As we approach August, many families are getting ready to take road trips with necessities, fears, hopes, excitement, anxiety, goals and dreams to many college campuses. Your child survived and accomplished high school and is now about to step foot on a college campus as well as develop more independence. So, how do you prepare your child for his/her big day? Here are ten ways to prepare your child for his/her move in day at college:
- Have all of their financial aid for school worked out. I always tell my students the first stop you make when you get on campus is the financial aid office (well if it is open). You want to know if everything is clear, what monies are coming in and going out or how much money you have to pay out of pocket regarding your tuition and fees. Have someone, if you have not, go over your child’s financial aid award letter to make sure you and your child understand it. If you and/or your child are pulling any loans, make sure you have completed the Loan Entrance Counseling (studentloans.gov) as well as understand loans and how they work. You don’t want any financial stress added to his/her first year of college.
- Make sure your child actually applied to the school and has gotten accepted. I know this is a no-brainer; however, you be surprised how students say they are going somewhere only to not have applied or read through all of their college mail.
- Attend orientation. If orientation is scheduled prior to move-in, please try your best to take advantage of this and go with your child. This is not only a very crucial informational session but a chance to settle any matters prior to move-in. It is also may be a chance to get a tour, get met with a warm welcome and greeted with kick off celebrations just for incoming freshmen and their families.
- Have a heart-to-heart, transparent talk about some issues that can arise at school and how to use effective problem solving. Give scenarios and talk about any mistakes you have made in college or during your teen and young adult years. Discuss your expectations, their expectations, their fears, etc.
- Teach him/her to not be afraid to ask for help. Also teach him/her how to be resourceful if he/she isn’t. A lot of students do not know how to navigate the campus for help and resources. Students can go to their school’s wellness center for counseling, advisement and dean’s office for issues with classes, their Dorm’s R.A. (Resident Assistant) for roommate issues, the financial aid office to sign up for work study and to inquire about scholarships and financial aid.
- Pay the housing fee. And make sure he/she get to know his/her roommate via phone and/or social media. The schools have things set in place for your child to contact and get an overall sense of who his/her roommate may be. Your child also may have the opportunity to suggest or pick his/her roommate if a student he/she knows will be attending the same school and wants to roommate with that particular person.
- Make a list of items needed to move in, for the first year of school. Have important documents pertaining to your child’s school in a special folder and handy. Obtain proper ID and parking passes if apply. Get and request gift cards if you prefer to buy necessities at a Walmart near or in the town of your child’s school campus when your child moves in and to have on hand when settled. Some times this is a less of a hassle than having to rent a truck or load lots of luggage in the back.
- According to society19.com, you should also review school policy and guidelines with your child. See this site for an example of a college packing list. https://www.society19.com/10-things-to-do-before-college-move-in-day/
- Make a list of things you need to do before you all leave. And spend quality time with each other. Your child would want to spend time with friends too so make room for that.
- Pray with and over your child. Cover them with the blood of Jesus. Your child will be miles away from home but God is omnipresent and omniscient. He can be with you and your child at the same time. Trust in Him to never leave nor forsake your child.
Lastly, congratulations to all the 2018 GRADUATES (high school, college, kindergarten, apprenticeship programs)!!!!!!! Celebrate your accomplishments and thank God for giving you the grace to press through. I am so proud of you all. May God guide you, protect you, and may you trust and abide in the One who created us with love and purpose.