By now, your teen has probably decided if college is in the future and which college that might be. This is a good time to talk about the change that is about to take place in new living arrangements or new rules for the current arrangement, new perspectives on both sides, and different expectations, operating procedures and challenges.
Don't wait until college "Parents Day" to try to deal with fallout from your child's encounter with academic standards that may be far different from high school, her adjustment to a new social environment, or his desire to escape the college dorm and flee to the security of home. Talk now about the upcoming changes, your expectations for your child's behavior and academic performance, and the ways to turn challenges into successes.
College is a new frontier, and many things will be vastly different from high school. Both you and your child will have some adjusting to do. It is important that you enter into this new environment understanding each other and the perspectives you each have.
Here are some pointers you can share that will help your student bridge the gap and succeed in college.
• Be diligent. College is serious business. You need to figure out the structure, expectations and pace at which things will move. Daily attention to the academic rigors of college is paramount to success. Don't let things slip. Don't wait to be told what to do. Don't put off assignments. It's called time-management -- and it's crucial.
• Be persistent. As Maya Angelou said, "You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."
• Be visible. Let your professor know who you are. Take advantage of office hours. Ask questions in class.
• Be engaged. Reach out to other students and the services the college offers. Take advantage of available social organizations. You will meet some important friends this way and make your experience so much richer. Contact your parents, friends, relatives, professors or counselors. Don't try to do it all yourself. Ask for help.
• Be open. Try new things, take advantage of new opportunities, look at things in a different way. Learning is what college is all about.
• Be selective. Find friends who will be good influences in your life. Separate your own knowledge of what is right from what "everyone" says is right.
• Be prepared. Don't go to class half-ready. Don't avoid the work that is required. Don't slough off assignments. Make sure you are ready for prime time, every day.
• Be responsible. Take credit for successes and failures.
• Be forgiving. Give yourself a break. If you make a mistake, learn from it and let it go. The goal isn't to go through life perfectly. The goal is to learn as much as you can and use your knowledge to give back.
• Be the difference. You are important to the world and can make a difference in it. Be attentive to opportunities to serve and share your unique talents, perspectives and abilities.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of the new book "Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers." Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at dads2dadsllc.com. Contact them at tomandbill@Dads2Dadsllc.com.