What college is like after the party ends

How can you help your teen get ready for what college is really like?

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  • “I can’t wait to get out of here and go to college!”

  • As a parent, you might be hearing this from your teen every day. Around the time they turn 18, teens’ grouchiness levels tend to skyrocket, while their academic motivation plummets. After getting accepted to the school of their dreams, they can lose focus altogether.

  • This video shows the ideal college situation at the University of Maryland. Sports, dancing, flash mobs, and running onto the court after an exciting win are all of the elements for a successful college experience. For many high schoolers, this is how they picture life after graduation. All worries and stress are replaced with constant entertainment. You can forget actual studying; classes are on the backburner since it’s finally time to be free and experience the most fun of your life.

  • Reality only kicks in after the books are unpacked and homework adds up. Freshmen quickly realize that college is much more than constant giggles and goofing off. There’s a lot of fun to be had at college, but after the dancing and pizza parties die down, mountains of studying and assignments keep piling up.

  • As a parent, it's important to help your future college kids get ready for the challenges that come from living independently as a student. They might mentally already have their bags packed, but they still could use your help. Here are 5 tips on how you can help get your teen ready to take on the world.

    • Organizing the details of college like dorms and tuition can make signing up for college a headache. Help your high school senior by researching her future. Of course, your teen will already be craving independence, so make sure not to step on her toes by stealing her glory. The best way to balance this is to sit down at the beginning of college plans and talk about his anxieties and ask where he needs your help.

    • Help your soon-to-be-student study and sign up for college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT during the end of the junior year or the beginning of the senior year. No one likes studying for a test or filling in endless bubble sheets, but it's an important part of the college application process.

    • Pizza stops tasting good after you eat it every single day. Teach your almost-college student some basic homemaking skills like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping to make his life more enjoyable. You've probably taught him a thing or two over the years. Now is a great time for some last-minute advice.

    • Keep it real when talking about college. Her expectations of perfection might be a little bit too high. Maybe she is anxious and needs her fears of independence to be eased. Whatever your teen needs, try to be honest with her about the ups and downs that are coming her way.

    • Fight "Senioritis," that dreaded illness that makes every senior lazy. Remind your teen to keep focused in school so his grades don't suffer. Plus, it's good practice for the harder classes he will face in college.

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  • Your fun-loving high school senior may be counting down the days until he can escape your presence, but don’t let that hurt your feelings. Someday, he will call you from his college town and tell you he is are sick of eating Top Ramen daily, he hates doing his own laundry, and, most importantly, he misses you. Until that day, help him get ready for one of the most exciting learning experiences of his life.

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Alysa Kleinman is a journalism student and an intern at Deseret Digital Media. 

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