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5 things you need to know when your child goes to college

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When your child goes off to college, it can be an overwhelming experience for you as well as for her. As a parent, you have plenty to worry about. Safety, financial stability, and academic success are just a few of the issues that may be of concern to you. Here’s a list of five things you need to know when your kid goes to college.

Colleges today are transparent, and online.

Parents can often create their own accounts on a college’s website, and get special newsletters and orientation information available specifically for parents. You can also find information on campus activities, and neighborhood crime rates. You can find contact information for your child’s professors, the campus police, and the registrar’s office. This should give you peace of mind in the college’s ability to keep your child safe, keep you informed of possible issues, and provide a safe environment for your child to live and learn.

Your child will have a rough transition.

This is doubly true if your child will be attending a college that isn’t local. Meeting new people, managing their time, and keeping themselves on track academically will provide challenges that your child hasn’t had to face yet. It’s a parents’ instinct to want to protect their child from any kind of hardship, but these early challenges will help them learn how to make those kinds of changes later in life, which means they’ll bounce back easier if they stumble as an adult. It’s a learning experience that your child needs, and deserves.

Your child may not be as financially savvy as you think.

Even if your child held a part time job through high school, there’s a big difference when they are handed their student loan check and suddenly have to be responsible for thousands of dollars at a time. It may be tempting for them to spend some of that money on luxury items; however, it’s essential that your child learns to correctly budget their money, so that all of their semester expenses will be covered. In many college towns, jobs can be scarce. Many colleges provide classes that help students learn to effectively manage their finances; if your child’s school doesn’t offer this option, see if you can find a class locally.

The sheer volume of class work will be challenging for your student.

For many freshman, the first year of college is academically overwhelming. Your child will experience longer and harder classes, and scientific labs that will test him in many ways. During that difficult first year, students may be tempted to cheat or plagiarize work when they get behind or in over their head. Learning to effectively manage time will be crucial to your child’s success. If you don’t want them using their student loan money to hire someone to do custom writing, it’s important that you encourage them to attend orientation and classes that will help them stay organized.

For many new students, college is the first time that they are challenged academically.

Kids who seemed to sail through high school may find themselves falling behind as their assignments mount. They may fail quizzes or tests. This is a normal event for most college students. Most colleges offer free tutoring services, and study groups often meet in the library. Students are assigned a counselor or advisor who can help them find the resources they need to help them succeed academically. Encourage your child to meet with professors right away if they get behind or stuck in their studies. Waiting will only exacerbate the problem.

All in all, your child’s success in college is up to them. However, as a parent, you can help to prepare them for the challenges and adventures that they will have while they are attending college. Overall, most people find college to be an experience that leads to growth, lifelong friendships, and self-exploration; these attributes may be as valuable as the degree they receive. Ideally, with a mix of encouragement and preparation, your child’s college years will be both memorable and worthwhile.

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