Tips to Prepare Your Kid for College: It’s Not All Academic Reply

The beginning of your child’s college life can be a bit too overwhelming for both you and your child. It is necessary that you take an active role in ensuring that your child succeeds. College life awaits many challenges and hence it demands a lot of planning in advance. It’s your child’s first time away from home while taking up new responsibilities like managing time and finances.

So here are 5 effective ways which can help prepare your child for college:

1. Understanding Their Interest – Your child’s interest may not necessarily fall into the realm of academics. His or her interests may well revolve around sports, drama, writing or dance. Once your child is clear where his or her passion lies, the choice of college course becomes relatively easy. Hence, understand your child’s interest or if he or she is confused, you can help in making a choice.

2. Preparing Them Academically and Financially – One of the many ways your child can simplify the transformation from high school to college in terms of academics is to include any type of college level course in the high school syllabus itself. The earlier they start giving standardized tests the more it will help them tackle academics in college confidently. Also, college education is expensive. This is precisely why you and your child must plan the related finances. You can encourage your child to go for a scholarship or a part time job which will help them understand how to handle personal finances. You can also consider the option of online education. It offers numerous and diverse competitive courses which are convenient and affordable to pursue.

3. Preparing the Essentials – Your child will require certain important things which may or may not be mentioned in the college brochure. Here’s some of the most basic yet essential things to help you start preparing:

  • Laptop
  • Desk lamp
  • Alarm clock
  • Laundry bag, basket, soap
  • Weather specific clothing
  • Umbrella, raincoat, jacket, shoes, etc.
  • First aid kit with pain relievers
  • Health insurance information
  • Iron and small ironing board
  • Bedding
  • Backpack
  • Cell phone
  • Extension cord and power strip

4. Teaching Money Management – Teaching your child to set a budget early in high school is important. This is beneficial as well as a great opportunity for you to get your child a checking account and teach them how to make sharp financial decisions. It is important to teach them about the use of credit card and its debt early. It’s equally critical that you teach them to pay off the card debt every month or use the card only in case of emergencies. Encourage them to take up a part-time job and teach them to be responsible about spending and saving their earnings.

5. Benefiting from Online Courses – Enrolling your child for online courses while they are still in high school not only saves a lot of money but also takes off a huge load which they would probably carry in their freshmen year. Online courses come with many advantages including convenience and affordability. You only need to ensure that the colleges shortlisted by your child accept these online courses, which most of the colleges normally do. Online education will help your child prepare for college substantially in terms of coping with academics.

These 5 simple yet effective steps will not only prepare your child for college but will also teach them the life skills they will require when they are responsible for their self during college.


Making education simple and easy to comprehend is Dana Jandhyala’s forte. She’s had a long career as an educator where she has taught in several different schools and institutes in multiple countries. Today, she helps students with personalized online tuitions by MySchoolPage that help make concepts easy to understand, making learning fast and fun. She writes to help students study better and to coach parents so they can facilitate the success of their children.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.

Money Saving Tips for University First-Timers Reply

Starting university is a significant change in life and it affects your lifestyle and your whole personality. It brings many challenges, both academic and personal, which will require you to make tough choices, adjust to various conditions, face injustice and all that pretty much on your own, which will eventually result in making you a mature and independent grown-up. Therefore, that path is filled with moments of both despair and great happiness.

Your finances are one of the aspects of your life that will be affected. Not only will the whole dynamic of spending money change once you start uni, but also the things you spend money on. This is the time when you’ll realize that food doesn’t magically appear on the table, milk and juice do not regenerate in your fridge and if you don’t remember to buy shampoo or soap, nobody else will. The trick is to know how you spend money and to become aware of your budget and your expenses. You should learn to prioritize, so you should always know what you absolutely need and what you can survive without for another week or month. All this will be overwhelming, but here’s how you can start adjusting.

Buy essentials first

As soon as you receive your allowance, make sure to cover all your basic needs. Those may include rent, food, toilet paper, your monthly subscription for the gym, library, etc. Set aside all the money you need to spend on these necessities and leave it on the side. It’s not easy to provide food for the whole month, but make sure to buy canned food, pate, noodles and similar supplies that don’t expire quickly so you can have something to eat when you run out of money.

Set up a budget

Creating a spending plan sounds like a great idea. However, it’s really difficult and even the most realistic and experienced people find it impossible to make an accurate plan since unexpected expenses often arise. If one month is difficult to plan, divide your whole budget into four equal parts and have a weekly budget. It will be much easier for you to manipulate it this way.

Plan your shopping

After you’ve decided on what essentials you need to buy, you probably won’t be able to buy them all at once. If you cannot trust yourself not to spend the money you should leave reserved, try buying a gift card. For example, you can buy a practical Visa gift card for a bookstore and buy your books and office supplies when you need them. Also, try to avoid sudden visits to 24/7 shops. They are much more expensive, but if you suddenly get hungry at 3 am, you won’t have any other choice but to pay a higher price. This is why it’s important to do your monthly or weekly shopping in supermarkets where there are discounts and prices are generally lower.

Avoid unnecessary expenses

Your friends will often invite you for coffee breaks at uni. Also, classes stretch throughout the day and students usually feel sleep deprived due to obligations and especially during exams. This is when you turn to buying endless coffees and energy drinks. Not only that this is unhealthy, but it’s also expensive, especially when you calculate the amount of money you spend on these each month.

Save for a rainy day

This part is particularly difficult, but try to create a stack where you’ll hide money from yourself. Set aside a certain amount of cash each month and put it in your piggy-bank. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but it’s good to know you have some money lying around in case of any sudden expenses. For example, you’ll need to buy a book or copy somebody’s notes, pay for some documents etc.

Make deals with friends

You should also have a good friend that is in a similar situation as you, preferably someone who is also a student. In case you need some extra cash, you can always turn to this friend of yours who will understand and won’t hold it against you. It’s great to have someone who is ready to jump in and lend you some cash or treat you to a coffee or lunch. However, this agreement should bring benefits to both parties, only at different times.

There are many ways to save money. However, don’t set your expectations too high when trying to get your financial life in order. It won’t be easy, especially since you’re new in this area. Not everything has to be perfect. For starters, try to survive a few months without remaining penniless. That will be a major success. Later on, try to be better every day and you’ll see some progress in the future.

Emma Miller is a marketer and a writer from Sydney. Her focus is digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She’s a contributor at Bizzmark blog and a mother of two.

All views and opinions of guest authors are theirs alone and are not representative of the views of or its parent company Nelnet.