College Parent Tips

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!


Tips for parents with kids going out of state for college

tips for parents with kids going out of state for college

It is that time of year when high school seniors make their final decision about which college they plan to commit to. Many kids plan to commit to an out of state school, which you will see me refer to as “OOS.” When your child decides to attend an OOS school, the anxiety you feel as a parent may increase tenfold. Not only is your child leaving home to go to college, they are crossing state lines! In fact, they could be going all the way across the country from the west coast to the east coast, or vise versa. That is a huge move and life change!

There are many reasons a student decides to go to an OOS school. One of the big reasons is the school has a strong reputation in your child’s intended major. This is the reason my daughter ended up out of state. The major she chose was sparse in California, so she found an amazing program out of state, and off she went to the opposite coast!

This is an exciting time for a student who is going off to college. On the other hand, as the parent, you might be hiding from your child how nervous and anxious this whole process is making you feel. After all, your baby is crossing state lines, and you will need to hop on a plane to visit them! Yikes!

As a parent with a child who attends college OOS, let me tell you, it gets easier. The summer before she left for school I was anxious and had a fear of the unknown. We made sure she was well-prepared and had everything she would need for the school year in both her suitcases and the boxes we shipped to her from home. The big thing is making sure your child has what they need, such as bedsheets, laundry detergent, school supplies, and clothing for various types of weather. While the school will provide a packing list, there are always more items you will need to add depending on your child, the climate, and how far away they will be from home.

My husband flew with my daughter to check her into the dorms before school started. When you are coming from out of state, it is a good idea to check into the dorms as early as possible. This allows you time to shop for items you couldn’t ship, or forgot to pack. This also allows you the chance to make sure your child adapts to the new time zone, and is able to get familiar with their surroundings at the new school. We were able to check our daughter in five days early, which was perfect for helping her get settled in her dorm room.

The whole time my husband was with my daughter, getting her settled at school, I was anxious and nervous. My baby was a plane ride away, out of state! Aaaaah! This is a normal feeling that many share when their child goes OOS for school. If your child is going OOS, you may already feel this apprehension. Thankfully there are ways to overcome the anxious and nervous feelings you may be having about your child going OOS for school.

Here are a few tips to calm your nerves. Also, keep in mind, you feel a thousand times better after the first semester is complete, and you get accustomed to your child flying home alone, and being in a different time zone. As they say, time heals!

  • Get a copy of your child’s class schedule. If they are in a different time zone, this will help you know when it is safe to contact them.
  • Don’t contact your child all day, everyday. Let them spread their wings. Chances are, your child will reach out to you with questions, or to ask you to buy something, or send money. If you miss your child and want to chat, try to text them in the evening when they are back in their dorm room. The daily schedule of a college student is busy, and you don’t want to interrupt them unless you have an emergency.
  • Send care packages. Is there are holiday they won’t be home for such as Valentine’s Day or St Pat’s Day? Send a small box with holiday themed chocolates or items to give your child a little bit of love from home. This will also make you feel good.
  • Schedule a facetime or zoom. Technology nowadays allows for us to see each other’s faces when we chat with them, might as well take advantage of it! A weekly call with your student and family members can keep you close and connected, and help calm your anxiety about your student being OOS.
  • Visit your child during Parents Weekend. I know there are differing opinions about attending Parents Weekend, but I feel like it is a great time to visit your child. The school has events planned for parents and you can connect with your child’s school. This helps to make the school feel closer to home, and gives you an excuse to visit your child.
  • Teach your child to fly on their own before they leave for school. You don’t want your child panicking at the airport because all of their liquids are getting confiscated at TSA. Fly with your child before they leave for college and teach them the rules of going through TSA, what they can put in their suitcase, and what is acceptable for the carry-on. Also make sure you help your child book flights with longer layovers. If your child has a 45 min layover and there is a delay in the first flight, this will cause both of you anxiety. Give your child a long layover so they can fly home, or back to school, in a relaxed state.
  • Driving: You might be wondering about your child’s driver’s license or insurance, there are different options, but I will let you know what we did. Your child can keep their license from home. Unless they plan to move to the new state full-time, and bring their car, they don’t need to switch the state in which they are licensed to drive. Also, if the car is staying home, call your insurance. Ours let’s us toggle our daughter off the insurance while she is away at school, and then toggle her back on when she is home for vacation. This is a money saver! Love that!
  • Connect with other out of state parents from home, and from your child’s new school. There are Facebook groups for parents, as well as regional parents. This helps you ask questions, and learn from, local parents with kids at the same college as your child. It is a great way to connect and ease your nerves!

While having a child go OOS for school can be nerve-wracking, it is a manageable situation that can be a great experience for your child. As long as you stay organized and connected to your child, it will feel like they are down the street.

Travel items your child might need:

Let me know if you have any tips to add!

Thanks for stopping by!

Congrats to your child!


Finals care package ideas

College finals care package ideas from top left: chocolate truffles / squishie / stretchy stress balls / boba squishie / gold chocolate box / yellow squishie /

It’s finals season! If you have a college student away at school, they might be gearing up for finals right now. Finals is a stressful time for a college student as they have multiple finals exams in the same week, as well as final projects and papers due all at the same time. This is a time when your college student will feel stressed, possibly homesick, and really need a mommy or daddy hug. Unfortunately, you are not there, so you cannot give them that hug which makes everything less overwhelming. Instead, you can send them a little love from home, in the form of a finals care package.

There are three key ingredients to the perfect care package from home. Something sweet, something squishie to hug, and something to help the stress. Something sweet is easy. You can run out to CVS and grab their favorite candy bar, or you can get something special which isn’t sold on campus or near campus. We love to send our daughter See’s candy, or Godiva chocolate. The boxes are special, and the chocolate is sooooo good. This gives your college student something sweet, which is special. They love that!

This generation loves squishies and stuffies. It seems as if the majority of college students have a squishie collection in their dorm room. Why not give one more? They come in different sizes, but the 12″ is the easiest to hug and snuggle while under stress. A new squishie just before finals week will give your student a feeling of love from home, as well as something to hug while under stress. Love that!

Finally, the care package for finals should have something to combat stress. Stress balls don’t last forever, so if your student brought one to school back in August, there is a chance it is either already destroyed, or on its last legs. Why not send a new stress ball which can take the heat of finals week? This package of stress balls offers not only the ability to squeeze, but also stretch. What a fun stress reliever! Love it!

When I send a care package to my daughter, I like to line the box with a pretty foil in a fun color such as fuchsia. This makes the entire box festive. Your student will open the box, see special foil, and love the sweets, squishie, and stress balls inside. It is the perfect finals care package to help relieve stress and send a little love from home.

Shop finals care package gifts online:

You can ship your finals care package to your student via your favorite shipping company such as UPS or USPS. If sending chocolate, make sure the shipper knows there is something perishable in there so that it doesn’t end up in a hot place. We have had good luck chocolate through UPS ground. It arrives at my daughter’s dorm in perfect condition.

Don’t forget to include a handwritten card with well wishes!

Good luck with finals, and thanks for stopping by!