For most siblings, the time spent sharing a home, experiences, and parents diminishes as they move away to college. For the first time in their lives, they are living completely separate lives. This change can be difficult for both the departing sibling and the one who is left at home. Feelings of loneliness can quickly set in so it’s so important for both siblings to offer support and guidance during this time of transition. If this is sounding all too familiar to you and your sibling is planning to start their life as a college student, the following are some ways that you can be a good brother/sister and offer support.
Help Them Look for Funding Options
There are a few key things you can do to help your sibling look for funding for college. The first is to help them research all the possible scholarships and grants they may be eligible for. There are many resources available online, and your sibling’s school counselor can also help them find specific scholarships for college students that match their qualifications. Another important step is to help your sibling create a strong financial aid package. This includes filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to determine how much financial assistance your sibling qualifies for. You can also help them compile their college savings plan and look into student loan options. By lending a hand with the search for funding, you’re not only helping your brother/sister get closer to their college dreams as you’re also giving them a head start on establishing good money management skills.
Offer to Help Them Move in and Get Settled
Going to college can be both exciting and daunting as everything about this chapter in life is new. Be that sense of familiarity for your sibling in the early days on campus by offering to help them move their things and get settled. This may include decorating their dorm room, unpacking their belongings, and helping to set up their new furniture.
Check in on Them Regularly
It can be easy to forget about your siblings when you are all adults and living in different parts of the country. One big reason to stay in touch with your brother or sister at college is that they may be struggling more than you think. Don’t be afraid to call them a couple of times each week and always try to fit in at least one video chat where you can visually see how they’re doing.
Be a Shoulder to Cry On
Regardless of how well they’re settling in, your sibling will most likely feel homesick and lonely in the early days. A healthy way to relieve stress as an adult is to communicate your stresses to people who feel emotionally safe. Your constant presence, although it’s not physical, will let them know that they always have a safe space to come back to should they need a shoulder to cry on. Your shoulder should be a non-judgmental space where your sibling will be listened to. If asked, give your advice and take the necessary steps to help make their situation better.