Support the student in your life:

College is a journey that anyone rarely does alone. Most people have an advocate or support network around them while they are on the college journey. It can be difficult to know how to support the people who are on that journey, especially if you have not gone to college yourself. If you are reading this, you are going the right direction. Below are ten easy tips you can follow to give the person in your life who is considering or already on the journey to college the support they need:

Thinking about college and then applying for a college course for the first time, or returning to college after a long absence, takes a leap of faith. Having someone that believes in them and vocalising support throughout their journey can provide the boost of confidence, especially if and when they have doubts.

Deliver encouraging messages in person, text, email or even social media! Sharing words of support such as “You can do it!” or “I’m so proud of you,” or “Thanks for working so hard!” may seem small, but if you cheer them on frequently and with feeling – they will have no doubts about your desire to see them succeed.

College is a journey, and throughout the journey it is important to capture the milestones. Celebrate the small wins, as they are the building blocks to the qualification. The college student is one step closer to earning a college degree with each passing milestone – and that should be cause for celebration.

If you have a Facebook friend who is going back to school pay attention to their news feed. If they mention studying for an exam, send an encouraging note. “Like” their education achievements big and small – from handing in a paper on time, to passing their exams. Let them know you are paying attention and care about their success.

College experts agree that one of the single biggest challenges facing parents going back to school is consistent childcare. Whether the person who is going back to college is your spouse, your friend, your sibling, or your child – offer up regular help with the kids. You will be amazed how much studying an adult learner can do in 4 hours of kid-free time on a Saturday morning.

Going back to college requires serious time management skills. Support the person going to college in the development of a timetable. Ensure that the timetable does not focus on constant study, as it is important to take breaks. They will need time to connect in with friends, family and fun.

Asking how you can be a support could be the most effective way of being a support. Knowing that you are there when they need you can be the source of support they are look for.

Not every day is going to be the best day of the student's life. College can be difficult. Essays and exams can take their toll on a student mental health. Listening to students on their good days and might make all the difference.

There is a fine line between being a support and putting pressure on someone who is in college.  You are learning throughout this journey as well, and it may not always be possible to know if you are putting added pressure on to the person or not. It is through trial and error that you will find out what that line looks like, for the student in your life.

All work and no fun, is not sustainable. It is important to make sure that the student on the journey through college takes a break. They need to take time for themselves. Sometimes they may need to be encouraged to take the break that they need from writing the essay, studying for the exam or practising their presentation.