Begin now to talk about anticipated changes. Don’t wait until the week before they leave home.
Here are 8 suggestions:
1) Talk to them about the importance of immediately getting connected to faith-based organizations. Studies show that students who connect within the first 72 hours of being on campus, do best. He who hesitates, well, could get lost.
2) Encourage your teen to find a church near the campus. Staying active in his or her faith helps a person stay grounded in a college community that doesn’t share your values. Churches even pay college students to do nursery duty or help with technology. Getting involved in a church community reinforces your values.
3) Discuss the on-going pressure of premarital sex. Previous sexual relationships can ruin a future marriage. And of course the risk of sexually transmitted infections is very high and could cause life-long problems. The cavalier attitude towards casual sex is wrong and has much emotional and physical fall out. This source of temptation is ever present. Arm your teen with ways to resist and flee.
4) Help your teen relax a bit on immediately knowing his or her major. Encourage taking more general education classes until he or she has a better sense of interest or passion.
5) Choose your friends wisely. Just like in high school, who you hang out with impacts who you become.
6) The new freedom of college life can create an anything goes mindset. Yet the decisions you make in college can impact your future. For example, posting partying pictures on-line can cost you a job or internship. Poor academic performance can lose a scholarship, etc.
7) Avoid situations that place you in danger. I know teens feel invincible, but remind them that their brains aren’t fully developed yet and they need to avoid situations that impair their judgment or place them in physical danger.
8) Have your teen investigate college organizations and find those that allow a person to contribute and build a resume and character.