There are many skills that students must have in order to be successful in college. As we work with our clients, we assess a variety of skills that are necessary for students’ success in college. Here are some areas to assess before deciding to apply to traditional colleges:
1. Academic Skills: College has added academic pressures that aren’t addressed in high school. Executive functioning is the main area in which we see students struggle. If organization, time management, and initiating tasks are a struggle for your student make sure that they will be able to have help learning those important skills. We see many students who are intellectually gifted but struggle immensely due to executive functioning deficits. This is not a small piece and it must be supported if a student struggles in this area.
2. Social Skills: Just imagine a college experience without friends to eat with, go to the big game with or even study with. That is not a college experience in our eyes. If your child doesn’t have friends in high school, it is unlikely they develop the interest or ability to make friends in a traditional college.
3. Independent Living Skills: Living in a dorm is not as easy as people may think. Students must be able to get along with their roommate or roommates, go to bed without prompting, get coursework done in a timely fashion, wake up on their own, do laundry, and stay clean. There is nothing worse than being the student who doesn’t leave their dorm room because they can’t find their shoes, or ran out of clean clothes.
4. Emotional Regulation: College is stressful, not just because of the academics but because of the areas discussed above. Being able to juggle all the balls at once can lead to anxiety for students who are not prepared. This anxiety could then move students to isolate from their classes and friends. Again, there is no need for students to end up avoiding the stress by isolating and subsequently being asked to leave college for lack of success.
What can your students do if they are college able but not ready?
There are amazing options for students who fall into this category! Not only can students start to take college courses, but they can do so with the added support that they need to build the skills that they are lacking. After a year or two, these students can then thrive in a traditional college!