How to prepare your teenager for college

7 talking-point tips that dads can go over with their teens before they head off to college

By Tyler Ragghianti
Posted on Aug 3, 2014 - 7:30am

How to prepare teenager for college

College is a time of transition for both parents and teens.

Sending your teen off to college may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. So how do you prepare your teen for college?

After all, it’s a time of transition–for them and for you.

And it’s no secret that college brings with it many challenges and temptations. What advice can you give you teen?

Dr. Mindy Sloan, associate vice president of research and student success at Ashford University, has four children ages 20 to 25. She recommends reinforcing basic messages that you’ve likely been doing all along.

“Support your teens by telling them they are smart and capable and that the transition into adulthood requires them to use their intelligence and make good choices,” she said.

Some of tips for prepare your teen for college:


1. Be safe – College is a time of greater independence. Some don’t know how to handle increased freedom and find themselves in unhealthy environments. Mom and dad won’t be there to tell you to leave a party before it gets out of hand, to lock the front door, to keep your cell phone charged and to keep gas in the tank. Be alert to surroundings, keep your cell phone with you and know who to call if faced with an emergency.

2. Choose friends wisely – Find friends that have the same values and priorities as you do. Avoid people who are in college just to party and don’t set appropriate boundaries. Be respectful, friendly and courteous to all, but selective about those with whom you develop close relationships.

3. Remember long term goals – A college education can bring benefits that last a lifetime. Remember that graduation is the goal. There may be times when you think a particular social event is the most important thing in your life. It isn’t that important if it compromises the likelihood that you will achieve longer terms goals Get your degree now, and the other things will all fall into place later.

4. Set priorities and manage your time – There will be many competing responsibilities. Attending class is a top priority, as is completing assignments on time. Many students procrastinate and find themselves cramming for exams at the last minute. Create a schedule that begins with work, and then includes all the other activities that can help you be the best you possible. Set yourself up to succeed.

5. Maintain healthy habits – You must be healthy to be effective at college. The “freshman 15” refers to how commonplace it is for students to gain weight in the first semester, which is usually the result of too much fast food. Make a promise to yourself that you will eat and drink things good for you all the while maintaining at least some physical activity.

6. Manage money – Money, or the lack of it, is a major stressor for many college students. Perhaps this is the first time you’ve created and managed a budget. Determine how much money you have and how much money you will need for the costs of tuition, parking, books, food, gas, rent, and so forth. Know how much money can be spent on food each day, what must be put aside for later expenses and how to pay bills. It takes good planning.

7. Call home – College can be one of the best times of a student’s life. But take time to reach out to family and friends. The sound of your voice, a simple text message, or a quick email can make all the difference. As much as everyone wants you to succeed, they do miss you.

A passion for sports led Tyler Ragghianti to brief stints with Fox Sports Florida and Bright House Sports Network. After spending two spring trainings filming with the New York Yankees, Tyler decided to step away from the camera and begin a career with Selig Multimedia, Inc. Tyler graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s in broadcast journalism. He spends his personal time creating memories with his wife and passing along his enthusiasm for sports to their son.