How to Prepare Your Teen for College or University

Transitioning from high school to post-secondary education can be a difficult and often confusing period in a teen’s life. To ease some of this stress, parents can help their child make the transition smoothly by preparing a plan early. Below are a few approaches you can discuss to help your child plan ahead.

Talk About It

Figuring out where to begin when it comes to college applications can be overwhelming for teens. To get the ball rolling, parents can begin thoughtful conversations about the teen’s hopes and goals for the future. Talking things through can offer greater clarity about their interests, which program(s) may be suitable, and where to apply.

Take Advantage of Resources

Financial Aid
Thinking about finances can be stressful for a teen with little to no experience with money. Tuition costs vary across institutions and the big price tag can be scary. Luckily, there are resources available to make it less intimidating:
• Government financial aid programs such as OSAP for grants and loans.
• Government organizations such as NSLSC for money management tips, loan services and loan information.
• Scholarships and bursaries offered by schools and businesses.

Student Assistance
Many colleges and universities are deeply committed to showing students that they are not alone. Some services that offer academic and/or emotional support include:
• Academic advisors
• Tutors
• Counselling services
• Support groups

Online Resources
The internet is always a good place to begin your search for answers because the resources are endless. Some include:
• Scholarship search engines
• College and university websites
• OUAC has compiled a list of resourceful links for student guidance
• For international students: the Government of Canada website is your go-to for information on studying in Canada and how to obtain a study visa.

Increase Eligibility

Colleges and universities are more likely to take notice of students that excel academically and participate actively in extracurriculars. Below are some ways your teen can strengthen their application.
• Apply to more than your top choices of schools to increase your chances of acceptance.
• Study hard! Tutors are useful for all students, no matter your grades.
• Make an effort to connect to your teachers and community. Students with a letter of recommendation and volunteer experience are more likely to be admitted.
• Many high schools offer different course types/levels: Academic, applied, or locally developed. It is important to enrol in the correct level of courses to meet eligibility requirements for university and college degrees.

Put Yourself First

Reinforce the idea that post-secondary education is more than just getting good grades. Many teens will be gearing up to face this intimidating new phase of life on their own. As parents, you can help prepare your teen by teaching them everyday practical skills. These may include how to manage finances, teaching them how to cook and do household duties, as well as encouraging mental health awareness and physical fitness.

Manage a Timeline

Whether it’s an assignment due date, a loan repayment or an application deadline, a young adult’s life is all about juggling time-sensitive responsibilities.

How to stay on track:
• Submit early so that you don’t fall behind.
• In Ontario, the fall term deadline is February 1st, 2023.
• The document upload deadline may differ from the application deadline. Be sure to visit the university or college’s website to confirm.

Well, there you have it! There is a lot of work that goes into preparing your teen for college or university but taking the time to plan ahead will make the process more manageable and less overwhelming. Your teen will thank you in the end!