Attending university is a huge milestone. It’s an exciting time for students and families alike, experienced alongside a whole host of new challenges and a whole lot of hard work. Your child might be living in an entirely new place, learning to navigate a landscape a world apart from home. They might need to adapt to a new study routine and find their way through academia like never before. If that wasn’t enough, they’ll also be trying to make friends, connect with others on their course, and build a professional network. So, what skills would make this transition easier? And is your child prepared for the next step?
It’s important to remind your son or daughter that university is about working towards their goals. If they have a clear direction and a strong sense of what drives them, they’re going to be more motivated and focused. Ask them to picture themselves in a university library completing coursework. Then ask them what it is that will power them towards meeting each deadline. Every time they hand in a piece of work, what will they visualize themselves coming one step closer to? If your child doesn’t have a strong sense of direction yet, try researching the careers that interest them together online. Challenge them to find people who inspire them and who share their passions. Encourage them to watch films, read books and visit landmarks that align with their aspirations. A good sense of direction will fuel your child’s journey through university and into their future.
If you’re not lucky enough to have some of the best universities on your doorstep, then chances are your child might have to travel overseas. This is an exciting time and perhaps one of the first opportunities your child has had to see the wider world. It’s important to both support and encourage your child to prepare for this by exploring. Whether that’s within their local area, through a trip to another country, or through considering a high school education abroad before university. Another great way to prepare could be to learn about other cultures online. The key to making sure your child is ready to study abroad is to nurture their curiosity while making sure they have plenty of opportunity to get out of their comfort zone.
For many students, moving to university can be an overwhelming experience. If your child has always lived in the family home, then they might have grown up without needing to be independent. At university, they’ll have to take responsibility for their meals, laundry, work schedule, budget, health, and much more. The choices they make, the foods they eat, the way they spend free time or money, will all go some way towards framing their university experience.
If you think this is something your child needs to work on, perhaps you could work together to create more room for independence at home. However, if your child has attended boarding school or studied abroad, you might find they’re used to being independent and managing their time. If this is the case, then this aspect of university life won’t be a struggle for them at all. Independent students are more successful academically but also personally too – organization and routine are key factors in creating a work/life balance that works.
If your child dreams of attending university in the UK or US, then perfecting their English Language skills should be at the top of their preparation list. Not only will it be important for university interviews, examinations and admissions tests, but it will also impact their learning and overall experience should they be accepted.
Good academic English will enable your son or daughter to understand their lectures, coursework and textbooks fully. It will also help them communicate ideas, articulate their arguments, and connect with fellow students. The best way to prepare your child for this is to offer them opportunities to immerse themselves in the language completely – the best way to do this is through travel or study abroad, but English books, music and films can be a useful alternative.
One of the greatest benefits of attending university is the chance to forge connections with students from different backgrounds, cultures, and with different aspirations. By graduation, your child could have a global network of contacts who will broaden their horizons and open doors to new interests and opportunities. But how can they prepare for this? Mixing with new people in new situations can be a great way for your child to build confidence in making new friends. It’s a great idea to get some practice in especially if they’re likely to be socializing in a second language.
If this article has got you thinking, perhaps consider making your own preparation list with your child? It’s a great idea to get on the same page. Maybe there are even some things you can do while your student is still at school? It’s never too early! But most importantly, encourage your child to be excited and confident in their ability. These are just the first steps, but they lead the way to a bright future.
At EF Academy, we’re committed to preparing students for university using all of these concepts and more.