Helping your children with the trials and tribulations of college is not all about money. Besides financing or partially contributing to the monetary costs of higher education, you can offer many other forms of help to your son or daughter after they finish high school. Some need direction about how to deal with social life while away from home, how to choose a major, how to manage personal finances, and more.Here are some of the main ways that parents can lend a hand when their high school seniors are preparing to leave home for college.
Teach Them About Money
You can do a major good deed by teaching them how to handle their own money while at school. This lesson can and should begin with a long talk about how the college bills for tuition, room and board are being paid. Explain to your child about the need to take out student loans and why borrowing for a better future on education makes financial sense, how it offers competitive interest rates and is worth the short amount of time it takes to apply.
Additionally, make sure they understand the rudiments of budgeting their spending money and paying for small personal expenses at school. If they’re going to be working part time, encourage them to open a savings account and contribute to it regularly. Some young adults learn essential life lessons about money during these formative years.
Leave Communication Lines Open
Let your child know that they can always call or email you if they’re facing any kind of challenge. Too often, parents view a university as a long-term daycare center for young adults. They ship the kids off with fanfare and don’t communicate with them much until the holidays arrive. Try to strike a balance between being loving and not speaking enough during those first few crucial months of their time away from home.
Be a Career Counselor When Necessary
Don’t avoid offering sound career advice if you children ask, and perhaps even when they don’t ask. If they plan to follow a career path similar to yours, you’ll be in a unique position to help them get through tough spots and figure things out about how to choose courses, select majors and decide what companies to interview with. Of course, you want to let them find their own way as much as possible, but just a few well-chosen words from you can keep them from making a huge mistake when it comes time to pick a major or decide about graduate school. Your advice is valuable, and you should offer it. It’s up to them to take it or leave it.
Share Your Experiences
If your college student is in the dark about dating and social life away from home, don’t forget that you were young once, and in the very same position. This is what being a parent is all about. Offer your experiences as a guide, but don’t force a decision on your youngster. Explain how you got through the college social scene and what worked for you.