Ways To Prep Your Child For College

Question: My son will be starting college in the fall. What are some things that our family should be doing this summer to prepare him for this big change? — Off to College

Answer: This is a totally new adventure for your son and your whole family, too. This summer will definitely be a transition time for everyone. The start of college will be smoother for both you and your son if certain discussions are held before the day your son leaves home.

Believe it or not, you should definitely talk about drinking. Research seems to show that having this conversation can not only avert tragedies caused by excessive drinking, but it can also reduce the likelihood of college freshmen drinking heavily once they get on campus.

The other important conversation parents need to have with their college-bound children is on creating a realistic budget before they step on campus. The first step is to determine how much money your son will have for expenses beyond tuition and room and board. The next step is to figure out what his expenses are likely to be. Quite often the college will have a webpage detailing typical expenses for items such as books, snacks, supplies and recreation. This financial discussion must also include the sources of the money for these expenses. Will it be from money the student has saved, a job, parents or a combination of sources? This is also the time to discuss whether your son will have a credit or debit card and how it will be used.

Students, themselves, will be far better prepared for college if they have talked to students who are currently attending the school about items they need to bring, college activities and courses to take. They will find it beneficial to look at several websites detailing “what to bring to college” as well as their own college’s list. If the opportunity presents itself, they should try to talk to their future roommate.

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Summer Art Activity 2: This week, introduce your children to photography. Parents have a great influence over their children’s interests and hobbies in the early years. Often, if children see their parents interested in something, they want to do the same thing.

Old digital cameras that you might have around your home are good for older children to learn some of the basics. Number one is for them to explore how cameras work. Reading the manual and playing with all of the options is very important. Children can learn how to edit on tablets and mobile phones.

Of course, the children can use iPhones or iPads to take pictures or even shoot their own movies. Then have a family movie night and use your computer or TV to view your children’s work.

Children need to learn what great photography looks like. This is not difficult to do, as most libraries will have photography books by acclaimed photographers. It is also possible for them to see online the works of such renowned photographers as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Annie Leibovitz and Alfred Eisenstaedt.

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