Preparing your child for university involves strategic financial planning, but it’s also about equipping him or her with life skills to succeed in the next phase of life. We take a holistic look at planning this journey.
A Shared Vision for the Future
Your child may have a long-held dream of attending a famous university close to home, or abroad as an international student – but ultimately, as a family, you may want to choose a college that is the right fit. A good springboard is discussing together what matters most, such as majors, campus culture and location to support their important next steps in life. You may want to look into the social and extra-curricular opportunities the university supports, and if the alumni network is meaningful.
Before receiving an offer at some institutions, an evaluation interview may be involved – these may be conducted online. Consider researching the types of questions asked for the faculty your child wants to join, and help your child practice articulating their ideas, viewpoints and goals for their university life.
A Modern Approach to College Education Funds
Planning in advance for your child’s college education fund is essential, but it’s just as crucial to understand the full picture beyond tertiary fees. Consider potential flights, rent and living expenses if your child will be studying overseas. To ensure your child is equipped for the opportunity, you may want to plan and seek trusted advice. Factors such as the rising cost of tertiary education around the world may affect how you adjust the risk profile of your portfolio to align with this stage of life.
On a practical note, if your child is going to be an international student, consider establishing a bank account with global access to help your child manage their living and study expenses. Guide your child with lessons in financial literacy so that they can make independent decisions around budgeting and responsible spending.
Do You Need to Think Digital?
The global pandemic pushed the digitalization of universities around the world, with popular colleges in the US, Asia and international business schools shifting to online learning. Discuss e-learning options with university admissions teams. Ask about access to professors and tutors, and systems for real-time feedback and queries to possibly ensure your child has access to an agile, top-tier learning environment.
Accommodation: Where Will Your Child Live?
The ongoing practice of distance learning needs to be taken into consideration when planning where your child will be based. Will there be a possibility for your child to live at home longer instead of moving closer to university or overseas? Any plans to shift from a large family home to a smaller space once the kids leave the nest, for example, may be put on hold.
International students in the US might be keen on enjoying campus life and the fraternity and sorority scene. Or, if your child is set to become an international student in Australia or in the UK, university-goers often opt to live off-campus in a shared house with other young adults to immerse themselves in a neighborhood and develop a social support network.
Life Skills You Can’t Study For
Setting your child up for success goes deeper than a financial plan and academics. It is recognized that equipping adolescents with life skills prepares them for changing social circumstances, and promotes lifelong learning.
As your child approaches his or her university years, when he or she will adapt to a new life, encourage them to master life skills such as time management, independent decision-making and effective communication. You might want to look into ways to manage stress together – such as exploring mindfulness to maintain mental fitness, which may be a useful skill for both of you.
Life skills are learned through practical experience and supportive reinforcement. Teaching your child how to cook meals, manage their health and maintain their own space enables them to thrive into adulthood.
Relating to the Real World
Consider keeping in mind that while you may support your child with rent and living expenses for security, your child will be engaging with peers from varied backgrounds and cultures. It will likely serve them well by encouraging independence and responsibility in the home to prepare them for life in the real world, and to engage meaningfully in different social worlds.
If your child moves to another city or abroad, they may experience culture shock. Being separated from family and even new language accents could potentially be a challenge. Consider speaking about the possible challenges and exploring counselling services at your child’s university to ensure there will be support when the need arises.
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