Visiting a college campus allows a first hand experience – visit a dorm, the library, have lunch in the commons. A visit to more than one college is best – don’t just visit the one you want them to attend (or they want to attend). As you visit, listen for hints from your student about how it “fits” him/her. Talk to the Admissions and/or the Financial Aid Offices and meet with some faculty if possible. Be sure to get a catalog. Ask about special scholarships. Give your student a chance to “experience” being on a college campus.
Develop another “Parent”
Use stateside assignment time to help your student develop a good relationship with family members or close friends of the family, who can later fill the role of surrogate parents when they return to the US for college/vocational school, etc. This is a person who can help in case of any emergencies. Finding the right person can be tricky – you must trust and respect this person and so must your student. It is vital that the student can relate to them easily. (Ask friends, family, and co-workers to drop in on the student while at college.)
Prior to leaving your host country provide your college-bound student and family the opportunity to visit special places – vacation spots, special people, places that hold special memories for your college-bound student. Visit that one place you have never gotten to yet and/or that one place your student treasures so much. Allow for natural good-byes. Encourage your colleagues to have some kind of special recognition of senior high school students at gatherings prior to their departure.
Teach to Budget
Begin early to teach your student about management of time and money. Good budgeting skills go a long way in college. (A sheet “Helps in Banking” is available at Entrust Federal Credit Union). Open a checking account for your student. Help your student to make good decisions and to be independent.
Be Aware – College is a time of:
Faith Development for student
Late adolescence is a time for asking about one’s faith. Personal spirituality expands during these years and sometimes growth is painful. Pray for your student. Allow them to struggle with their commitment to Christ and their church identity. They may have difficulty finding a good local church. Campus ministries provide good support for many. Be sure to find out about various campus ministries when you visit colleges.
Transition for Family
The whole family is affected as one student moves away to college. Transition affects each member. Parents may experience loss or empty nest, while a person may lose personal support or find a new position in the family and a new room in the house. Beware of stresses and find appropriate ways to handle them.