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What parents should do before taking their kids to college

graduationAre you getting ready to take your kids to college? Then listen up, here’s what parents should do before the big drop off!

While it’s true most parents pay for college, they should be involved on a deeper level. Don’t expect to impart great wisdom to your teenager as you’re driving up together – they have too many other things on their mind: what will my roommate look like? How far is my dorm from my classes? Should I rush or not? Trust me, this will not be the time to impart your great wisdom upon them.

However, if you don’t talk to them about a few of the basics, I guarantee you, someone else will (I didn’t graduate that long ago!). So here are just a few things you may want to consider talking about before getting on the road this fall:

1. Set the standard

Discuss your expectations for communication (Will you talk every Sunday night or wait for them to call you?), money (do they need to get their own job or will you bail them out every time their account gets overdrawn?), and yes, even relationships (it’s not too late to reinforce the values you’ve been imparting to them over the years and the expectations both you AND God have for them!).

2. Pick up some supplies

Whether it’s the ever necessary laptop or just dorm-room decorations, trust me, you will not want to be one of the thousands of parents rummaging through Target at the last minute trying to find your child a comforter and a notebook for the first day of class. Set them up for success by helping them think through what they’ll need to both be prepared for class and comfortable in their living environment.

3. Understand their school

As much as possible, scope out all the aspects of their new school online before you go. This may include, but is not limited to, learning where their classes are, finding the dining hall, writing down library hours, discovering dress codes, and of course, memorizing the football home game schedule! While much of the culture of a school cannot be learned until arriving on campus and spending some time there, schools today have a lot of valuable information (as well as ways to connect with other new students) on their websites…so don’t overlook this important step.

If nothing else, get there early. There’s nothing worse than being the last kid to pull up, sling your boxes into your room, and arrive at orientation out of breath and out of sorts. Enjoy this experience for what it is and you’ll both have a lot of things to share on that first Sunday night phone call 🙂