For many students, college is more difficult than high school. Not only are classes harder and schedules more difficult to balance, but students also face more temptations. In order for your student to be responsible and stay on the path toward a college degree, he needs to break any bad habits that he may have before he goes off to college.
Sleeping too much or too little. Does your child sleep more or less than 8 hours a night? Because college students have such busy schedules, their sleeping patterns can be sporadic. They may get 3 hours of sleep during the week and try to catch up on the weekend. If your child falls into this pattern, he will feel tired and unfocused all the time. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep will improve his concentration and levels of energy, making him an all-around better student. If your child gets into the habit of getting 8 hours of sleep each night during high school, he will be more likely to carry that habit on to college. While your child is still living under your roof, encourage a proper bedtime and make sure he sets his alarm clock and rises at a decent hour each morning.
Procrastination. Is your child always waiting until the last minute to complete school projects? If so, you know how stressful that situation can be. When your child leaves for college, the temptations of college life (i.e. Greek parties, social networking sites, instant messaging, etc.) will only make his procrastination worse unless he breaks the habit now. Make it clear that you are not impressed by late-night cram sessions. Encourage your child to start on projects or homework as soon as he gets in from school each day and make sure he has appropriate study supplies. Hopefully, he will realize how much easier and less stressful it is to have the extra time to finish assignments and will drop his bad habit of procrastination.
Junk food. The term "freshman fifteen" was coined for a reason: many students gain weight when they go to college. And it's really no wonder when there is a plethora of fast food restaurants surrounding college campuses and the temptation to order pizza during late night study sessions. Because college students have such busy schedules, they turn to convenient food options. However, as a parent, you can help deter junk food cravings and the freshman fifteen. What drives the eating habits of college students is their upbringing, so make sure your student refrains from overeating on burgers, pizza, candy, etc. (it's ok to indulge sometimes). Insist that your child eat healthy meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables. As your child grows accustom to eating healthy, he will soon choose carrot sticks over a candy bar all on his own.
Poor hygiene. You won't be around every day to ensure your college student is looking presentable and smelling fresh, so make sure he knows how to do laundry before he moves away. If you clean up after your child, stop immediately. He needs to get into the habit of cleaning up his own messes, especially if he will be living with a roommate. Hand over the cleaning supplies and enjoy some time off from household chores.
Breaking bad habits is not easy, but with time and effort, it can be done. Good luck!