Reducing Freshman Fears: How To Emotionally Prepare Your Teen For College

According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, a rating scale that assigns a numerical category to different life events, change, of any kind, can be extremely stressful. Even if the change in question is positive, like heading off to college, there can still be a significant amount of stress associated with such a huge transition. While there are many sites, like this one that offer helpful academic and researching advice, there aren’t many that deal with the two F words. Freshman. Feelings. Yet, at the same time, research suggests that most Freshman aren’t emotionally prepared for the hallowed halls of college.

That’s why we want to offer a few tips on how to help prepare your teen for University life.

Establish A Support System

The first thing that you want to help your teen do, is to figure out who to call when difficult things happen. Most campuses have a counseling center, a career center, and other programs designed to help during trying times. Even if your child never has to use these resources, it’s comforting to know that they are there.

Teach Time Management

Probably, the biggest difference between high-school and college is the increased autonomy that college students are given. Yet, with this privilege comes the responsibility of staying on top of their own studies, without anyone looking over their shoulder. Help your teen by talking about how they will keep track of their classes, assignments, etc. Encourage her to look into online tools, like this one, that offer free templates for scheduling. Or, if he prefers to go old school, consider buying one of these paper planners that make life easier.

Regardless of which type of scheduling tool they use, it may also be helpful to have them take an honest inventory of their time-management techniques. This involves asking themselves questions like:

  • Which time of day is best for you to study?
  • Do you study only when you are in the mood?
  • Do you take breaks while studying?

These types of questions can help your child come to terms with areas that they may need to improve, while also pointing out their studying strengths.

Strive For Balance

One mistake that many college freshman make is taking on too much, too fast. Help your teen load her plate up slowly, by focusing first on her schoolwork. If financially feasible, have him hold off on getting a part-time job, until he’s established a stable study routine.

Decide Whether To Go Greek

If your teen is going off to a bigger University, they will probably be faced with the decision of whether to join a sorority or fraternity. While doing so undoubtedly makes finding friends easier, it’s also a huge time commitment. Talk to your teen about whether they feel ready to make such a jump, and remind them that she can always join social groups during the Spring, once they are settled in.

Most importantly, let your teen know that you believe in him, and that you are happy for his newfound freedom. This will help alleviate the Freshman guilt that many students feel when leaving their parents for college.

If you would like to learn more about preparing your young adult for their journey to college, contact us. We are here to help!