Succeeding In College: 3 Skills Your Kids Needs

Succeeding in college is what most moms want for their daughter. Still the prospect of your baby going off to school can bring up so many emotions. A variety of things could happen while she is away at college. Thoughts of “what ifs” can trigger your natural instinct to protect you daughter at all costs.

The more dangerous and threatening the environment around them, the more inclined you might become to jump in and help your daughter succeed in college.

At one end of the extreme, moms can choose to “helicopter” parent their daughters.

Some mothers even go as far as to try to plow the path in front of their daughters –“lawn mower” parent.

Though this approach may solve things in the short-term, the long term effects can have unintended outcomes that may have adverse effects on her potential for succeeding in college.

As a former college admissions officer and during my years working as a clinical psychologist at a Division-I Big Ten university counseling center, I found that many college students did not have three important life skills to succeed in college. Those skills are:

  • Problem Solving
  • Responsibility
  • Time Management

Problem Solving in college

This is a skill that pertains not only to succeeding in college math and science courses but also to life. The principles for both are the same. In each of those areas, students are presented with a situation/scenario/problem that is unresolved and needs to be figured out. Students must then use facts and principles, make observations and hypothesis, and apply steps/follow established rules to “work the problem” to its conclusion.


Responsibility in college

Taking responsibility is a skill — an internal muscle that needs to be taught to and exercised by your daughter. She needs to know, see, and experience the effects of her actions (& inactions) on those around her. Those actions (& inactions) are like the ripples of a pebble in the pond of her immediate sphere of influence. For her to not know how to use this skill would be to deny her the opportunity to express the core of her existence. If she does not know how to use value and express her core self, she will have a hard time succeeding in college on a social level.

Time Management in college

That time is a human construct is debatable. That being said, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. We can’t control time because it keeps moving. However, we can manage how we move through it. This management of time is a skill that your daughter needs to learn.

Each of these life skills can be taught.

Moms, you are in the unique and best position to give your daughters that instruction.


Tune In to “Mothering Motivation Mondays” to get guidance, suggestions, inspiration (in under 3 minutes!) each week as you raise your daughter.



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