Top Tips to Help Your Soon-to-be College Freshman Prep Over the Summer

Prepare financially. 

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 in college. Include what financial support sources: family support, financial aid, employment, etc.

Make sure the college 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 college 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 meningitis shot? Does their college require a COVID-19 vaccine?

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. Colleges also use different systems, including email, student portals, and other methods to communicate with students and families. Has your student activated their college 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 the college 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 college.

The first six weeks of college 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.

Additional tips for families can be found at www.yesprep.org/departments/college-initiatives/alumni-affairs.

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