The months between high school graduation and the start of college whiz by. You've spent 18 years raising your baby and these last few months are a time to celebrate the accomplishments you share and help prepare them to take flight in college.
As hard as it may be to watch your little girl or boy grow up, the summer before college is an amazing time to bond and prepare for the years of studying to come. We've put together a list of things you can do during the summer months to help your child prepare for college in the fall.
Visit campus and help scout out housing, dorms and classrooms
Most colleges have a summer orientation program that your child will be a part of. If not, you may want to head to campus early and enjoy exploring the grounds your student will spend the next four to five years at.
Check out Yelp reviews and see if you can find the best place for breakfast and take a walk through campus together after enjoying a fun brunch. After graduation, you can retrace this same plan and celebrate all the things they've learned and hear how they spent their time campus. Creating this memory before school starts helps set up a plan for how you'll stay connected no matter how far apart and grown they become.
Start shopping for the dorm essentials
Scour thrift stores, yard sales, and home decor shops to find all the things your new college student needs to be successful on campus. Make it a family outing to find the best desk lamp, vintage movie posters, and the perfect shower caddy.
Once you've found all the basics, pick up a label maker and enjoy a movie night labeling all the new treasures.
Encourage meeting up with the new roommate
If your student is staying on campus in the fall, most likely they'll have a roommate who they have never met before. As soon as rooming matches are announced, encourage them to connect and plan out as much of the fall as they can. Having 1 dorm fridge and 1 tv makes move in a lot easier come fall.
Talk about budgets and credit cards
For some families, talking about money can be as difficult as the birds and the bees conversation. Whether you are helping with college expenses or not, make sure to have an open discussion about the best way to get through college with as little debt as possible.
Spend time talking about credit cards and work to teach an understanding of how credit cards can be important and dangerous at the same time.
If your student is receiving student loans. Talk about how those loans work and what the typical repayment schedule looks like. Make sure they are aware that it is possible they will receive more loan money than they need and that does not need to translate into a shopping spree.
Make an emergency plan long before the car is packed for campus and discuss what to do in case of a flat tire or a broken arm. Is there a shared bank account or an emergency only credit card.
Research student life and on-campus activities
Depending on where in the country your student is headed, some college organizations begin signups long before school begins. In the south, Fraternity and Sorority recruitment is often several weeks before the official school calendar and interested new members must be registered in advance.
Talk with your student about what the options are and encourage them to plan ahead if they want to sign up for certain organizations.
Enjoy your time together
For many children, the summer before college is[hopefully] the last time they'll live at home. While the summer before college is usually busy and hectic, carving out time to be together as a family can be a memory you'll all cherish for many years.
Plan a big family vacation and enjoy getting to know your child as the young adult you've raised them to be. Watching them transition from childhood into the adult world is an amazing adventure you get to experience first hand.
Looking for creative ways to spend the summer months? Check out our article on how to 'unplan' your summer vacation.
Photo credits: Pexels