For college freshmen, July is the month for spending time at the beach, having a BBQ with friends, lounging in a hammock on a lazy afternoon – and preparing for the fall semester at college. Did that last part of that sentence give you pause? Neurodivergent young adults may not want to think about college life during the carefree summer months, but spending time in July working on college prep will have a big pay-off in September. By practicing the skills needed for college success, neurodivergent college freshmen can feel prepared and confident in their abilities.
Prepare to hit the ground running in the fall:
- Research Professors: Check out Rate My Professors and Uloop to read reviews from other students at your college. This will help with picking courses and instructors that match your child’s learning style
- Register for fall classes: When scheduling classes, have your child check the campus map to make sure there is enough time to walk from one class to the next. Have your child download their college’s campus map and have it in their phone for easy reference.
- Make sure your child knows how to sign up for any free tutoring their college may offer.
Practice Time Management Skills
- Every Sunday during the summer, have your child take a few minutes to plan out their week and input important dates in their phone and computer calendars.
- Encourage them to practice their time management skills by calendaring their plans with friends, exercise times, summer job hours, times to clean their room, and time for their favorite activities. By doing so, your child will become more aware of how their time is spent, how long it takes to get where they are going, and the actual length of time an activity lasts. This is good practice for planning their college schedule. By practicing during the summer, your child will strengthen their time management skills for the fall.
Practice Study Skills
- One of the most essential study skills is the ability to effectively take notes. July is a great time to get familiar with note-taking strategies and find the one that best fits your child’s learning style. Have them practice with an interesting newspaper or magazine article. Effective strategies include paying attention to boldface words and headings that rework the main ideas into concepts that are easily understood, being attentive to captions, using different modes of note-taking such as highlighters, sticky notes, index cards, graphs, charts, and diagrams.
- Another way to practice is to have your child listen to a TED talk that is of interest as if it is a college lecture. The goal is to take effective notes that can be used to study later and not to just write down every word the instructor says. Your child should try to listen to what is being said and try to relate it to their own life. Putting it in their own words will also help reinforce the lesson. After your child takes notes, have them highlight the main topics or make note cards with index cards. Let your child study their notes and then quiz them to see how well they remembered the information. This is a great way to practice note taking during the summer!
Practice Life Skills
- The summer months are a great time to learn and practice the life skills that are needed for college. Teach your child how to do their own laundry and have them practice doing it once a week. Show them how to wash their sheets and then make their bed with clean sheets. Have your child make their own medical and dental Teach your child how to go grocery shopping and then make a meal. Practicing these skills will make life at college so much easier
Practice Self Care:
- Encourage your child to treat themselves well! Have them practice getting to bed at a time that allows them to wake up refreshed. Help them find a form of exercise that they enjoy and are likely to continue to do once classes start. Teach them to make healthy decisions regarding what they choose to eat. Develop a plan for what they will do if they feel overwhelmed at college, such as reaching out to their college’s counseling office, meeting with a therapist, or Life Coach.
Encourage your neurodivergent young adult child to spend some time this summer preparing for college in the fall. Time spent preparing in July will help your child start freshman year feeling prepared and ready!