If you are parenting a teen, you’re probably worried about high school graduation, college readiness, and preparing your teenager to thrive in college.
I’ve been praying to know how to best support my daughter as she navigates the transition between being a child and an adult, and the anxiety, excitement, and uncertainty of it all.
I have my own struggles and fears through this process, because I know she will be challenged in just about every way in her college experience and I won’t be physically there to support her academically, emotionally, or spiritual, and that she’ll need to rely mostly on herself during that process.
I find it crazy that Elisha is on the brink of becoming an adult and, yet, I worry about her as much as I did when she first slept on her crib and I had to get up and check whether she was breathing every 10 minutes.
Many parents would use the logic that if your teen gets accepted to a college, then they must be ready for college. Going to college is not a mere academic event, so I feel we need to really make sure our teens are emotionally ready, psychologically prepared, and emotionally stable before embarking on such a journey.
I feel this needs a disclaimer, though. I’ll never think my child is ready – or I guess I should say, I’ll never accept it. Something inside of me will always tell me she needs me, because, let’s be real, a mom wants to be needed.
And though she’s so wise, mature, and excellent at all she does, Elisha is still my baby and it’s hard to let go. I reason that she needs to be surrounded by her supportive family, but deep down, I know better.
A few weeks ago, Elisha and I met with Mike, at our local Huntington Learning Center, to review her ACT prep test results and my heart sank when he declared: “She’s ready for college!”
She did really well on her 3-hour long ACT practice test (each session is timed and there is a break between sessions), even though she was not feeling very confident. We had a heart-to-heart about how this process is important to realize where she’s at and figure out the strategy of getting where she wants to go.
For 42 years, Huntington Learning Center has offered dozens of tutoring programs for children ages 6 to17—including reading, writing, math, study skills, spelling, phonics, ADHD, Common Core, and test prep for ACT and SAT to name a few.
I love that their mission is to give every student the best education possible and realize “I can” when it comes to school success, because I always say that “I can is more important than IQ.”
We loved the comprehensive report we received and appreciated the thought, the expertise, and the care that went into crafting an individualized study plan based on her test results, her desires, and the admissions and scholarship requirements for the specific college she aspires to attend.
Elisha and I reviewed the full binder of results and the proposed tutoring plan and decided that the Huntington Learning Center Math and Science curriculum was ideal for her to focus on. She will also be working on her Reading and Writing at home, using their test prep online program.
Elisha has really enjoyed her 2-hour one-on-one instruction sessions twice a week. Huntington Learning Center tutors have at least a four-year degree and many have even higher degrees, and are trained in the Huntington method, to help her understand and apply important studying concepts in school and in life.
We’re really excited that she’ll strengthen her test-taking strategies, because that is a skill she will need beyond her ACT test and that we haven’t really worked on in our homeschooling routine. It’s wonderful that they have a 5.3 point increase average, too!
I was concerned about being able to attend the sessions, but they work with you on the scheduling, and I must say that though the pricing is very reasonable compared to the proven results their qualified tutors provide, they also offer flexible payment options.
I encourage you to set up an appointment for an evaluation or practice test. Claire will give you all the details. She is so wonderful and has the most beautiful eyes on earth, and there won’t be any pressure to enroll, other than your own lol.
I always say that being a mom is working yourself out of a job. As much as I love to do things for my daughters, it’s what I stop doing because I’ve taught them how that most matters.
12 Ways To Help Your Daughter Prepare For College
These are my recommendations on what to teach your teen daughter before she thinks about embarking on the college experience.
Teach your teenager to prioritize her self-care. Think about your teen not living at home anymore and what questions would be on your mind: Is she hydrating? Is she sleeping enough? Is she eating healthy? Does she carry her ID and insurance card at all times? Teach her to love her body and learn how to take care of it so she can do it on her own when she’s away from home.
Teach your teenager to cope with negative emotions. We were all teens once and we can all agree that it was not an easy stage. Being a teen is hard enough and add life-altering decisions like college and you get turmoil, stress, doubt, fear, and even depression. I am usually the safe place my daughter comes to when she’s had a setback or disappointment, but who will she turn to when she lives on campus?
We have talked about self-soothing techniques and I’ve encouraged her to explore the best and healthiest ways in which she can destress, as well as what are trustworthy sources of relief.
Elisha has proven to stay in contact while she’s away from home, but so much can happen so soon, and let’s face it, it’s not like I’m going to live forever, either.
Teach your teenager to manage her time well. Time management skills can be reduced to two parts: knowing your priorities and having the self-discipline required to stick to them.
If you teach your teen or young adult how to set BOLD goals, to understand what is required to achieve them, and to commit to those results with unwavering determination, they will use their time wisely. Of course, this means planning appropriate times for rest and recreation because these are essential for living a balanced life.
Teach your teenager practical life skills. Does your teen know how to do laundry, cook, sew, clean, mow the lawn, do car maintenance, iron their clothes and make their bed?
There are many things that will be absolutely essential when living away from home and others will come in handy at some point, and the more equipped your young adult is, the more confident they will be and the more peace of mind you will have. I admit these required great patience but they have proven to pay off!
Teach your teenager to manage her money. Does your teen have a bank account? Does your teen have experience making money, saving money, spending money, investing money, and donating money? Having a healthy money mindset and a sound money practice is essential when teens and young adults leave home for college.
I don’t believe in allowances, but I do believe that it’s essential to teach kids the value of money, to empower them with budgeting skills, and to warn them about the dangers of unnecessary debt. It’s not a secret that many credit card companies target college students and that teens can be tempted to spend money on items that are …err… less than essential, but when they have a true understanding of finances, they will be less likely to fall.
Teach your teenager to make wise choices. You’re probably shaking your head and wondering why I even need to add this one. Teaching our kids and teens to make good decisions involves not only telling them what decisions we want them to make, but to teach them to practice critical thinking on their own, to analyze the why behind their choice and the consequences of making that choice, both long term and short term. Since we love to play chess, we’re always discussing how one must think through each choice we make and how it can affect the course of your life, and the life of others, too.
Teach your teenager to learn from her unwise choices. We all wish we made great choices all the time, but we all make poor decisions and foolish mistakes. I share all of mine with my daughters so they know I’m as imperfect as they come, but I still keep on going and I strive to learn from those experiences and come out stronger.
We must be extra compassionate and forgiving with our teenagers because they are going through a hard phase where their brain is still developing and their impulse control is not all there, but we must demand that they know how to take personal responsibility so they can move forward and do better.
Teach your teenager communication skills. It is essential that a teen that moves out of home knows how to communicate to others, to ask questions, and to be an active listener. My daughters know how to talk to others eloquently on the phone and how to write professional emails, and I’ve always encouraged them to raise their hand when they have something to say – it’s such a great asset!
Teach your teenager about friendship. While I do agree that our teens must be taught self-control, I believe that it is equally important to stress the importance of choosing their friends wisely. Teaching our teens to learn to recognize the traits of a true friend will help them get along with others, create long lasting relationships, avoid peer pressure, and, more importantly, be a good friend to others.
Teach your teenager to be her own advocate. It is especially tricky for me to talk about the college experience without feeling a considerable amount of panic, but I constantly need to remind myself that not everyone goes through an unspeakable tragedy on or off campus. I want my daughters to be aware of the increased threats that come with college, not to terrorize them, but to teach them how to assess risks, to be their own advocate, to know how to resolve conflict on their own, and to know what to do if they find themselves in trouble.
Teach your teenager to research on her own. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard for me not to sell my daughters the closest college as the one and only college for them. Elisha just went on a campus tour about a thousand miles away from home and it’s beyond hard for me to consider this being our new life, but it’s more important for me to be a supportive mom who is excited for the new people, adventures, and learning she will experience.
Teach your teenager to seek God. Maybe this one’s just for me, but I want to make sure that when my daughters are away they are taking care of more than just their body and their mind. I want them to genuinely and voluntarily seek daily guidance and desire to gather in a place of worship on a weekly basis to stay spiritually nurtured and uplifted.
While you are probably teaching your child this and more and you just need assurance that you’re on the right path, I think the hardest part is to teach yourself to release your child.
One of the ways I’m slowly learning to do let go is by continually nurturing her independence through providing settings she can learn to manage herself without her family.
We sometimes feel this urgency to make sure our kids have a bright future that we not only forget to be present, but we could also fill them with fear in what could be one of the most exciting times of their lives.
We need not overwhelm them, since chances are they are already overwhelmed, but help them see how with fulfilling a few expectations, staying within a few boundaries, and using sound judgment and communication, they can have a happier experience.
For all the academic evaluation, set up an appointment with Huntington Learning Center, call 1-800-CAN-LEARN and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #HuntingtonHelps.
Is your teenager ready to be on her own? Having the college conversation and helping them gain the maturity required for college must start well before they get their acceptance letters.
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Monday 20th of July 2020
[…] always said she’d finish high school early and apply to college right away. And it’s not that I didn’t believe her, I just somehow thought it wouldn’t come […]
Tuesday 27th of August 2019
Wow I know you are a proud momma. The earlier you can prep them for college the better it helps!
Friday 23rd of August 2019
It's such a big leap but also so exciting! Congrats to you daughter! I wish her all the best in her endeavors!
Friday 23rd of August 2019
Super informative post. Great job for helping your daughter prep for college. Being prepared will definitely help with being successful.
Thursday 22nd of August 2019
As a mom of a college sophmor, I agree they are never ready. I admit to still calling my son my baby boy. I will say as a mom I saw a huge shift in his attitude and emotions from high school to college. He seems happier and much more secure.