Some people make it through college with smooth sailing. For others, it is a baptism of fire. It is not uncommon for students to burn out and drop out long before securing a degree. Some few of them return and end up doing much better. This is not a big mystery. It happens because some students have no idea what to expect and have not been set up for success while others were.
Some of it is just biology. You knew the students who are able to party all night every night and indulge in every bad behavior you were warned against. Yet the next morning, they effortlessly ace their test while you struggle to get a passing grade. Their social calendar was more full than your study calendar. These freaks of nature also made the social thing look easy while you were always awkward and unsure. There is probably nothing you can do to help your kid be that person. They are either born with it or they aren’t. But there are a lot of things you can do to help set them up for success. Here are three:
Buy Them a Car
Houston is a major college town. There are well over 20 public and private colleges and universities. It is a prime location for those seeking a school of higher learning. Houston is also a very big city. If you want your kid to be all they can be in a town like that, they are going to need reliable transportation.
Check out some of the loans in Houston that will get your son or daughter a car they can afford during their time at university. You don’t want to worry about how they are getting around the city. And you don’t want them to miss out on opportunities because they did not have reliable transportation. Don’t send them to a city like Houston with nothing more than a bicycle. Good luck getting your take-out special to the dorm in one piece.
A lack of transportation can put students in a position of vulnerability. They have no choice but to get rides from friends who are not always very reliable or trustworthy at that age. If they find themselves at a gathering with which they are uncomfortable, they have no safe way of leaving if they came with someone else. Having their own car when living at home is a matter of luxury. At university, it is also a matter of safety.
Help Them Pick the Right Major
One of the most costly mistakes teens make at university is choosing the wrong major. This will cost them time and money depending on how long it takes them to realize their mistake. You can set them up for success by helping your kids choose the right major.
Choosing the wrong major can have the unintended consequence of causing burnout. This is why a lot of first-time students drop out. They were working way too hard on a program that did not engage them, or for which they were unsuited. You don’t have to wait for an admissions advisor to weigh in. You know your child a lot better than they do. And you can provide them with guidance that comes from life experience. Don’t let them blow their college fund on a major they will ultimately reject. Set them up with the right major and you will go a long way toward setting them up for success.
Give Them Incentives
If you think that a college degree should be incentive enough, you don’t know teens very well. Teens are not wired for good judgement. They are wired to respond to certain incentives. If you want your teen to go the distance in college, you have to provide the kind of incentives that matter most to them.
Maybe the car gets them into university. What is their two-year reward? Perhaps they get their own apartment instead of the cramped dorm room. After 4 years, perhaps they get to travel. Be sure that the college fund can handle more than the tuition and books. Make sure it covers enough incentives to get them all the way through.
Don’t let your kids struggle through college. It should be challenging. But it shouldn’t break them as human beings. Set them up for success by giving them reliable transportation, starting them out with the right major, and with plenty of incentives to get them to graduation and beyond.