How to Prepare Your Kids for a Long, Hard College Education

18 years fly by. Before you know it, the baby you took home from the hospital is loading up to go to college, leaving you sobbing in the rearview mirror. Will your kids succeed and accomplish the goals they have set for themselves? Here are five tips to ensure they are prepared for the long road to a college degree.


Take time to talk to your kids about college.

The only information your child hears about college should not come from the school counselor or the Internet. Let’s face it, although the counselor means well, your child is but one of many. Share your college experience with your child (the appropriate parts, of course). What study methods worked for you? Did you have a hard time balancing social time and coursework? How did you solve this dilemma? By telling your child these things, you are getting their wheels turning, and they are preparing mentally about how they might handle future obstacles.


Teach your kids basic survival skills.

Teach your kids how to scramble an egg, change a flat tire, write a check, and schedule their own doctor’s appointment. These mundane things may seem insignificant while your child is in middle and high school, but when they reach college, they will be thankful you’ve taken the time to prepare them for adult life.


Encourage your child to enroll in college courses while still in high school.

Moving to a college campus can be a shock in itself. Add the new people, freedom, and experiences, and it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed. This is before you even consider the college courses. Encourage your children to take several college classes before they graduate. This will expose them to the way a college course operates, what to expect from college professors, and hopefully, start their college career off with good grades.


Show your child what good work ethic looks like.

If your child sees you putting off important work deadlines, rolling out of bed an hour after your alarm went off, and not caring about your career, they are likely to inherit this attitude. Children notice what their parents do, the amount of effort they put into their jobs, and they absorb this like osmosis. Unfortunately, a college education doesn’t work this way. Kids must push themselves, stay focused, and dedicate time to achieve a degree. They learn this by the example their parents set for them.


Love them, but let your kids make their own mistakes.

Shower your children with unconditional love. Love them on the days they are in horrible moods, the days that you are in a horrible moods, and on the days where you just feel like you have no extra love to give. Support them, show them you care, but let them make their own mistakes. College is a time for mistakes and personal growth. Let your kids fall and pick themselves up. Resist the urge to jump in the car and drive 90 MPH down the highway just to have a conversation with the professor that you child should have handled. You’ve raised them well, now let that show.