Seniors at Bourgade Catholic High School are doing more than just picking a college and classes. Counselor Carol Caruso is making sure they have the basic life skills needed be an adult.

“Parents dealing with teens have a lot on their plate between making sure homework is done and teens testing limits,” says Caruso, a college counselor, Counseling Department chair, AP coordinator and senior class moderator at Bourgade. “Preparing kids for college is a big task and there’s a lot to teach. What we consider to be common sense such as doing laundry or grocery shopping can be a foreign concept to teens,” says Caruso.

Caruso believes that parents should start prepping their teens early to ensure a smooth transition into college and adult life. Some tips she shares with parents are:

• Teach your teen how to read high school and college transcripts. Many schools have one counselor per hundreds of students. It will be the student’s responsibility to make sure they are on track to graduate.

• Teach basic cleaning skills such as cleaning a bathroom and appropriate cleaning supplies to use. “We teach our kids to stay away from cleaning products when they are little, but then forget to teach them to properly utilize them when they get older.”

• Teens should know how to properly do laundry. “In our College 101 class students get assigned to do laundry. Two loads need to be done correctly to pass the class,” says Caruso. Teaching them how to sort, products to use and how to put clothes away will relieve stress for students once they are out on their own.

• Teach teens how to cook real food – not packaged dinners. Basic recipes for chicken, rice and beans will be useful once teens face college student budgeting.

• Have a frank discussion about how to live with roommates, establishing rules and responsibilities. Teaching teens about common courtesies when living with others can help prevent unnecessary drama later.

Most importantly Caruso encourages parents to ask their teen how much communication is comfortable once they leave for college. “Parents have a sense of loss once their teen leaves and tend to smother their child with phone calls and texts. It’s an exciting time for the teen and constant communication may cause the teen to distance themselves from parents.” Decide on a communication schedule that feels comfortable for both parties to avoid hurt feelings and problems in the future.