October is a great month to address the skills needed to prepare for college. By this time you and your student are settled in to the new school year, the favorite classes have been identified, and the academic hot spots have been addressed. The days are crisp, your optimism is intact, and you feel success happening.
Sooo, ready to talk college, then? Ideally, college prep starts in middle school, not the summer prior to college. Many families usher their children through to the senior year of high school, then have a series of panic attacks in the spring as they realize their child isn’t quite ready for college. Want to avoid that panic attack? Start the prep now!
Consider all that you do for your child: wake them up, schedule dentist appointments, remind them to shower/start homework/turn in homework/take a break from video games. You remind your child to eat veggies, get enough sunshine and sleep, and engage in life. Who will do that when they go to college? (If you are having a panic attack right now, please, take some cleansing breaths, get some sunshine for a bit, then circle back!)
Here are some resources to prep you and your child for college:
- I love a good checklist, and Asperger’s 101 provides a quick article and checklist.
- OAR https://researchautism.org/oar-releases-new-college-guide/ has a great book about college life, prepping for college, etc.
- WE have a great book about college!
- Opportunities for Post Secondary Success at Colorado State University http://www.ccp.chhs.colostate.edu/programs/ops_post_secondary.aspx has outstanding programming and coaching services.
Here is your overall strategy: choose a topic (health and safety, academics, time management, anything you dream up!) and set some mini goals. Recognize progress, highlight successes, identify next steps, repeat. Keep going until you feel confident that you can leave your child on a college campus and neither of you will have a panic attack.
Already staring that senior year in the face and just getting started (pronounced: looking up symptoms of a panic attack)? Be flexible. There is no rule that your child must start college in the fall, with a full load, living on campus. Consider some flexible options: try a part-time schedule, or some time on a campus nearby, or try some courses while living at home, or maybe take a gap year.
Daunting? Sure! Possible? Yes! You already did a bunch of hard stuff just to get to this point. And you have to get your child to engage in adulthood, whether or not they go to college! Breathe, take a lap around the block for some fresh air and sunshine, and then get after those skills!