Preparing Your Child for University

The stresses of starting university are undeniable. If your child has not attended boarding school, they are likely leaving home and living on their own for the first time in their lives. While it is nearly unavoidable that there will be some measure of stress, there are many things that you can do to facilitate the transition. Preparation for university starts early - not just in the year (or two) leading up to it. Beginning from a student’s primary school years, parents and educators should work together to make sure that the student is confident, self-motivated, and encouraged to work independently.

Study skills

This is one of the most important aspects of education that, when taught at an early age, will help ensure future academic success. The approach is not one-size-fits-all, and students, educators, and parents should work together in a collaborative process to find what works best for each student. Some students learn best by rote memorisation. They might make flashcards and then review them nightly to make sure that they are learning and absorbing the material. In school, I liked to have a two-column notebook: on the right side I would jot down notes as fast as possible during lectures, and on the left side I would summarize the notes in my own words when I got home from school. Other students learn visually and may benefit from colour-coding the notes to indicate different topics or ideas.

Organization

Like study skills, every student is different when it comes to what organization techniques work for them. Keeping a diary with due dates and assignments is fundamental. Wether it be using binders, folders or anything else to organize their school materials students should work to find a sustainable system that works for them.

Time-management

In university, students are expected to work much more independently. In school, students will often have many small assignments and examinations spaced throughout the year until they reach their A-level or IB years. Similarly, in university, marks for modules are often comprised of a single examination or essay. Cramming might work when you’re being assessed on small, discrete topics, however, it is near-impossible for students to achieve the highest levels in sixth form or university without proper time-management. Throughout their education, students should be encouraged to revise independently and set clearly defined revision schedules for themselves.

Ask questions

It’s an overused cliche, but ‘There’s no such thing as a stupid question’. As students progress in their education, they should constantly be encouraged to ask questions on topics that they do not understand. In primary school, students receive individualized attention. As students progress into secondary school and university, the onus shifts to them to seek answers when they do not understand something. Students should always feel comfortable and confident admitting when they do not know something and feel empowered to ask their parents and educators questions.

Get more sleep

Many of the students that I work with are simply not getting enough sleep. A 2015 Stanford University study links sleep deprivation with an inability to concentrate, poor grades, and anxiety. University only amplifies this problem as students are fully in charge of their own decisions for the first time in their lives. With proper time management and a regular schedule, students should be able to keep the myriad of negative consequences associated with sleep deprivation at bay. Autonomy One of the best ways to ensure that your child is ready for the realities of

Autonomy

One of the best ways to ensure that your child is ready for the realities of university is to give them a certain degree of freedom and independence, while still having high expectations. Rather than have their schedule micro-managed by educators and parents, students should be encouraged to work independently, with it being clear that their results should still meet expectations.

Basic life skills

Students should be taught everyday skills to help to ease the stress of the transition to university. If you’re going to uni, there will be a whole host of tasks that you will have to undertake on your own, such as opening a bank account, keeping a budget, and doing laundry. All of these tasks can cause undue stress if students are not properly prepared for them. Teaching your child a favourite recipe from home can help stave off homesickness when they move away, and ensure that they’ll be eating something slightly more nutritious than pot noodles.