college parent

Things to do the summer before your child leaves for college

things to do before your child leaves for college

Is your child leaving for college in the fall? There are a few things you should do before they leave for school. After all, they will be gone for a few months; and in addition to missing them, they will miss things too! Plus, there are a few important things you will need to teach them before they leave the nest. So, without further ado. . .here are a few things to do before your child leaves for college.

Play tourist in your area: Chances are, you and your family have avoided the touristy areas of your city like the plague. Find a day and play tourist before your child leaves for college. When they go away, other students will ask if they have been to these tourist attractions, and your student should be able to say yes. Plus, it is really fun to play tourist for a day. If you live in LA, check out Hollywood, if you live the Bay Area, visit Alcatraz and walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, if you live in St. Louis, see the Arch! You get the picture. Play tourist!

Clean their room: I don’t just mean dust and sweep, I mean go through everything in the room and donate what your child does not need anymore. Box up mementoes and store them; and update what is hanging on the wall. As soon as your child leaves for school, their room becomes a museum. When they visit on holidays, there will be no redecorating or cleaning. They will treat it like a hotel room, and someday when they are thirty years old, the room will look exactly the same. Clean it out now before it comes a storage closet. At least it will look like a room when they leave and won’t become a burden. That being said, don’t convert it to a pool room. Their room should remain their room while they are in college. It should reflect their personality and have their stuff in it; just in a clean and organized fashion.

Let your child make the menu: The week before they leave for the fall semester, let them pick what you cook for dinner. Once your child goes off to college, there is a good chance they won’t be home until Thanksgiving and they will miss your food. Let them get their favorite meals in before they leave. One month into school they will tell you how they miss certain meals you cook. Let them enjoy their favorites before they leave.

Give you important passwords: If your student loses their phone, laptop or other form of electronics, you want to be able to lock out a thief. Get your child’s passwords to key accounts so you can do some security from home; especially if they lose access to all of their electronics. You can also help them if they are a victim of a security breach. . .which takes me to. . .

Teach them about cybersecurity: Teach your student about staying safe online. Make sure your student has unique passwords for every account and those passwords need to be strong and long. Teach them to not share passwords and to never use public networks; especially at the airport. Set up your child’s electronics with security software and a VPN. Also, make sure your student knows to never click links in texts and emails. College students are victims of elaborate phishing scams, so make sure your student is aware of them and knows what to look for. Tell them to ask for your help if they are unsure if a text or email is legit.

Teach them street smarts: If you haven’t already taught your child some street smarts, do it now. Show them how to keep their belongings safe both on their person and in public spaces. Make sure they know not to walk alone after hours and never, ever leave their backpack and/or laptop unattended; even if it seems safe in a library or dorm lounge. Laptops disappear quickly at colleges! If your child has an expensive jacket, those disappear too. Never leave nice things, and important things, unattended.

Teach them to guard their drinks: If your child plans to party like a rock star in college, teach them to protect their drink. Too many students are reporting laced drinks nowadays. Make sure they know to abandon any drink set down or which has left their eyesight. Never accept drinks from strangers at a party, and if they are drinking out of a famous red cup, make sure they see the beer from the tap going into the cup. Don’t drink an open cup someone handed to them, even if it’s from a friend. Make sure they saw the beer go from the keg into the cup or it isn’t safe.

Learn how to do laundry: You won’t believe how many kids go to college and have no clue how to do their own laundry. Make sure they know how to separate darks from lights and to wash reds separately. Make sure they know to read the label and not throw something in the dryer which should be hung up instead. Rule of thumb, if it’s dry clean only, leave it at home.

Go on a family vacation: Once your child starts college, there is no guarantee your family’s schedules will sync up again. Go on that family vacation you have all been talking about the summer before they leave for college, or it might never happen.

Teach them how to budget and balance a checkbook: You won’t believe how many kids go off to school and have no clue how to watch their accounts and budget their funds. Make sure your student understands due dates, such as when to pay their student credit card-and how! Make sure they know how to balance their accounts and not end up overdrawn. Also, teach them the value of the dollar, just in case they haven’t worked yet. Or else, they will spend all their money on burritos the first week of school and their meal plan will go unused. Also, teach them to pay off their credit card balance every month. The worst thing they can do is run up a balance and max out their credit card while in school. Teach them to live debt free, and only spend what is within their budget, and already in their bank account.

Spend time with them: Your student will be gone for two or three months before they come home for Thanksgiving, spend as much time together as you can. Watch movies together, even drag them to the supermarket. Get as much time with your student as you can because they will gone for a few months. Cherish these last few days together.

Lastly, hug your student and reassure them you will always be there for them, and home will always be there for them. As excited as they are to go off to school, they are nervous and scared too. Be their rock.

Congrats on your new adventure!


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!