For Parents: Preparing Your Child for the Social Aspects of College
Your son or daughter is about to be one of the 15 million students going off to college this year. They have spent months planning for this big day, survived months of preparation for the SAT or ACT, written college applications, and sorted through the piles of colorful brochures from colleges touting their school over all others.
As parents, you do your best to support your child through the process and help them make sense of the myriad of choices available to them. Deciding which college to go to may be one of the biggest choices your child has made at this point in their lives. Before the first day of school they will have to choose where to live and what classes to take, just to name a few. Once their postsecondary education is underway, they will face an array of options, ranging from academic to social.
Like most parents, you probably have mixed feelings about your child going to college. While you're proud to see them pursuing higher education, you know you'll miss them. You know you've done a good job getting them to this point and feel pretty confident that they're prepared for this next phase of their lives. But how many of today's college-bound students are really prepared for the alcohol and other drug challenges they'll face when they enter college?
From their first day on campus, and even from their first visit to college, your child will probably face decisions that involve alcohol or other drugs. According to recent statistics, more than half of college freshman find themselves in a situation of high-risk drinking within their first week of college. In fact, over 159,000 of today's first-year college students leave school every year for alcohol or other drug related reasons.
What can you as a parent do to help them be better prepared?
As a parent, you can do a lot to help your child be better prepared for the social aspects they will face in college. As you know, drinking under age is illegal, but the facts are that many older adolescents are already experimenting with drinking and drugs. Recent studies show that over 50 percent of high school students report drinking alcohol in the past month. The incidence of high- risk drinking only increases in college, when your child finds him/herself with a new sense of freedom away from the watchful eyes of his/her parents.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. © 2008 National Association for College Admission Counseling.
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