College Parent Tips

How to shop for college in a warm climate

how to shop for college in a warm climate dorm essentials

What to buy for college in a warm climate from top left: box fan / carabiner clips / small, personal fan / large water bottle / air purifier fan / shower shoes / platform walking sandals / walking sandals /

Congrats! It is past May 1, which means your child has committed to a college for the fall semester. If you are reading this, chances are your child committed to a university in a warm climate. If you are from a warm climate, then you already know what to pack for your child in August, if not, here are a few suggestions to help your child survive in the those over one-hundred-degree temperatures.

Clothing: When it comes to clothing, this will not be rocket science. Your child will want to bring machine washable clothing. Stay away from dry clean only items because in warm climates, your child will be doing a lot of laundry. There is no point in having items out of circulation because they need dry cleaning; and let’s face it, college kids don’t run off the to the dry cleaners once a week. What a hassle! Look for lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton.

Footwear: College requires a ton of walking. Even with small schools, there will be a lot of walking. I attended a small urban school for undergrad and many of my classes had ten to fifteen minutes walks between them, so don’t underestimate the amount of walking your child will do. If the weather is hot, and sneakers are too warm, a good walking sandal will be in order, even if they are considered ugly by your child. Chances are, once they are on campus, they will see other students in ugly walking sandals. College kids roll out of bed and roll into class. It isn’t the fashion show they may have experienced in high school. College is casual, so walking sandals are perfectly acceptable. Of course, keep a couple of cute pairs for going out!

Fans: Even if your child has a renovated dorm room with AC, they may still need a fan. If your child’s dorm is old school, a box fan will be in order. I recommend a box fan for the window, and an individual fan for the desk. There is a good chance your child will not be allowed to bring a portable AC, so invest in a good fan. If your child’s school is in a location where allergies could kick up, I recommend investing in an air purifying fan such as this one by Dyson.

Water bottle: This may sound like a no brainer, but in a warm climate, your child will need to drink a ton of water. Invest in a good water bottle they can fit in their backpack and has a handle they can attach to their backpack with a carabiner clip.

Well, that’s it! These are the essentials for ensuring a comfortable transition from home to a warm climate in college. The most important thing your child can do is drink plenty of water. Congrats on your new journey!

Thanks for stopping by!



Tips for a successful college orientation

tips for a successful college orientation

Over the summer, students entering college will attend their college orientation. This is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for college students, as they might stay overnight in a dorm room, create their fall schedule, and get a taste of what living away from home and attending college will be like, even if it is only for one day.

Each university has its own way of conducting orientation. One of the popular versions of college orientation is to stay overnight in a dorm room and attend two days of workshops. One of these workshops will include creating the students fall schedule. This is both exciting and slightly scary for your student, as she/he will realize that the dream of attending college is soon to be a reality. They will live in a small dorm room with a skinny, uncomfortable mattress and be subjected to cafeteria food. Mommy and daddy will not be around to do their laundry, make sure they wake up in the morning, and tell them to go to bed on time. While the thought of all of this independence is intriguing, it can be scary at the same time; especially if a child isn’t disciplined on their own.

As a parent, orientation is also a reality check that your child will be leaving home soon, and that is a hard thought to wrap your head around. The night they stay in a dorm room, even though it is only for one night, is a huge wake-up call. You will need to be mentally prepared.

Whether you drive or fly to orientation, it will be a small little trip out of town. Have fun with it! Arrive to the college town early and do a small amount of sight-seeing. This will make you, the parent, more comfortable with the surrounding area as well as acquaint your child with the location of their future home. Before orientation starts, look around at the surrounding area of the college. Where can your student walk to? Are there affordable restaurants nearby? If your student loves ramen for example, is there a place close to campus she/he can go to on the weekends? Is there a CVS or other convenience store close to campus? Is there one on campus?

Walk around the campus and give yourself a self-guided tour before you drop off your student for orientation. This will give you a chance to bond over the tour and make you, the parent, feel like part of the school. The more familiar you are with the school, the less scary the whole experience will be.

Attend all the workshops! The students will go off and do their own sessions during orientation, and there are usually workshops and presentations for the parents. Go to everything! This is a great way to learn more about the school and start to feel connected to the school community. It will also help you, help your child.

Your student will stay overnight in an undecorated, stuffy dorm room. They might freak out. Make sure your phone is charged and by your side so if they call, you can remind them that when they move in, they will decorate the room. Also remind them you can get a gel foam mattress cover to make the bed more comfortable. If you reassure them, they will feel better. Hopefully they are having fun and won’t notice the bare dorm room.

When orientation is over, don’t rush home. Ask your student if there is anything on campus they want to check out before you leave. Take a look at their schedule and find the buildings their classes will be in during their first semester. This will help them feel ready for starting classes, and it will also let you help them before they go away.

Don’t let them see you sweat. There is a chance your child is excited and thrilled to go away to college and you are a hot mess. Try to hold your hot mess inside when your student is around so that they can enjoy this life-changing event. I know it’s hard, but all parents go through it. You are not alone. Join the parents’ group online for your child’s college and make connections with other parents. If the school is not local, look for parents’ groups locally and join them. This will help you make local connections and offer a local support system for things like traveling to and from school, preparing for a different weather pattern, storing items over the summer, and more.

College orientation is an exciting event held over the summer before school starts in the fall. Enjoy every moment and attend everything surrounding the event. This will help you prepare for the big move in August.

Thanks for stopping by, and congrats to your child on their new adventure!



How to help your child choose the right college

Trying to figure out how to help your child choose the right college? You have come to the right place. Decision day is May 1, and if your child is still struggling to pick the school for him/her, never fear!

If you are here, then your child has already received their acceptances, declines, and waitlists. Let’s start from the beginning with the acceptances.

Your child has a list of acceptances, now is the time to go through them. Here is how you can help your child choose the right college from the list of acceptances they have received.

  1. Make a clean list of the colleges your child has been accepted to in excel or a spreadsheet software of your choice. Place the schools in alphabetical order.
  2. Are any of the schools on the list definite no’s for your child? Use the strikethrough tool to eliminate them.
  3. Start going through the rest of the list until you are left with three schools.
  4. Still have more than three? What do you prefer? Eliminate schools based on size, ranking, location, extra-curricular activities, and overall vibe until you are left with three schools.
  5. Delete all the schools from your spreadsheet with a strike through. You should have three schools left.
  6. Can you stack rank the three schools? If not, go through these criteria.

Sometimes you know things about your child they might not realize. Does your child prefer an urban setting or a rural setting? Do they do better in small classes or in larger environments? Look at the list and eliminate any school which isn’t the right setting or location for your child. Perhaps your child thinks a rural environment would be ok, but they love eating at urban type restaurants and going to the ballet, opera, and museums. Would they be happy in a rural setting? Probably not. They might need a more urban, or at least suburban, environment.

Is your child into attending sporting events? Maybe there is a school on the list with boring sports. If going to a big football school is important, eliminate the schools with the worst sports.

Is “going Greek” in your child’s future? Eliminate schools from the list with small or non-existent Greek systems. If they are the opposite, maybe eliminate schools where “going Greek” is an important part of the social life.

Is your child worried about being away from home? Maybe staying in-state or within driving distance is important. Eliminate schools with long flights from the list. Are you from a warm climate and living in the snow doesn’t appeal to your child? Eliminate cold climates from the list, or vise-versa.

Often when choosing the right college, the ultimate deciding factor is cost. How much does each school on the list cost per year? You will need to factor in travel costs such as airfare. If your child really cannot decide, pick the cheapest school. If your child protests, maybe that school should be off the list too!

Hopefully these steps help your child pick a college from their list of acceptances. If they were rejected form the schools they really wanted, and don’t seem happy with the acceptances, maybe consider a community college for two years. Your child can transfer to the school they really want for their junior year. This is also a good option for a child who doesn’t want to live away from home. Maybe they need more time at home before going away to college.

Stay tuned for more insight from this parent of a college student! Let me know if you have questions!

Thanks for stopping by!