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As a parent, nothing can be both intimidating and exciting quite like sending your kids off to college. It’s a milestone you can be proud of, but it can also be a cause for concern. 

It’s quite normal for any parent to feel daunted. Your kids will grow up to become more independent and learn how to navigate the real world. The best you can do at this point is to prepare them for the journey ahead. 

It’s still a long way off, but it helps to prepare your teen for college life earlier and get rid of any misconceptions. Here are a few tips to help you out with this.

1. Talk to your teen

The first thing you can do is to open up the topic with them while they’re still in high school. This will give you and your child enough time to consider their prospects and answer questions that they may have. Just make sure to start the conversation at home. Let your child know how important it is to leave home for college. 

Your goal here is not to pressure your child into thinking about their future. Instead, you should focus on helping them make the right decisions and providing them with valuable advice. Over time, your child will be able to take their options seriously and acquire the skills they need in preparation for this next phase in their life. 

 2. Let them call the shots

Once you have started a conversation with them, give them time to process the thought of going to college. At this point, you will need to give them space to weigh their decisions. The least you could do is to force your own decisions and personal experiences. You may act as a role model, but when it comes to their future, give your child the freedom to choose their own path. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can leave them alone. Your child will be asking you for advice on things like choosing a major, so be ready to give them hints and provide support. Help them figure it out themselves. 

3. Let them develop the right skills

Since college life promotes independence, it’s important to help your teen build the right skills. The first is financial management. Effective budgeting is everything when living alone, so make sure your child doesn’t leave home without a few effective money-saving techniques. 

Apart from money, another resource your child should learn how to manage is time. In college, students are swamped with readings, writing assignments, and extracurricular activities. This early, teach your child how to commit to a work schedule, identify priorities, and spare time for rest and leisure. Without proper time management skills, your teen could experience burnout and lose the drive to continue. 

4. Help them choose a major

Possibly the most difficult part of preparing for college is choosing a major. Aptitude tests may give you a good view of the areas where your child is likely to excel. However, your child might decide on pursuing a different path. 

Whether they’re going to choose a career in public health or obtain a liberal arts degree, your role here is to help them weigh the pros and cons of every major that comes across. As you do so, you should avoid favoring a certain major just because it’s “practical” or lucrative.  Let them have the final say. If they reach out to you for advice on their career path, offer your opinion and encourage them to think about it themselves. 

5. Pick a university and prepare your finances

Apart from choosing a major, it also matters to help your teen in deciding on a university that meets their needs. Just like choosing a major, this is also a part when you need to be hands-off and let your child decide. Then again, the choice of university can also affect your finances in the long run. For this, you can come up with a shortlist of institutions that offer the degree your child has picked. 

You can go to websites like or check out the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Report to find the best institutions. With this list, visit each campus with your child. Check the environment and look at overall safety scores. You should also ask for an estimated breakdown of total expenses so you can prepare financially and sign up for a student loan. 

Preparing for college is a rollercoaster ride for parents and their children. Still, a little knowledge goes a long way in setting up your child for the next and most critical phase of their life. Consider the tips above and help your child build their future.