By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
COLLEGE PREPARATION AND READINESS
Is your high school senior REALLY ready to go off to college? There are a number of things to consider when determining whether your child is ready for a successful college experience.
The following list will help you to determine your child’s readiness. And if your child is not yet a high school senior, consider assessing and working on these items over the next year in order to help your child to become prepared.
What’s their ability to handle risk?
Are they successful when their family members are not orchestrating things on their behalf?
Can they take responsibility and learn from poor decisions
Are they able to manage their own time?
Do they know how to access supports and resources?
Can they cope with difficult feelings?
Do they know how to handle their own self care?
Who was the real director (you or your child) of this college admissions process?
Click here to read the original article by Grown and Flown in its entirety.
Typically in their junior year students begin to identify a few colleges where they’d like to apply, and recently my high school-aged clients and their parents have been discussing the college selection process.
Acknowledge any budgetary limitations. In-state tuition is always less expensive than out of state, and public universities are more reasonably priced than private. Thankfully, we have excellent colleges and universities (here) in Michigan (and locally in the Detroit area).
It is recommended that FAFSA forms be completed even if you “know” that there is no chance for governmental financial aid. FAFSA is sometimes needed for scholarships; and it’s also important in case financial situations change suddenly. (Ask your child’s high school counselor for timing on this process.)
Schedule visits to the campuses to see if your student feels that the campus they are considering is the right fit and has the proper vibe. Not all campuses are created equal and your student might have opinions about:
The campus location: some are literally located in a city, others are more isolated
Number of students on campus
Class sizes and style: lecture halls with hundreds of students, or small classes for more intimate discussions; professors or teaching assistants
Nature-based or mostly concrete structures
Older style or more modern
And of course check to see that the college offers the courses and majors that the student is most considering
Consider local community colleges, located in and out of your immediate county. Students can earn their associate’s degree in approximately two years and then transfer to a university for their diploma, and the tuition is significantly lower! They also offer certification programs for employability.
A few years ago, one of my former clients began working with a college consulting group and I had the opportunity to meet a great resource. I recently received their newsletter that included an article that I find relevant to this month’s theme: Debunking the College Selection Myths.
ALTERNATE POST-HIGH SCHOOL CONSIDERATIONS
If your child has needed school supports through high school with additional supports from you to address academic, developmental or emotional success, including executive function, maturity, independence, risk-taking, communication, learning or cognitive challenges, etc., you may be considering a non-traditional route post high school.
If your child has an IEP your transition team may have already discussed alternatives. These can include (dependent on the severity of the issues) holding their diploma to receive post-high school public education (in Michigan this can continue to age 26 for eligible students). This is especially helpful for students who can benefit from extra instruction in life skills and vocational/career training.
Outside the school you can apply for services or support through organizations like Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Michigan Career and Technical Institute, Michigan Works!, and the Autism Alliance.
Some students will benefit from a Gap Year before college to explore work, maturation or personal development.
Community colleges provide an excellent transition for students who still need regular organizational or maturational supports that wouldn’t be accessible while living on a distant campus. Students typically live at home and take one to three college classes to ease into the academic load, thus increasing the likelihood of success and confidence. Some of these students then transfer to universities, while others will study with a technical focus to receive certification for more immediate employment.
A reminder that all community colleges and universities can provide accommodations on campus in the form of a 504 Plan. (There are no IEPs after graduation.) Every school has a special office for addressing disabilities, which is typically requested after the college application and acceptance process has been completed. Also, when students were in high school, they went directly to support classes or benefitted from staff members who reached out to them to provide support. After graduation, your student must initiate the process with the college to be granted assistance (the 504 Plan), then initiate with that professor each time an approved accommodation is needed.
ADULTING: COLLEGE AND BEYOND
I wrote an article a few years ago that addressed the process of changing our relationship between adult children and their adult parents away from the dynamic of kid and adult parent. Read Parenting Your Adolescent into Adulthood.
Navigating the role of adulting is not just about the kids. A psychologist has studied the experiences of the parents of adult kids (who are in their 20s and 30s) to see the typical trends that these kids go through, and the challenges that it creates for their parents. Read about his findings here.
Judy Lipson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and educational strategist in West Bloomfield, MI. She helps clients of all ages who have learning difficulties, work or school related anxiety, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorders, and those who wish to Remember and Become ‘Who You Really Are’. Contact Judy at 248.568.8665 and firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit www.JudyLipson.com for more information.
This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to replace medical care.