Leaving the Nest: Preparing for College

Winter is quickly closing up shop for spring. That means scores of high school seniors will be making their final decisions about college, applying for scholarships, and preparing to graduate and leave home. This can be an intimidating and stressful period for both seniors and their parents.

Every mom and dad hopes they have emotionally, spiritually, and academically prepared their child for this next stage of life. College challenges beliefs, refines or corrupts character, and (hopefully) expands one’s knowledge and world view. How can you make sure your child is ready for this next chapter of life?

Encourage Involvement (to a point)

Encourage your future college grad to excel at new activities and to volunteer as often as they can while pursuing excellence in their studies. Every little bit helps when it comes to boosting their college application, and these activities will also look good on a future resume as well as impressing any college admission counselor you seek out for advice. However, many families overdue this and leave themselves and their child over scheduled. This can have negative consequences. So be choosy. Be purposeful about what you say yes to and what you say no to doing

Help Them Connect to a Church

When you visit colleges with your child, take time to look into what churches and campus ministry groups are available in the area. If a college student doesn’t plug into a church early on, chances are they never will. Also talk to your child about the types of challenges they will face spiritually, and let them know you are accessible and willing to talk. Moreover, they have the opportunity to really make their faith their own, so encourage them to take responsibility for growing their faith during college.

Prepare for Dorm Life

Most likely your child will be away from home at college, so Education.com has prepared a list of what your child will need once they leave the nest and head off to start their own life. A couple things I was glad to have in the dorm included a small coffee pot (Amazon Affiliate Link), a small bookshelf, a white board, and a comfy robe and a good pair of slippers. 

Teach Them to Manage Money

It’d be a good idea to teach your child about money: bank accounts, investments, and budgeting. This knowledge is going to be needed regardless, but your child is going to be a lot more independent going forward and this will help their transition to college. Plus, many college kids fall into the trap of impulse shopping or credit card debt. Mitch and I are currently listening through Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s book Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money so we can learn how to instill healthy money habits and knowledge in Rebekah and our boys as they grow up.

You’ve spent the past 18 years teaching your child about the world, and ideally, that will have given them the confidence they need to succeed as they start this new chapter of their life. This phase of life will bring new challenges to you as a parent too. Make sure you have a support system and are spending time in prayer over your child. 

What other tips would you include?