Life & Relationships

4 Ways to Prepare Your Child for College

Practical tips for parents with children heading to college.

March 16, 2017

Does your child have what it takes to succeed in college? Here are some tips for you to help them prepare for the transition.

1. Prepare Them Spiritually

Do you remember any “faith warriors” who influenced you when you were young in your faith? Christian community and supportive mentors are important elements in each person’s spiritual journey. Christian community can help your child learn to follow God on their own in the face of challenges.

Encourage them to research churches and Christian ministries prior to their move to college. Our ministry, Cru, is a caring community that has been helping college students since 1951. Ministries of Cru exist on college campuses all over the U.S. Joining a ministry like Cru gives students the chance to discover their purpose in Christ.

2. Prepare Them Academically

College is more academically demanding than high school. Students who once were involved in many school activities have to learn to prioritize, but won’t consider time management until they become stressed.

While they are still under your roof, you can model responsibility and time management to them. Let them know there are 168 hours in a week, so you have to pick your top two to three weekly priorities. Talk about how you decide what is most urgent for you to accomplish.

Also, it may be wise for you to step back now from planning their schedules for them so they can begin to make these choices themselves.

3. Prepare them Financially 

After setting your child up with a debit card, encourage them to download the Mint App to begin tracking expenses within a budget. If they want to have enough money for a concert, encourage them to start realizing they cannot spend more money than they have in their bank account.

Help them to understand what their financial reality is when taking out loans and encourage them to take responsibility for their future. Clarify whether you intend to help them financially during college.

If your child will need to pay off loans, ask them how long they would ideally like to have to pay off their debt. Discuss what they will need to do in order to make that payment timeline possible. When attending the college orientation, encourage your child to consider looking for jobs before the term starts as on-campus jobs can be competitive.

4. Prepare Them Relationally

Many freshmen desire to make new friendships during the first six weeks of college. Encourage your child to keep their door open to passing neighbors and to take initiative asking other students to hang out with them during this key time of relationship building.

Give them space and support as they invest time and energy in forming these bonds. Ask how often they would like to hear from you and respect their need for independence.

The ministry of Cru is providing underclassmen students the chance to find Christian community and connect with an upperclassmen.

You can help connect your child to a Cru upperclassman on their campus.


A Legacy of Changed Lives

See how students are making a lasting impact through summer missions with Cru.

©1994-2024 Cru. All Rights Reserved.