10 Tips for kids going away to college

Is your child bound for the Ivory Tower this month? If so, here are some sound tips for your child to make the most of college, while maintaining grades and increasing the job prospects after graduation.

Are you nervous about your kids going to college and making the most out of every experience? Well, making the transition from heavily-structured days in high school to the independent life that college provides is difficult for almost every kid, in some way. Here are some tips to discuss with your teens before they leave for university.


It is OK to ask for help, regardless of the topic at hand

“The transition to college can be quite a leap for some kids because it’s the time when you’re supposed to figure out when you should be doing your work and doing your laundry, and so forth,” said Marla Stone, a Boston-area life coach, who has experience counseling students who are making the leap to college. “You have to take responsibility to ask for help and not to wait until you’re failing a course before you talk to someone about it.”


Get organized

Stone suggests creating a place to keep your keys and identification. Avoid the stress of waking up your RA at 2 a.m. just because you locked yourself out of the dorm.


Go to class

Yes, this sounds like advice that will fall on deaf ears. But being in class is important to get up-to-date information on tests, and keep on top of assignments, even if it is a class with hundreds of students and there isn’t an attendance sheet.


Exercise, try to eat healthy

Pizza and 2 a.m. is alright once in a while, but try to eat healthy most of the time and get some exercise in, as it helps you focus.


Know it is normal to be homesick

“You may be missing your dog, your sibling or your boyfriend back home,” Stone said. “Statistics say 60 percent of kids are homesick at college. And the feelings of ‘I’m not qualified,’ and ‘I’m not ready to be here,’ those are normal too.”


Talk to your instructors

Make an attempt to ask questions in class or go into a professor’s office hours, advised Shawna Cooper-Gibson, the assistant dean for the School of Communication at Loyola University in Chicago.

“Do not be afraid to ask questions in and out of class and use the instructors as a resource,” Cooper-Gibson said. “They can also serve as good networking resources, so developing those relationships from the get-go can be really helpful.”


Don’t forget to sleep

Everyone knows the importance of sleep.


Take advantage of the first week

Put yourself out there, make friends and attend the university-sponsored activities that are meant for helping new students acclimate.


Try to get along with your roommate

Stone stressed the importance of a cordial relationship between roommates because it prepares kids for possible challenging relationships they may encounter later in life. For example, the work force. You don’t have to be best friends with your roomie, but be respectful.


Probably the most important is time management

Experts agree adjusting to a life of independence coming from the heavily-structured environment of high school is difficult for kids. Find time to study, do your laundry, have a dentist appointment and hang out with friends.

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