5 Things Your Teen Needs to Do Now to Prepare for College

By Beatrice Rivera, Student at Rutgers University

college prep list

Image courtesy of 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After countless of hours spent on college applications, getting good grades and enjoying the final senior moments of high school, it’s time to help your teen decide which college is best for them.

But before settling on a school, here are five things your teen needs to do now to prepare for college!

1. Budget Wisely

It is crucial to discuss the importance of budgeting while attending college with your teen. Nowadays, college is expensive and they should not go around aimlessly spending money, especially if loans are involved.

Having your teen get a summer job can be a great start (or even a part-time job at school), as they may learn to enjoy new skills that they are able to add on their resume.

If they are planning to live on campus, either in or out of state, it would be wise to purchase a meal plan, as it would be less strenuous both on your teen and your budget.

2. Sharpen Time Management Skills

While attending college, time management is key. Your teen may feel overwhelmed with so many things to do on and off campus that may include socializing with friends, juggling assignments and making sure to attend club meetings — the options are endless!

While it is important than they take part in all of the above, they must remember to set their priorities straight. As many of us know, college is one of the best times of your life, but there will be time to make room for the things they have always dreamed of doing.

Time is of the essence, after all, and it is important to attend their professor’s office hours and hand in their assignments on time (those high school assignments aren’t anything compared to college assignments!) Having your teen get a job, use a planner and have errands to run at specific times may help sharpen the time management skills they need to succeed in college.

3. Network With Others

Networking is an essential skill your teen must get accustomed to while at college. Networking with others once they have chosen a school is a great step to knowing the “ins and outs” of the school as well as choosing to stay informed about opportunities.

Networking will also give your teen the opportunity to learn from others and not just their friends and family. While they do network with friends and family on a daily basis, it is important to inform them to network with others while at work, too. It never hurts to carry around a business card or even their resume — they’ll never know who they’ll meet over the summer or in class!

4. Utilize School Resources

Make sure your teen educates themselves on which clubs or organizations they’d be willing to join. Getting involved on campus is a great way to stay active and interact with other students and professors while enriching your college life.

The career center is often a place that students take for granted while attending college. The career center is a key place for your teen to familiarize with, as employees provide help for students who are interested in internships or students who are interested in polishing up their resumes and cover letters.

5. Organization is Key

Unlike high school, college is not about set dates and assignments.

A lot of the times, classes will not be in the same building and are set at different times. Your teen should realize this when they attend orientation and are making their schedules.

If your teen is interested in extracurricular activities or keeping a part-time job while at school, it is important to stay organized. Getting organized can start off by having them do small things at first, like keeping their rooms cleaned or making sure they are responsible enough by assigning them to run “adult” errands.

Using a planner is probably the best way to make sure assignments are handed in on time, meetings are scheduled and attended, study sessions are filled in or even to jot down the days they are working (which can help your teen find time to relax and hang out with friends on campus). A whiteboard to write to-do lists for them to view is beneficial as well!

RELATED: Check out UChic Founder Christie Garton’s interview with CBS New York about five tips every college-bound teen needs to know before getting to campus

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!