One of the biggest stressors of going to college can be finances. So have a conversation as a family about money. Help your graduate make a monthly budget for their first semester. Include what financial support sources: family support, financial aid, employment, etc.
Make sure your to-do list for registration is completed
Are they registered for and attended registration? Have they met with an academic advisor? Have they registered for their classes? Has the school received your graduate’s final high school transcripts? For most colleges, vaccination records are required as part of the registration process. Not submitting records can create a hold on their account. Do they have their shots??
Create a countdown calendar for Day 1 for the whole family to be aware of important dates
This helps the entire family prepare for the transition of having a college student in the family (particularly if the student will be living at college).
Tour campus on your own time
Take a walking tour of the campus as a family to see where buildings, parking, and important places on campus are located before the first day of class. If you can’t visit campus as a family, do a virtual tour, or explore campus using Google Street View. Let younger siblings help find fun spots on campus and be sure to check out multiple routes.
Get set up with technology
Today more than ever, technology is part of the college experience. Schools also use different systems, including email, student portals, and other methods to communicate with students and families. Has your student activated their school email? Are they checking the email frequently for information, next steps, and important deadlines? Do they have access to a laptop or computer for their college classes? If they do not have access, what services are available through the college? Have they signed up for updates on the college’s social media channels? Have you, as a family, looked into their family communication system and signed up for any family newsletters, portals, etc.?
Talk about college together
Allow for space for your graduate to talk about college in general. What are they excited about? What makes them nervous? How can you best support them as a family? What are some expectations you have of each other during this journey?
Establish a family communication plan for the first six weeks of school
The first six weeks can be a foundation for the rest of a student’s freshmen year, including the first opportunity to join groups, make connections, while also getting their first college grades. Have a plan for how as a family you will touch base, whether they are going away to college or commuting. Schedule a weekly touchpoint to have a conversation about how they are doing.