Ask Dr. Gigi

Mighty Blog

Important steps to prepare teens for college

Dr. GIgi Chawla
Dr. Gigi Chawla (left) and her college-bound daughter, Maddy, join WCCO “Mid-Morning” to share tips for handling parent-teen anxiety ahead of starting school.

Families are preparing to send their teenagers to college for the first time. The milestone is exciting but full of unknown territory, so it’s normal for teens and their parents to be anxious about the transition.

Dr. Gigi Chawla, senior medical director of primary care at Children’s Minnesota, and her daughter, Maddy, who begins her freshman year of college in the fall, joined WCCO “Mid-Morning” hosts Kylie Bearse and Kim Johnson [WATCH] to share tips for how parents and their children can adapt to the changes.

Important steps to take

  • Get a final checkup with your pediatrician. Make sure your health is cleared, including vaccines, before heading to school. Particular vaccines to get include the HPV vaccine, which is a three-shot series, and the meningitis B vaccine, which is especially important for people living in close quarters.
  • Preparing for college should include a number of important family conversations that start at the time a child is young, including:
    • Being responsible with social media
    • Being conscientious about sexual health
    • Being responsible with alcohol, medications or drugs that are potentially available

For parents, Maddy recommends that they give their kids some kind of experience of independence in childhood, such as summer camp, school programs or a church missionary trip. That will make sure leaving for college isn’t a child’s first time away from home and parents.


View hours, maps, directions and more for each Children's clinic.