October 1, 2023

When you think of the things your child needs to get into a good college, you may think of tough classes, high scores, and good grades. But if you want your student to be successful during their college years, they will also need to learn a variety of emotional and life skills. These skills will help them handle the challenges that come when living away from home for the first time. There are several areas to focus on.

Money Skills

The earlier you can teach your child how to handle money, the better. This can prevent them from having credit card issues later on. Give your child the chance to set up a budget so they know how to pay for expenses while leaving some room for fun.

Teach them to manage their accounts, debit cards, and other financial products. It’s easy to fall into the temptation to give your teen a credit card for any expenses and just pay it off each month. But your child should understand that the credit card should only be used for emergencies, and buying something they want doesn’t count as an emergency.

Go over the monthly credit card statements with them and teach them to pay off the total on time. Another way you can help your teen financially is by allowing them to take out a student loan to help pay for college expenses. It’s often hard for young students to get approved on their own, so cosigning for them gets them approved faster. You can learn more about the cosigner for student loans requirements to see if it’s an option for your family.


Self-management is one of the most important skills required to be successful in college. It affects everything from risk management to decision-making. Being able to get up on time and study effectively are important because college often does not have as much structure as high school. Without strong time management skills, your child may find college to be an even bigger adjustment.

Your child will also be managing tougher academics, group living, and all the distractions and temptations that come with college life. If your child struggles with self-management, consider working on this skill. Persistence allows your child to solve all types of problems, whether it’s a printer malfunction or a bad grade. Persistence means these issues won’t cause your child to give up. Developing this skill requires you to take a step back and allow your child to solve problems on their own.


Being too rigid can keep you stuck in your ways and prevent you from solving problems. When you are stuck, you can shut down and feel hopeless. Teaching your child the ability to tolerate discomfort and adapt to their surroundings allows them to adjust better. Teach them to advocate for themselves, even if no one is around to stand up for them.

Strong Sense of Ethics

The best time to start teaching ethics is when your kids are still young. Many people in the world are unfair to others, so it’s important to teach your kids not to follow this example. They should respect others’ personal space and thresholds. You should also teach your child to be true to their work so they can do assignments to their best ability. Holding your child accountable for their living space, actions, and schoolwork can instill a strong sense of ethics.

Maintenance and Household Skills

Many kids are unprepared for life away from their parents because they don’t know how to do maintenance or take care of their things. They should learn how to fix a leaking pipe, change a flat, and fix other things that might break. You should also teach them how to do their laundry and iron anything that needs to be pressed.

If they don’t already do their own chores and clean up after themselves, you may want to assign them chores so they have a chance to learn these under your guidance. If they don’t know how to cook, teach them how to prepare basic items, like meats and vegetables, and have them cook dinner a couple of nights each week. That way, they won’t have to rely on expensive takeout or frozen meals if they get an apartment by themselves.


When your kids are self-aware, they are more likely to ask for help and engage with others with a more open mind. Teens and young adults like to try to figure things out by themselves, but they should learn when to ask for help. Getting help, when necessary, shows maturity and is part of the process of growing up.

Many students experience anxiety when they fail a project or receive a low grade, and they may wonder if they can really succeed. But this type of thinking comes from anxiety, and it often comes from the mistaken belief that there is only one path to success. You can help your teen by helping them put things into perspective.

Teaching Your Kids the Skills They Need

If your kids go to school without these basic skills, they are more likely to fall victim to mistakes. Without the right emotional skills, a college student might suffer in silence. Be a good listener by listening to what your kids have to say without adding your own advice right away. Try not to communicate anxiety over how your kids are handling the things life throws their way. Instead, let them experience failure now, from the relative safety of home.

You may allow them to start a year in high school without your monitoring grades. If things go wrong, you will still have time to regroup. And when helping them through problems, ask them how they plan to deal with the issue instead of simply telling them how to fix it. While your kids will make poor choices, they need to be allowed to do this because it’s part of the process of becoming an adult. You might be amazed at their growth once they hit college.