When your child leaves for higher studies...
Created by Swapna Nair Updated on May 31, 2021
The time has come when your child, no longer really a child, is ready to spread his wings and take on the real world. It is a period of mixed feelings for you – pride and happiness that he will be realizing his dreams, and sadness at the separation. But much as it is time for you to take a step back and let him learn to navigate life, you can help him prepare.
How Can I Help My Child Prepare For College?
There are a host of things that need to be taken care of before your child is ready to leave, both logistical, and life-skills. Here are some essential tips to help your child prepare for college-
What To Do Before Admission?
Make these lists in discussion with your child before the application process begins.
- List of the cities and countries with universities of interest. Consider your finances while making this list
- List the universities and course options, and consider community colleges where the tuition fee would be 1/3rd that of the universities
- Narrow down the options after making a thorough study of each of the above, don't forget to discuss your choices with friends and students who have been there, check online referrals and note down references
- Make sure you check the eligibility for admission – grades, and if some previous internship experience is mandatory
- Note down the dates of submission of the various documents
- Find out what exams - TOEFL, IELTS and SAT – need to be taken. Help your child prepare for them. There are courses and books available to prepare
- Help your child prepare a well-written SOP, Statement Of Purpose. Check out online samples to understand what is expected. There are online coaches available for a fee. Please do not ever plagiarize or copy from someone else's SOP
Do Keep In Mind The Financial Angle
While you may have saved well for your child's education, take stock of your finances keeping in mind the existing economic climate, the exchange rates, and fees that the desired university charges.
- Check with your bank or financial advisor on how to apply for loans
- Check with the university if they provide loans
- Check with alumni students
- Make sure your child's bank account is set up
What Skills Does My Child Need To Have Before Leaving For College?
As your child gets ready to embrace his independence, make sure you have prepared him well to take on the world.
- Living Independently: Can your child cook himself a meal? Can he keep track of his medical records and get health checks done when required? Does he need you to be his snooze button at least five times every morning? It is extremely important that you teach your child to be self-sufficient. This doesn't happen overnight, and you need to do it gradually over the years, starting with simple tasks
- Money Matters: Teach your child to handle his money. It helps to have a savings account for him and allocating money from it for expenses even during school years. When he goes to college, he will need to manage his expenses himself, whether for grocery or for leisure
- The value of relationships: When your child is in college, she will learn that people play a huge role in her life, and relationships matter a lot. New friendships will be forged, and it will help her deal with the feeling of being far away from home. Once you know which college your child is going to, encourage him to network on social media with other students there. Getting in touch with others leaving at the same time will help him feel less lonely during this huge life change
- Being safe:As a parent, your constant anxiety about your child's safety is unlikely to ever fade. But you can prepare her by speaking to her about basic safety measures, drug abuse, alcohol consumption and smoking or not being alone in secluded areas. Make sure she has some local emergency contact – if you have family or friends living in the same city that she will be in, or even a professor at the university
Travel And Packing Tips When Your Child Leaves For College
- Book tickets well in advance to get good rates. Be aware of the limited flexibility on some classes of tickets. Check what the weight limit for luggage is
- Consider getting travel insurance from a reputed insurance company
- Pack 2 medium sized bags rather than one big suitcase. Carry a hold-all. Pack travel-sized toiletries which will last for two weeks, and more can be purchased on arrival at local shops
- Pack undergarments/clothes/socks that will last for two weeks so that your child has a week's supply before he settles down and can do laundry
- Utilize the student fairs/stalls that most universities will organize for newcomers. You will get many freebies like pens, and also other stuff like laptops at discounted prices
How Will I Deal With Empty Nest Syndrome Once My Child Leaves For College?
During a child's school years, a parent is so clued into his life that when he leaves for college, there is a painful emptiness in the parent's life. The everyday routine, the bonding and the constant chatter seems to be replaced by a feeling of restlessness, of not knowing what to do. This is particularly difficult when two parents have not made the effort to stay connected with each other. Here are a few things to help you overcome the empty nest syndrome when your child leaves for college-
- Technology to the rescue: Phone calls, Skype, WhatsApp and various other media make it easy to stay in touch. Video calls, while never a substitute to being together, will considerably lessen the pain of being apart. Set up your social media accounts online before your child leaves
- Get back in touch with your passions: Were you an avid gardener before your children came along? Or did you take French lessons? Use this time to rediscover your hobbies and interest. This will keep you engaged have a positive impact on your mental health
- Spend quality time with your partner: Being a parent can consume all your energy and time, and sometimes partners drift apart because of this. Make an effort to stay connected despite the challenges of parenting. Take trips together when possible, away from the mundane routine of everyday life
At this important juncture in your child's life, change can seem difficult. But if you've taught your child to be self-reliant and independent, this will be a rewarding experience for both of you. Give your child the wings he needs to fly, and watch his flight with pride.
How did you deal with your child going away to college? Share your tips with us in the comments section below, as we would love to hear from you.
Top Education and Learning Blogs
Top Education and Learning Talks
Top Education and Learning question