While it probably often feels as though your child is more tech-savvy than you are and it may well be true in some cases, college students can still be remarkably naive about protecting themselves from everything from online time sinks to safety issues. However, technology can also be useful to college students in many ways. The tech tips below may help your rising college student prepare for the years ahead.
You can research and apply for both federal and private student loans online. A student loan cosigner is usually necessary for private student loans, so you may need to cosign for your child. You might also want to talk to your child about budgeting and find a useful budgeting app. There are several that can track and categorize spending automatically. They can also be set to send an alert when spending is near the maximum in a certain category.
It’s worthwhile to have a chat with your child about online security even if they insist on rolling their eyes throughout the conversation. Still, it’s likely most of their internet browsing has been confined to home or their own devices, and you may want to remind them about the potential dangers of using public devices. Purchases should only be made on reputable sites that encrypt data. Remind your child of the dangers of sharing passwords and leaving laptops, phones and tablets unguarded. To avoid using unprotected WIFI, you might want to consider getting a VPN. Finally, remind your child of the importance of backing up data. Ideally, this is done with multiple fail safes, including at least one hard drive. However, it can be hard to get even responsible adults into this habit. Instead, be sure that your child’s devices are set up to automatically back up to a cloud-based service at minimum to prevent the horror of losing a paper in a technology fail at 3 a.m.
From notetaking apps to foreign language drills and more, there are plenty of aids out there to help your student with the scholastic side of college life. One advantage of a centralized note-taking app is that it can be accessed anywhere at any time, so if you’re at the library or on a different device, you don’t have to make sure you have your physical notebook or laptop with you. Study apps provide the opportunity to do quick reviews when there are a few spare minutes.
In addition to budgeting apps, here are a lot of apps that can help your college-bound student with life tasks such as cooking, chores and time management. Even if you’ve done a great job preparing your kid for the real world, they can feel overwhelmed when they’re trying to do it all on their own while also juggling classes and maybe a part-time job. For example, your child’s first off-campus apartment doesn’t need to pass a white glove test for cleanliness, but it does need to not attract bugs and rodents or grow mold on the dishes. Setting up an occasional reminder to make the kitchen habitable is not a bad idea.