Before everyone makes their summer plans, I thought I would answer one of the questions that I am asked most often.
"What can parents do to help their teen prepare for college?"
A simple question that typically has an underlying current of anxiety. The following are my suggestions. They might not be the suggestions you expect and you may not agree. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
1. Teach them to study. What do I mean? Teach them time management skills and project planning. All those skills as an adult we use to be successful in our jobs apply to their most important job, studying and obtaining good grades. Teach them in elementary school how to take a project and break it into small steps, use a calendar for planning, create to-do lists and assign deadlines. Applying to college requires good grades, in fact, it is the most important factor that colleges use to admit students.
2. Speaking of deadlines, instill in them at a young age the importance of submitting even the easiest and most mundane assignment in on-time, every time. Not just for the grade, but to show the teacher that they are responsible, organized and have a good work ethic. Doing so, or failing to do so, will be reflected in your student's letters of recommendations.
3. Allow them to have fun! Encourage them to try new challenges, new experiences. You cannot be a well-rounded open-minded adult if you have never ventured out of your room because you were studying. Expose them to other cultures, points of view, let them disagree with you. Encourage and teach them how to make a stand and logically defend their point of view.
4. Allow them to fail, make mistakes, and accept the consequences without too much interference. It will help make them humble, human, and provide excellent material for college essays.
5. Hug them, listen to them and talk to them. It will help them feel confident, secure and comfortable enough to do the same when they walk out your door into their college experience.