Whew! They did it and you survived. From the first day of kindergarten to the last day of high school, you made it. You have had the chance to catch your breath, dry tears, and write the thank you notes for the various gifts received for your child. Now it’s time for the next chapter of their educational journey…College!
College is an entirely different beast. So, please be prepared because you can’t just burst onto the campus and demand information for your child, pop-up in lectures, or casually stop by for lunch. There are levels to the education game. To ensure a successful college send off, I’m going to share with you five things you may want to take care of prior to your child leaving.
1. Permission to release information. Please be sure that you and your child have completed the necessary paperwork needed to give you permission to speak with college officials in order to get or provide information on their behalf. In the event that you need to contact the school in order to settle matters on behalf of your child, it’s not happening unless the proper work is on file. They are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, commonly known as FERPA. What is FERPA? Glad you asked! According to the U.S. Department of Education, FERPA is a Federal law that protects the privacy of a student’s education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education (Read more about FERPA here). Being able to speak with the right person can be really helpful, especially for issues concerning their financial aid. Often times, your income is being used to determine their aid allocation. So, you should want the availability to be able to speak with whomever you may need to without any restrictions.
2. Housing. Be certain that all housing costs have been accurately calculated and covered. Regardless if your child lives on campus or off campus, there is nothing like arriving on campus (or to their off-campus living quarters) and being told that you will need some additional funds before your child can move in. Try going up a few weeks prior to get a good look at their living arrangements and speak with management to iron out any details. This will also help you determine what exactly your child may need for their new living space.
3. Bulk Purchases. Consider purchasing or adding them to your Sam’s Club, BJ’s or Costco account. Buying things in bulk such as soap, toilet paper, lotion, women’s personal monthly needs and/or deodorant can save you a ton of money throughout the year!
4. Résumé. Have them update their résumé. Look it over to ensure professionalism. They will need it, especially if they plan on working during their time in college. Yes, they may have career centers on campus; however, your child will be competing with several hundred new students. The more prepared they are, the better.
5. Transportation. Depending on what type of college your child attends, they may not be permitted to have their own transportation until after they have completed their freshman year. If they live off campus, they may be out of range for any free transportation available to students. Private driving services such as Lyft and Uber may be a viable option, along with public transportation such as buses or trains.
Sending a child off to college is a very exciting event. The better prepared everyone is, the greater their success will be! There will be some hiccups, but we can do our best to minimize them by focusing on the details!