Leaving high school

9 Steps for Easing the Transition to College

By Kate Kelly

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If your teen is headed to college, she doesn’t have to wait until high school’s over to start preparing for the transition. There are things she can do now to address challenges that may come up. Follow these steps to help teens with learning and attention issues get ready for college.


Practice breaking down long-term assignments.

When your child gets a long-term assignment, have her break it down and set dates for what needs to be done by when.


Help her develop good study habits.

Have your child block out study time on a calendar several days before a test. Help her figure out in what kind of environment she studies best. Develop a plan for taking notes. If your child has difficulty taking notes, practice other strategies, such as recording classes, or asking for a copy of the teacher’s notes. Go over other solutions to keep up with studying.


Get her comfortable meeting people.

Suggest your child move out of her comfort zone by sitting next to someone new in the cafeteria or joining a club.


Assign “advanced” chores.

Let your child do her own laundry and change linens. Make sure she knows how to shop for groceries and how to cook. In addition to mastering these skills, she’ll learn how long tasks take so she can budget her time.


Teach money management and retail skills.

Have your child create a budget and stick to it. While she’s still at home, let her learn the perils of overspending and running out of money. Learn more about how to teach money management.


Make sure she understands her learning and attention issues.

If your teen has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), make sure she participates in IEP meetings and transition planning. This can help her clearly understand her difficulties and how they affect her now—and in the future.


Cultivate her talents.

Help your child identify strengths. This will give her direction in college. The more opportunities she has to nurture interests, the greater her awareness of what she can offer.


Help her develop self-advocacy skills.

Practicing self-advocacy skills now can prepare her to explain what she needs to succeed in college.


Guide her through logistics.

Go to the campus and do some dry runs getting around. Time how long it takes to walk from the dorm to classrooms. If she has a documented disability, make sure she knows where the disability service office is.

About the Author

Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly has been writing and editing for more than 20 years, with a focus on parenting.

More by this author

Reviewed by Jenn Osen-Foss, M.A.T. May 15, 2014 May 15, 2014

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