5 Skills to Let Your High School Student Practice Before College


High school kids walk in hallway.The high school years can be a blur of academics and extracurricular activities for students and families. But before your young adult sets off for college campus life, here are five skills that will make the transition from home much less stressful — especially for moms!

Schedule Their Own Appointments

Your minor child will not be able to arrange for initial visits with certain practitioners, but once services are underway they might have the opportunity to schedule future appointments. Let them do it!

Have him or her become familiar with considering their schedule and responsibilities. Let your child practice adding appointments to his or her planner or calendar.

But above all else, it creates a forced opportunity for your student to talk with adults in medical settings. The reality is that once your child turns 18, he or she becomes responsible for managing his or her care. It can be especially stressful to try to manage your college student’s healthcare appointments from a completely different city (or sometimes state), so let the practice begin soon.

Cook Their Own Meals

This isn’t just an excuse to let mom or dad have a night off from the kitchen, I promise. While most college students who live away from home will more than likely have a meal plan their freshman year of college, I promise you’ll still hear the dreaded, “but the food isn’t even that good.”

Instead of dining halls, most students will want to opt for popular fast food chains that adorn their college towns. But when the budgets become small, cooking meals can be the next best thing. Giving your high school student the chance to cook at least one weekly meal while still at home, offers the ability to sharpen skills in many areas.

From grocery shopping to planning for how much of each ingredient, meal planning is a life skill all students benefit from mastering.

A teenage boy in a wheelchair cooks.>> RELATED READ :: Related Read: 5 One-Pot Meals for the Cooking Impaired <<

Manage Their Time and Independence

This one is not easy. Most well-intended parents want to keep a short leash during high school when the stakes seem high and the behaviors are risky. But a student who has never been given the practice to manage independence might really struggle when all-of-a-sudden college life hands them complete autonomy.

Now, high school students do not need complete independence. All students benefit from age-appropriate boundaries. Consider allowing your student some flexibility with curfew as they get older. Give your young adult the freedom to manage their own schedule in ways that aren’t detrimental to their overall success.

Scaffolding this skill is essential because the development between freshman and seniors years of high school are wide. Perhaps by senior year of high school, your student has more privilege and independence than ninth grade.

Study Habits

Invest in some study skills sessions before your student jets off to college. What I hear time and time again is how often students can struggle with not knowing how to study for college classes.

Let high school be the training ground for taking notes, using flashcards, assembling study groups, supplementing with study aides or extra resources. Empower your student to identify the ways in which studying works for them. Practicing this skill in high school might save you some big bucks come the college years.


Instead of taking the reins every time in high school, consider which questions and situations your student is capable of handling independently.

Did they miss class notes because of a dentist appointment? Don’t email the teacher, let it become something your student gets comfortable discussing with his or her teacher.

Is your student complaining about something happening in class, but refuses to talk to the teacher about it? Remind them that you won’t always be there to speak on their behalf and that these opportunities are essential in helping them feel equipped when in college. College professors will not speak to parents about issues regarding their students.

The freedom in college remains only when the responsibilities are also being met. Giving our kids the space to learn, fumble and learn some more is messy, but important.

Previous articleExtracurricular Activities for Kids in DFW
Next articleMotherhood Road
Kathy Riojas-Crespo
Kathy is a native Texan who has lived in Carrollton since she was four. She holds a master's degree in counseling from SMU. After 13 years in public education, Kathy traded middle-school hallways for a small office in a private practice. She and her husband, Juan, are raising three children whose ages span from 21 to four years old. Following an autism diagnosis of their youngest son, Kathy has prioritized mental and physical health. Nothing prepares you for this news as a parent. Kathy credits her friends, family, faith, Trader Joe's, Orangetheory, and the occasional weekend getaway for keeping her fulfilled and sane.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here