Congratulations, parents. Years of college preparation brought you to this moment, the time when your child is getting ready to go off to college and begin the journey toward adulthood and career. The summer following high school graduation is a few short weeks of enjoyment for students, as they take time to say goodbye to their friends and begin thinking about how to decorate their new living space.
There are some things that campus advisors urge students and parents to think about over the course of that final summer before college begins; you may have overlooked these things during the frenzy of making your college preparation checklist. Here are a few tips to consider. Checking them off early will save hassles later.
Coordinate the Drop-off on Campus
Will a U-Haul be necessary or will the family vehicle be enough to transport everything in one trip? Will there be any overnight travel involved and if so, for how many nights? Where will you stay? Will you stick around to help your child unpack or let them have at it on their own? Will siblings join you for the trip? It’s not a bad idea to discuss the answers to these questions with everyone involved.
Encourage Your Student to Reach Out to His or Her New Roommate
What is her background and what are her likes and dislikes? Is he a night owl or an early bird? Does she have any food allergies your student should be aware of? What about a big family who plans to visit every weekend?
This will give your student a valuable first experience in living with someone outside their own family.
Talk About Money
Remind your child of any arrangements you’ve made regarding what you’re paying for and what they must handle on their own. If your child is still learning how to manage money, consider having these things in writing.
Encourage Applying for Last-Minute Scholarships
There may be unfilled waiting list spots that you can fill by applying at the right time. It’s a good idea to check back weekly to see when deadlines are approaching or if new opportunities have arisen.
Make Sure All Required Fees Are Paid
Many colleges have required tuition deposits that must be paid well in advance of fall registration, as well as housing, health, and other miscellaneous fees. Some larger public colleges will not allow a student to participate in registration until these fees are paid, which puts an entering freshman at an even bigger disadvantage in getting classes than they sometimes are.
It can be surprising how long a process this can be, especially if it involves re-purposing a bedroom after your student’s departure. If they have reached out to the new roommate, they should have an idea of what that person will be bringing to campus that they won’t need to pack. In addition to clothing, a computer, and personal items, your student will likely want to bring a small television and possibly a dorm-size refrigerator/freezer.