Though Singapore has some of the world’s top-ranked universities, many expat families and even some local families are opting to send their teens overseas for their university education. However, despite the country’s high median household wealth, sending a child abroad for university can be exceptionally difficult and expensive. Moreover, ensuring the success of such a move requires parents to do more than just finance it—they also have to adequately prepare their teen for the challenges of life abroad.

If you’re considering sending your teen to an overseas university, here are a few things you can do to prepare them and increase the odds of their academic and personal success:

1. Make Sure They’re Self-Motivated

If your child is self-motivated, it will be easier for them to thrive in unfamiliar environments such as what they will face when going to school overseas. Ideally, self-motivation is something that has to be instilled well before children reach their teenage years. Fortunately, you can help make this happen by sending them to the right schools

Sending them to the top IB schools in Singapore for the IB Diploma Programme should help develop the self-motivational skills students will need to thrive in an overseas university. IB schools offer curricula that are much more similar to what students could expect at the world’s best universities, helping ease their adjustment to a new environment. The holistic approach and academic rigor typical at IB schools should also help students handle their academics when they move abroad.

2. Discuss their Goals

Though many teens would love nothing more than to explore the world, they may have unrealistic expectations. Other times, the benefit of an overseas education may still be abstract to them. In any case, take some time to talk with your teen about their goals and what they think the benefits of a university education abroad are. Talking things through may temper unrealistic ideas and help them find their own motives for succeeding in their studies overseas.

Ask your child what they think they will enjoy about studying abroad. Are they hoping to see the world outside of your home country? Are they hoping to hone their foreign language skills? Do they have hopes of entering a specific foreign university? Understanding what your child hopes to get out of their time overseas should help you plan their move.

3. Find the Right Program

After you’ve talked things over with your teen, you can try to find an overseas university program that will meet their needs. Because not all programs are the same, it will be important to weigh the cost and benefits of each one. If your teen currently goes to an IB school, the school may be able to assist in finding an overseas university program that ticks all your boxes.

4. Make Sure the Credits Count

If you’re only sending your child overseas for a semester or two, it will be important to make sure that the credits they earn overseas can be counted towards a degree in Singapore. Keeping this in mind will ensure that they will not have to start over when they continue their studies.

This should also be done if you’re not yet able to pay for your child’s tuition and other expenses in full. Because the future can be hard to predict, having their overseas credits counted may be important should they need to continue earning their degree in Singapore.

5. Plan Your Expenditures 

Sending your teen to a university overseas can be exceptionally expensive, even if they qualify for a scholarship. Living arrangements, transportation, and other ancillary costs can add up significantly. If you are unable to cover or plan for these costs, the consequences can negatively affect your teen’s education overseas.

By planning for your teen’s future expenses as early as possible, you can help ensure that money will not be a serious issue when they start their education abroad. While it will often be helpful for your teen to be able to find work arrangements to help fund their studies, this should not be a lynchpin of your spending plan, as working a job while studying will almost always impact their academic performance.

6. Be Prepared to Give Emotional Support

University life can be mentally and emotionally taxing, even without moving overseas. Teens and young adults moving overseas have more on their minds than keeping up with their course loads. They have to be on top of their finances, living arrangements, social life, and other things needed to have a decent quality of life while studying. If they have scholarships or jobs, they also have to worry about those as well.

It will be part of your responsibility to help provide emotional stability for your child. Be prepared to do what’s needed for their mental health, including booking therapy sessions for them or bringing them home, if necessary. Make sure to keep in touch regularly to provide your teen guidance as well as to give them a sounding board.

Your teen’s overseas university experience will be one that will mark them for the rest of their lives. They will doubtlessly learn important lifelong lessons, forge important friendships, and grow as individuals. By preparing them adequately for this major undertaking, you can prevent the potential pitfalls of international university education while ensuring their academic success.