If you’re getting ready to send your child off to college for the first time, here is a list of things you need to do, or have them do, before school starts.
Research what it’s like to live on campus. What are the rules and regulations? Where is the best place to do laundry or buy food? What student groups are available? What’s the game schedule? When and where are the plays, the concerts and movies? What stores, restaurants and services are in walking distance? Visit the school’s website and Google Maps to start. From there you may find forums or groups that will help you plan for the place you’ll be living for the next year.
Buy or rent your text books online if possible. Text books are expensive. As soon as your class syllabus is available, start comparison shopping. What options are available to you? Downloadable? Hardcover-used but with shipping fees? The school book store may be the most expensive source, but if you wait until the last minute it will be your only choice. (Always use the ISBN to verify that you have the correct edition.)
Get to know your roommate. You’ll be sharing a very small space with someone you’ve never met. Summertime is the best time to reach out. Find out about them (likes and dislikes), set up of dorm room (who is bringing what) and discuss any issues you are concerned about ahead of time. If you need a roommate off campus (one that’s not assigned by the school), try roomsurf.com.
Doctors and dentists close to campus. It’s time to think about your child’s medical. Set up a physical before they head off to school. Renew prescriptions now so they can take it with them. Check with your insurance carrier to find doctors close to campus in network because emergencies happen. Out of network costs can be a drain on your budget.
Put Orientation on your calendar and go. This is your chance to get to know the school, campus, services and class information. This is a must for anyone going to college or going to a different school.
Technology. In the summer, you can get great deals on laptops, tablets, software, printers, etc. Find out what you need, and get it while the sales are hot.
Don’t wait until fall. Your child will be busy enough trying to handle living on their own for the first time. While the college dorm may seem like a cozy, self-contained environment, it can be surprisingly challenging for the unprepared.