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How Can My Student Get a "Warm-Up" Before College?


As a parent, you want your student to be successful in whatever they decide to do after high school. However, if your student struggles with their mental health, executive functioning, or learning differences, you might be concerned about their transition into college. It is normal to want your student to get a "warm-up" before college. Northwest College Support understands that the transition into college can be daunting. Having a chance to try out college classes and a college environment can give your student the opportunity to ease into the new lifestyle they will soon be living, giving them a higher chance of success when they do.


What Is a "Warm-Up" Before College?


There are many ways that you student can get a "warm-up" before college, even though it is unusual. A simple way to think about it is to consider the ways in which your student's life will be different when they are in college. Before your student goes away to college, they are in well-supported and consistent high-school classes. Additionally, they live at home with you where they have your support and care. However, the jump to college classes and living independently is large. Therefore, warming up with some college courses and increased independence with support can help.


College Classes


High school classes are often set up to help students succeed. Therefore, high school teachers generally make sure that their students know when assignments are due, what is expected of them, and what will be on tests. They also break projects and assignments down into smaller bites. This might look like having an outline due a week before a big paper.

However, college classes are very different. In a college class, a student will be handed a syllabus and schedule. They will be expected to keep track of deadlines and know when and what is coming up next in class. This includes keeping up on reading, homework, and tests. Additionally, college classes often move quickly through the material with fewer checks to make sure the material is well understood. Finally, college students' class schedules will vary. Therefore, your student will need to keep track of a different schedule than they have had for many years.


At Northwest College Support, your student can get a "warm-up" before college through the NWCS Summer Program. As a part of this program, your student can take college courses. However, they will also have support and guidance through a life skills coach and counselor. Therefore, they get to try out college classwork while addressing any difficulties they experience.


Life Skills


As your student has grown up, you have seen them mature and be more independent. However, they more than likely still depend on you for many things. This may include simple tasks like cooking and cleaning. However, it often also includes skills like time management and problem-solving.

When your student moves away to college, however, you will not be with them. Therefore, they will need to learn how to live independently. Having good life skills has been shown to improve academic outcomes and positively impact an individual's mental health. Therefore, if your student struggles with these life skills, they may also struggle in college.

Learning life skills takes time and practice. The NWCS Summer Program offers the unique opportunity to live more independently. This is in connection to working with a life coach who helps students to learn new skills. Life skills development doesn't happen overnight. While a "warm-up" before college may not teach them all life skills, it certainly can help their success when they go to college as a freshman.


Easing the Way With a "Warm-Up" Before College


The transition into adulthood is not easy. If your student struggles with executive functioning or mental health challenges, it might be even more difficult. Therefore, you might consider what it would look like for the way to college to be eased with a “warm-up”.

Having a "warm-up" before the real deal has many benefits. It can help both you and your student feel confident. With a foundation of skills, your student can go to college having a more clear picture of what it will look like. They will also have a better understanding of what they will need to do to be successful. This will be unique to your student. However, let's say they struggle with scheduling. They may need to get support and take time out of their week that is set to make sure they are on a schedule that will set them up for success.

If your student needs to ease into college life, that is ok. Every student's journey into adulthood is different. However, it is normal to struggle with change. The step of going to college is a huge change. Easing into it can make the difference that helps them to thrive as a college student.


As a parent, you may feel like your student needs a warm-up before going to college. This might be because you are concerned about your student's success both in college and living independently. While it may be for a variety of reasons, Northwest College Support can help. The Summer Program at Northwest College Support offers an opportunity for your student to dip their toes into the water of college with the structure and support of a program. It is located in Coeur d'Alene, ID, and incorporates college classes, adventures, and coaching for students. If you think your student would be a good fit, or simply have some questions, call us today at (877) 485-2776.

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