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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Making Community College Important

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Sometimes young adults are not ready for a 4-year university right out of high school, but the transition from high school to college still includes many changes for the teen, the parent, and the family. It is important that the transition get acknowledged and that families go through many of the same processes experienced by families with university-bound teens.

The habits that get established the first semester of college, including community college, are important and are related to the attitude of the teen and family. You can help your student do a better a job in school by taking college seriously, acknowledging how hard your child is working and giving them as much emotional and financial support as possible.

There are a few things you can do to help your student get a good start:
  • Attend the parent orientation
  • Encourage the student to join campus social groups
  • Encourage your student to stay on campus to do homework, meet with professors and meet other students
  • Encourage your student to talk about what s/he is learning, the professors, and any challenges
  • Find any needed tutoring groups with your student (math, writing)
  • Discuss how much housework they are expected to do
  • Discuss any problems they are having turning off their computer, getting enough sleep, keeping a schedule
  • Discuss financial expectations - is their room and board free, who pays for gas, car washes, and insurance, will you provide money for lunches or social activities?
College students carrying 15 units should be in class and doing homework for 45 hours a week - that is more than a full time job. If they also have to commute and work they will have very little free time. Help them treat community college just like living away at college- their focus should become college and their own growth. They need our support to make the most of it!

Photo credit: Pat Hawks
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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