College Freshman 101
Here are a few things you should share with your teen before they go to college this fall.
A number of Lawrenceville teens will be their first year of college this fall. One of the many dreams that teens have is starting college and embarking upon a new chapter in their life. For most parents, this transition bring mixed emotions, but overall going away to college can be a good thing for both parties. In order to help your teen make the right decisions during their first year of college make sure you discuss the following:
Academic Probation is Real: One of the many mistakes many freshmen make during that first semester of school is failing their fall semester courses. If you party too much throughout your first few months of school, you will either be placed on academic probation or be sent home. Academic probation usually gives you the opportunity to do better the next semester, but if you don’t then you will be sent home. In order to avoid this downfall, educate your student regarding what the gpa requirments are in at their college. Academic probabtion doesn’t care what your SAT or ACT scores were nor do they care if you were your high school's valedictorian.
College Parties: These are just a part of the college experience, however if you are going to party there are a few things your teen should know. #1 always get your own drink. The date rape drug can easily be slipped into a drink and is tasteless. It is best to get your own drink and if you have to leave your drink…get a new one. #2 Never leave your friends unless you have to. #3 Always let someone know where you are going. #4 DTA-Don’t Trust Anybody.
You Can Lose Your Scholarship: Inform your teen that even though they have ten scholarships supporting the next four years of their education. If they mess up they can lose those scholarships. This is one of the misperceptions that your student may have. Make sure they know about the scholarship requirements in order to keep their education fully-funded.
Freshman 15: This is not a myth… it could happen to you! Unlike the colleges of the baby boom generation, colleges actually feed their students now, probably a little too much. Most students receive a meal plan that provides buffet style meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At least that’s what I experienced. I also remember having every kind of ice cream accessible to me including Haggen Dazz… Oh those were the days! Anyhow, in order to combat those pounds it’s important to use the gyms that may be on campus. The last thing you want is for your child to dive right into a pint of ice cream to combat the stress of college.
Don’t Spend Your Refund Check: If you have financial aid through loans, please keep in mind that a refund check is not free money. Loan institutions have already decided the amount of money they are going to lend you. With that said sometimes they send more than needed. For example, your tuition bill may be $15,000, but your loan is for $20,000. Your student would then receive a $5,000 refund check. When a student receives this check they have one of two options, you can either keep it for yourself or put it back towards the loan. Putting it back towards the loan would be the best thing to do. That way you will have less money to pay back when you graduate. Just remember that a refund check is not free money. It’s the same as getting a credit card in the mail. If a student spends it that studen will have to pay it back.
Follow Your Dreams: Let's be real here, as a parent I would love for my son to be a doctor and my daughter to be a lawyer. But in reality if those professions are not in line with their dreams they won't be happy. There is an overwhelming amount of superstars and entrepreneurs who have said the same thing... Follow your dreams. I know plenty of friends and other moms who have a degree in something they are not doing, not because of the economy, but because they have a desire to do something else. There's no need to go to school and pay all that money only to do something completely different when you graduate. Talk to your child about their major. Find out if they are truly passionate about what they are majoring in.
The first year of college can be the most impacting to a young adult's life. These few tips can definitely help keep them on the right track.