Smoothing the Path from High School to College

It’s tempting to start the new school year and just “see how things go.”

You will find, however, that it is much more effective to sit down soon with your teen and discuss the areas you both know need addressing. This will help your student be more successful in school this fall and promote independence in social and life skills.

For high school parents (especially those with rising seniors), think about the areas you would be concerned about if you were dropping your student off at college in the next few weeks. From there, both you and your student can make a list of concerns as a starting point for discussion.

This can be a positive, goal-oriented exercise. It’s a way to prioritize the things you want to work on first. And your student will be more motivated if they are part of the planning process. Any of these skills can and should be worked on throughout high school!

Some areas that may need attention:

  • Time management. Getting to appointments on time; starting schoolwork in advance of due date.
  • Study skills. Keeping track of and handing in on time; avoiding distractions.
  • Independence in schoolwork. Your student may need to work with an academic coach/tutor for this (not a parent).
  • Advocating for self. Colleges do not communicate with parents! Your student needs to take this on for themselves.
  • Social skills. Ability to make friends; spending some time away from family.
  • Independent life skills. Waking oneself up; making appointments; ordering and managing meds; shopping for and cooking basic items; positive sleep/diet/exercise habits; personal hygiene.
  • Mental health. Stress coping skills; ability to know when help is needed.

You and your student may have additional areas that need addressing. But either way, now is the time to get out in front of potential issues by scheduling academic coaches/tutors (before school begins), assessing whether a therapist would be helpful, and evaluating where your student stands in preparation for college / living away from home.

Believe me. When college drop-off comes around for real, you and your student will be grateful that you planned ahead for a smooth transition!

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