappointment, sadness, and even anger. But it is important to be forward looking. Therefore, reframing mistakes as opportunities for learning is essential to teaching students how to recover from their mistakes. 

Your students have studied in school for years to become academically prepared for college. Making sure that they also have essential life skills to be successful in their new environments will be key to their success.


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