Friday, February 19, 2016

What College Brochures Don't Say: Developing Skills for College

Friday, February 19, 2016



So not my child's bed!
Well, the final Morton child is exiting the nest for college in four months!  Although I am excited for her, I am really nervous as well!  I truly believe she is academically ready for the rigor of college, but my husband and I are both concerned that she is not quite mature enough for college life.  It is difficult for me to see her living on her on when her bed has not made in weeks, she has clothes lying on the floor that are so old that they can get up and walk, and she constantly has to be reminded to lock the door when she comes home in the evening. I will admit that we have enabled our daughter to be a student without having much responsibility.  It is not a secret that today's teens have parents who want to protect them from life's daily struggles. Although teens may be academically ready for college, their inability to navigate everyday life skills is impacting  college completion rates. In an analysis of 18 industrialized country by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranked ninth in college enrollment, but last in college completion.  According to adolescent expert, Tim Elmore, although teens are consuming information far earlier, they often lack real life experience and operate under an "artificial maturity". Knowing that my daughter is "at risk" for not completing college due to my parenting style is eye opening!!

As a school counselor, who so just happens to be a parent, I realize that the phenomena of the at-risk college student is becoming a huge problem in our society. Although college brochures show college life as a dream, they do not share the whole story. So, I have decided to take my real life challenge and write a blog post regarding how to help families prevent a college nightmare.

Resources For Helping Students and Families Prepare For College Life

Although it is the final semester for our seniors, the good news is that there is still time to prepare them for college life.  In my research, I found a great website by author, Harlan Cohen, regarding preparing students for college life.  In his books and webinars, his goal is to help students to survive their first year of college by educating students and parents about the transition time between high school and college. While Cohen believes that 90% of college life is "amazing" and 10% is uncomfortable, students either will either face those challenges or avoid being uncomfortable. When students fail to face uncomfortable moments, they can be at risk for dropping out.  In fact, Cohen found that during the first year of college 66% of students are get homesick and one out of four students will ultimately transfer. To help students and parents in this time of transition and preparation, he offers a free webinar for families called 17 Things to Do the Summer Before Going to College. In addition to his webinar, Cohen has authored some books for first year college students and parents, The Naked Roommate's First Year Survival Handbook and The Naked Roommate for Parents Only.  Oh by the way, Cohen also writes advice books for dating as well!



Since we are super busy and may not have time to watch the webinar, please check out the slides here.

Want to prepare next year's college going students? Feel free to check out my year long guide for students and parents.

Year Long Guide for Teaching Life Skills


Want to use these activities?  Download your own power point and handout.

10 Monthly Activities for High School Students Power point
Teaching Students 10 Monthly College Life Skills

Another suggestion for preparing students is to conduct monthly workshops featuring a life skill topic. Need resources and curricula?  No problem!  I have a great free resource of lesson plans you can download for your students and parents.  Here is a sample of resources for you to view.

In addition to my 10 lessons and the free resources, check out these additional resources from campus safety to getting along with your college roommate.

Resources

Teen Life Lessons

7 Things to Do Before Your Kids Goes to College

Prepping Kids so They're Ready Thrive Adults

Essential Life Skills for High Schoolers to Build Before College

10 Tips College Freshmen Should Know

10 Questions Every Parent/Student Should Ask About Campus Safety

10 Life Skills Your Teen Needs Before Leaving Home

Five Tips to Getting Along With Your Roommate

If you have materials and ideas you use in with your students, I would love to hear about them!!!