Leaving for college may be one of the most exciting times in your child’s life, and it will be big change for you both. Embrace this significant – and emotional – moment for you and your child by preparing your family to the changes to come. From setting expectations to showing your student how much you love them, take a look at our college preparation checklist.
Set expectations ahead of time
Being together for holidays and other family events is important. So before sending your son or daughter off to school, discuss travel arrangements to help ensure you can be together during these special times. You’ll also want to discuss academic goals for the first year, as successfully transitioning from high school to college courses may take some adjustments. Be sure to establish who will be responsible for expenses, including tuition, books and food. Having these conversations can help make for a smoother transition.1
Devise a communication plan
Discuss how you and your child will keep in touch: Does he or she want to set a time to talk each week? Or would they rather call as needed? Would email or texting be more convenient than a phone call? Identifying the frequency and means of communication can help prevent your child from feeling restricted.1 Whatever you decide, let your child know that you are always available for advice or just a quick chat.
Only pack the basics
Dorm rooms are small, so pack only what your child will need right away. Anything else can be ordered online and delivered directly to your son or daughter. This will also give you the opportunity to send a care package to let your child know you’re thinking about them. You could include their favorite study snacks, a gift card to their favorite restaurant or some small decorations for an upcoming holiday.
Check your homeowners insurance
Insurance can help give both you and your student peace of mind. If your child will be living on campus, your homeowners policy should cover their personal property, up to a dollar limit. Make a list of the valuables he or she will be taking, including furniture, clothes and electronics. Once totaled, contact your insurance company to confirm whether or not you have enough coverage and if getting special coverage for things like computers makes sense. If your child will be living off-campus, a renters policy to help cover their belongings and potential liability would be a good idea.
Once your children have left the nest, it’s time to look toward your financial future. Find out how you can set yourself up to retire with peace of mind.
1 Letting Go: Tips for Parents of New College Students, Great Schools, 2017.
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