Preparing a High School Senior for College

My eldest son will soon graduate from senior high school. Finally! If the Philippine school curriculum was not modified to follow the K-12 program, he should have been in college two years ago.

Anyways. He already took 4 college entrance exams and is scheduled to take two more. He already passed two entrance exams. We're still hoping and praying that he'll be accepted in the top university. If he'll go to a public university, tuition won't be a problem. If he'll go to a private university, we need to look for a scholarship grant to help with the expenses. We have 5 children and we would really need the financial assistance.

College Entrance Review

As a preparation for the college entrance exams, we enrolled him in the review classes offered by Review Masters because it was nearest our place and they offer online classes. I really don't know if we didn't have to do that. If my son only had the initiative to review on his own, maybe he could have skipped the review classes and we saved 7k. But I believe the review classes helped him learn or relearn the important things with respect to the college entrance exams especially the UPCAT.

Preparing for College Tips - My Personal Thoughts

Besides the stress that his going to college will put on our finances, there will be other things that would be a big challenge. Going to college is a time of great change. Even if I think that he's ready to go to college, he will need to make a lot of adjustments - the commute, the style of learning, having new peers, professors and more. The more ready he is to face all these challenges, the better his chances are of succeeding and staying happy during his college years.

College is more than "Book-Learning." It is about new experiences and not all of them happen inside the classroom. So, a high school senior must be prepared for that. As parents, we need to make sure that our children are ready for that. How can we do that?

Well, we should begin while they are young. We need to do our part in laying a good foundation in the life of our children. A lot of things come into play in order to do that - their character development, their education, their spirituality, their social environment. Every child is different, but these things altogether develop who he/she is going to be.

College would mean that it's time for our children to be more independent. But we're not yet totally letting them go. We need to assure them that our relationship with them will not change and that we will support them in pursuing their goal.

There will still be limitations that they should know about. We, parents, need to talk to our high school senior about alcohol, drugs, smoking, sex, and other serious matters, and not let their friends or media dictate what they should believe about these things.

I believe it's also very important to teach them about responsibility in spending. Provide only an agreed-upon sum of money. But be ready to add some more only when necessary. This won't be a problem if we teach our teens/kids the value of hard work and saving money early on.

There is so much to a college experience today, and each person's experience will be different. Some of that is because of differences in personality. However, some of it also depends on how far away from home the college is. Living in a dormitory or boarding house will bring in a lot more changes. The influence you have over your child will be much less than if he lived at home.

As children go off to college, realize that even the best parenting doesn't always spare a child from challenges. We can prepare them for college the best we can, but after all it's up to them.

Lastly, it would be good to help your senior high schooler visualize the future, so they're focused on their goal. Technology is changing the way things are done today and it affects the education of our children for good and for bad. Just look at how social media and the gaming industry (not to mention ML) has affected the youths of today. It can be really hard to get them to take the future seriously. But sharing good information is crucial, so just do it. Those who get it will be rewarded with success.

As your senior goes off to college, don't assume that he/she will perform exactly the way you expect. Keep in mind that there will be an adjustment period. Not all people are ready for college after high school. If your child isn't ready and doesn't perform well, don't give up on him/her. Just give the support that he/she needs. Eventually, your child will find his or her way in college.


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